If you are planning a trip to the Algarve this summer then there is only one place you should be looking to stay.
Rather than making your way west to the tourist-stricken areas of Praia da Rocha and Lagos, head east to Portugal’s Algarve! Here you will find no tacky over-priced tourist shops selling keychains and fridge magnets or English pubs serving lousy roast beef and Yorkshire puddings!
What you will find however is the exquisite Vila Monte Farm House. Located in Moncarapacho, between Olhao and Tavira, Vila Monte Farm House is set off the beaten track amongst 9 hectares of orange groves and manicured gardens, overlooking the Algarve’s countryside and mountains.
Vila Monte is the ultimate classic farmhouse, with a timeless simplicity, a local and genuine atmosphere and a boho-chic spirit. A true representation of the Algarve lifestyle. The décor is inspired by traditional Portuguese architecture, with flush white walls, terracotta chimneys and lots of natural timber.
The lobby and reception area is a huge multi-functional open space, perfectly designed for socialising and without question, the heart of the hotel. The very first thing your eyes notice is the large centrally positioned fire-pit, which has seating all around it.
Guests gather around during the day to read a book in the library or in the evening to watch a movie and enjoy a cocktail at the bar.
Also found within the lobby is the À Terra shop, which is essentially a little grocery store dedicated to the Algarve. Within the store, you can find locally produced olive oil, cheeses, vegetables, wines & spirits and even crockery and kitchen goods.
There is also a window that allows you to spy on the chefs of À Terra restaurant performing their craft with complete dedication.
Vila Monte Farm House has 55 rooms and suites that are located in 4 buildings spread out across the hotel grounds.
Each room or suite is unique with the interiors created by the well known Vera Iachia, who has worked with the likes of Andy Warhol and Jacques Grange. The one constant throughout the different levels of rooms and suites is that they were designed with total relaxation and comfort in mind.
No matter which room or suite you end up in, you will not be disappointed, but a few that deserve a mention include:
Junior SuiteLocated in the Orangery/House of Cima. The Junior Suite has whitewashed walls, day bed, pops of colour and natural tones, providing a simple, yet stylish appearance.
Containing a spacious separate lounge area and bedroom, the Junior Suite makes you feel at home right away. With plenty of natural light flowing throughout the space, it is the perfect place to relax.
The bathroom is exactly what you would expect from a luxury hotel, with a powerful large rainfall shower, beautiful basin, large mirror, soft towels and bathrobes, hair dryer, plenty of light and luxurious toiletries.
With the Junior Suite, you also get to enjoy your own private terrace, which overlooks the gardens and has both a day bed and table and chairs.
From the Suite Collection, the Secret Suite is the option if you are looking for that romantic getaway. With a charming private garden where you can relax in the hammock or kick back on your sun lounger, whilst enjoying a naturally made cocktail from the mini bar, it is the perfect environment for a couple looking to treat themselves.
With an elegant design and a unique ambience, this suite offers a refined interior and boasts plenty of natural light and is filled with colourful handmade pieces inspired by the culture of the Algarve.
Laranjal Master Suite
Another one from the Suite Collection. The Laranjal Master Suite offers a completely exclusive setting, with both a private garden and solarium. At your disposal will be a personalised bar, the possibility to enjoy a private dinner and even a Butler at your service to satisfy any and all of your requests.
The Laranjal Master Suite also offers a fabulous bath, which is perfect to unwind in after a long day at the beach.
Vila Monte Farm House boasts two brilliant restaurants, Laranjal and À Terra. Both restaurants focus on a healthy farm-to-plate concept, which results in a stunning menu and food you will not forget in a hurry. All the ingredients are fresh and locally sought, with many of them even being grown in Vila Monte’s own grounds.
À Terra serves up local Portuguese food and mouthwatering Mediterranean meals. Think assorted cuts of meat and fish cooked over the Josper grill or pizzas direct from the wood-fired oven, which will have you thinking you are in Naples.
In the warmer months, Laranjal is open for mind-blowing tapas, seafood and all manner of grilled dishes. Quick tip, try the tuna ceviche sala!
It’s worth mentioning that if you have settled into full holiday mode and don’t want to leave your beautiful suite then you can choose from the full restaurant menu and have it brought to you to enjoy on your terrace.
The facilities at Vila Monte Farm House are as you would expect, first class and include two stunning swimming pools (one which is adults only), a tennis court, a very well equipped gym (open 24/7) and immaculate gardens with tables, chairs and deckchairs and lounges scattered throughout. During the summer months, you can choose to spend your evening enjoying a movie at the outdoor cinema that is set up within the hotel picturesque gardens.
If you are able to drag yourself away from Vila Monte Farmhouse, there are a variety of things to do and places to visit.
For the beach lovers, the white sands of Fuseta Island are just a short drive away and with a shuttle service running from the hotel to the island every 20 minutes, there is no excuse. The hotel’s boat is moored at Fuseta pier and takes you right over to the beach of Barra Nova.
If you really want to go all out, you can even arrange for towels, umbrella, chairs, drinks and a picnic to be supplied and set up so you can enjoy the perfect mini island getaway.
Other activities that can be arranged by the fabulous Vila Monte Farm House team includes pottery slinging, horse-riding in the hills, fishing and boating tours in Ria Formosa National Park and dolphin watching excursions.
For the aspiring chefs, why not head out to the local Olhão market with the restaurant chef to buy produce or take part in a cooking class in the hotel’s kitchen with him. If you just want to stick to the eating part, then there is always guided seafood tasting in nearby Ria Formosa.
If you are looking to find that picturesque old town then go check out Tavira (15 minutes west), which is a traditional Algarve fishing village. Tavira is known for the bridge that crosses over Gilão river, which intersects the town as it is allegedly a remnant of the Roman Empire.
From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, the team at Vila Monte Farm House treated us as if we were family. Everything and anything we could have possibly needed or wanted was never a problem and we thoroughly enjoyed every second of our time there.
If you are looking for the perfect place to stay in the Algarve, away from the all of the touristy nonsense, then I cannot recommend Vila Monte Farm House highly enough. It is an absolute oasis of calm and serenity that will see you enjoy all of the finer things in life and wanting never to return to reality.
Thanks again to Raquel and the rest of the team from us here at Nicolas Alexander!