If you’re partial to a bit of pampering and feel like splashing out on your stay in the Algarve, there are plenty of options to choose from. The region is home to an array of high-end boutique hotels, plush five star resorts, palatial cliff-top properties and exclusive retreats. Some are brand new contemporary concepts while others are refined Grande Dames with compelling histories.
If you appreciate the finer things in life, a touch of fine dining, soaking in the spa, top-notch service and beautiful settings, and don’t mind digging a little deeper into the pockets, then take a look at some of the best resorts the Algarve has to offer.
Penina Hotel & Golf Resort
EN 125, Penina, Alvor, tel. 282 420 200
On the outskirts of Alvor in the municipality of Portimão, the five-star Penina Hotel & Golf Resort’s history is intertwined with the development of the region’s tourism. Many argue Penina is the original home of Algarve golf, as it was where the region’s first golf course (the Sir Henry Cotton Course) took shape, built on rice paddies, and was the Algarve’s first five-star hotel. Inaugurated over half a century ago, this stately, lavish hotel has hosted a glittering array of international politicians, dignities and celebrities over the decades, and, historically importantly, was where the Alvor Agreement – which saw independence granted to former Portuguese colony Angola – was signed. Song lyrics hand-penned by Sir Paul McCartney dedicated to Penina hang on the wall in the lobby.
Vila Vita Parc Hotel & Beach Resort
Rua Anneliese Pohl, Porches, tel. 282 310 100
Nestled amid shady greenery on the Alporchinhos cliff-tops is the beautiful Vila Vita Parc. Vila Vita is a bubble of luxury unlike no other, with the resort comprising some ten restaurants – among them the famed two-Michelin star Ocean – a spa, a boutique mall, villas and rooms. The resort has stayed faithful to the region’s original Moorish architecture, elevating it with plush contemporary finishes, colours inspired by the Algarve coastline, and classically elegant details. Guests can expect impeccable service, amazing sea views, fantastic food, and a brilliant night’s sleep.
Boutique Hotel Vivenda Miranda
Rua das Violetas – Porto de Mós, Lagos, tel. 282 763 222
Enjoying a privileged position on the Lagos cliff-tops, Boutique Hotel Vivenda Miranda may be lesser known than some of its more famous peers, but holds its own in terms of luxe. With rooms boasting stunning sea views and an onus on health and wellbeing, a stay at Vivenda Miranda is like a little slice of boutique hotel heaven. Offering 24 individually-decorated rooms and suites, an intimate atmosphere, a spa and a fine dining and artisan gastronomy restaurant onsite, Vivenda Miranda is a getaway experience that oozes stylish comfort in breathtaking surroundings.
Estrada da Galé, Albufeira, tel. 289 591 795
Twenty-two sumptuous suites await guests at the uber-exclusive Vila Joya resort, one of the shiniest jewels in the Algarve’s boutique hotel crown. Sat on cliff tops in Albufeira, facing the sparkling Atlantic, Vila Joya provides unhurried privacy and a highly personalised service, with each room being beautifully and individually appointed, and the gardens a manicured explosion of colour. Towing the resort’s esteemed reputation is its two-Michelin star, eponymous restaurant, spearheaded for many years by Austrian chef Dieter Koschina. Vila Joya grew from a private villa to an exceptional world-renowned resort, but retains its family feel with style and finesse.
Estr. da Quinta do Lago, Almancil, tel. 289 350 700
Located in the heart of the Golden Triangle’s upmarket Quinta do Lago resort, the Conrad Algarve Hotel is a trendy, swanky affair, and one of the most modern luxury offerings the Algarve has in its portfolio. The hotel’s grand entrance with its twin water features welcomes visitors into a world of chic sophistication, reminiscent of a contemporary palace. The light and airy lobby is exquisitely decorated, while the hotel also boasts one of the coolest spas in the region. Frequented by celebrities and host to extravagant summer parties and events, the Conrad Algarve rounds off its features with an acclaimed Michelin-star restaurant, Gusto, by Heinz Beck, with its sleek contemporary-Scandinavian design.
Pine Cliffs Resort
Pinhal do Concelho, Albufeira, tel. 289 500 100
Famed for its summer galas and original pine-tree-studded golf course, the Pine Cliffs Resort is a time-honoured go-to for those wanting to holiday in the lap of luxury. Belonging to the prestigious Luxury Collection, it boasts a spectacular gold and blue seafront setting and an array of restaurants cooking up accomplished cuisine. Comprising suites and residences and a host of on-site sports facilities and activities, the family-friendly resort is a firm favourite among children of all ages, who will be truly spoiled from check-in to check-out.
Hotel Bela Vista
Av. Tomas Cabreira Praia da Rocha, Portimão, tel. 282 460 280
The award-winning Bela Vista hotel has been voted among the best hotels in Europe. Peering over Praia da Rocha’s famous long beach, this historic palatial home, dating to 1918, exudes grandeur and poise. Petite but perfectly appointed, the hotel’s history is infused with local legend. Inside the décor showcases traditional Algarvian details, seen in such as the exuberant tile plaques, while the Michelin-star restaurant Vista, spa, and pool deck altogether wrap up a stunningly unique package.
Victoria Gardens, Av. dos Descobrimentos nº 0, Quarteira, tel. 289 317 000
Exuding a modern Miami Art Deco feel with its cubic glass design and palm-tree fringed pool, the Anantara Vilamoura is contemporary luxury. Among Vilamoura’s finest offerings, it embodies Mediterranean glamour, with Champagne Cabanas and a number of inviting pools serving the 280 rooms and suits, among them a two-floor penthouse. Close to Vilamoura’s upmarket marina and trendy nightlife, this fresh and funky luxury resort is clean, crisp and oh so cool.
Praia das Gaivotas, Porches, tel. 282 320 000
Head to the five-star Vilalara Thalassa to truly unwind. Renowned for its excellent spa and tranquil surroundings, the hotel’s sole goal is to pamper guests in sumptuous surroundings. Set among 11 acres of perfectly manicured beachfront gardens and stunning pools, Vilalara Thalassa wellness centre is home to one of the world’s top five Thalassotherapy Centres and a Longevity Medical Spa. Boasting brand new apartments among the rooms, five pools and a selection of bars and restaurants, guests will have their every whim catered for.
Hotel Quinta do Lago
Av. André Jordan, Almancil, tel. 289 350 350
No luxury hotel list would be complete without reference to the world-leading Quinta do Lago hotel. Located on the Ria Formosa estuary, in a privileged seafront position, at the heart of the well-heeled Quinta do Lago resort, this privileged hotel is surrounded by panoramic natural scenery and popular golf courses. Rooms are spacious and elegant, and the stunning views can be enjoyed from almost every bar, room and restaurant on the resort.