Portugal: A luxury retreat in the Algarve

It’s nearing the end of the summer; September in all of its pre-autumnal glory has hit and you’ve still not taken a break. You’re more burnt out than burnt ends and your brain has started to resemble a sieve. What’s a girl to do? Hit the beach, that’s what.

So, off we did trot to Quinta do Lago, a gorgeous Portuguese sanctuary just 20 minutes outside of Faro. We wanted to visit somewhere new, and the promise of early September sunshine, teamed with a short-haul flight, ticked the requisite boxes. We weren’t disappointed.

Quinta do Lago and nearby Vale do Lobo sit in the Southern Algarve where the warm sun beats down and the lush landscape is a sight for tired eyes. Bountiful, bright flowers line the quiet roads, and by the beach the cerulean waves lap the soft, golden sand. The Algarve gets a bad rap as a tourist trap, however if you avoid some of the more ‘obvious’ areas, there’s much to love about the place, not least of all the ‘pasteis de nata’; the scrumptious little custard tarts that Portugal is famed for. Our hotel snuck one into the box of croissants at each and every breakfast.

Speaking of which, the hotel was as much of a find as Quinto do Lago itself. We stayed at the Conrad Hilton, which deserves every one of its five stars. The service was impeccable; the staff friendly and genuine. The rooms were spacious and comfortable with luxurious touches like the huge rain shower and Aromatherapy Associates bath treats. Our only gripe was over the €0.30 charge for using a nespresso pod in the room; that seemed petty for a five star hotel.

The food was exceptional, our favourite was the vibrant and colourful mango, avocado and tomato salad topped with local grilled prawns.

The nearby restaurants serve traditional Portuguese fare including a wide selection of delicious local seafood. Try the wonderful Casa do Campo for exquisite salmon ravioli and fresh seabass. Ask for a table outside under the magically majestic fig tree. For a more modern dining experience, head to Paixa where the eclectic tapas menu offers up lots treats from seared tuna to soft roasted red peppers slicked with fruity olive oil. Don’t leave without trying their indulgent chocolate mousse!

We left recharged, relaxed and refreshed, with every intention of returning. If you’re looking for a few days of R&R don’t forget the Southern Algarve. It will treat you kindly and feed you well.

AtΓ© jΓ‘

Jodie Large-2

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