The pool at Villa Monte Farm House

The real Algarve for half term?

I’ve been to the Algarve. Well, when I say I have been, what I actually mean is that I’ve been to one of those faceless five star country club style resorts. To be fair, it was very nice – all immaculate beaches, manicured lawns, golf courses, and a re-creation of an old Portuguese village square.

Also, they weren’t actually keeping me prisoner there. I could at any moment have escaped.

But…when I had every activity under the (very hot) sun laid on, plus restaurants and shops galore on my doorstep, my natural lazy streak decided to elbow its way to the surface with surprising energy, forcing me to throw the car keys in a corner and refuse to budge all week.

Which was all fine, except that I came home none the wiser about the Algarve. I believe it’s a beautiful place!

So I was interested to read about Sunvil Holiday’s collection of properties there. The company has a reputation for offering places local character, away from the big resorts, and their latest Algarve collection of hotels looks pretty good. Pick of the chicest? Try the following, which all still have availability for May half term….

Vila Monte Farm House
Expect laid back luxe in a colourful, slightly boho style. Even the restaurant is relaxed, with continuous service all day.

There’s plenty to do on site – as well as relaxing by the two pools (one family friendly, one adult only), you can have a massage in the gardens, do yoga, play tennis, hire out some bikes and watch outdoor cinema.

There are loads of excursions laid on, too – snorkelling trips to see seahorses, dolphin watching, visits to the food market with the local chef plus boat trips to a desert island beach. Sounds like bliss.

Seven nights’ B&B at Vila Monte Farm House is available for £1,451 pp, based on two adults and two children sharing a Junior Suite.

Vila Monte Farm House (3)

Vila Monte Farmhouse


Quinto do Marco

On a 45 acre family run estate, this hotel, which opened just last year has a more traditional décor. It’s 8km inland, in the Algarve Hills. It has 11,000 orange trees (not sure who counted!), as well as carob, olive, pomegranate, fig and avocado. In a nice touch, guests are invited to help themselves. Kids will love the hotel’s little farm, which has goats, geese and chickens.

Cycling and walking trails around and beyond the estate and horse riding is available nearby. The views are wonderful and there is an outdoor heated pool plus a children’s pool.

Seven nights’ B&B at Quinta do Marco is available for £1,142 pp, based on two adults and two children sharing a Family Room.

Quinta do Marco, Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo (1)

Above and below: Quinta do Marco

Quinta do Marco, Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo (3)


Praia Verde Boutique Hotel

This sleek, modern hotel, full of Instagrammable interiors, was extensively renovated in 2016. White walls and slate are softened with wicker, lush green plants and plenty of sunshine.

It’s set in a shady pine forest, just 800 metres from the stunning Praia Verde beach which stretches for 40km right up to the Spanish border.

Activities might include a golf lesson, a bike tour or guided walks and boat trips through the Ria Formosa Natural Park.

Seven nights’ B&B at Praia Verde Boutique is available for £1,391 pp, based on two adults and two children in two Standard Rooms.

Praia Verde Hotel (4)

Above and below: Praia Verde hotel

Praia Verde Hotel (1)

Let us know about any gems you’ve found in the Algarve…






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