Nestled in the rolling hills of the eastern Algarve region in rural Moncarapacho is the heavenly Vila Monte Farm House. This idyllic hotel not far from the charming village of Olhao has to be our discovery of the year! We were immediately seduced by Vila Monte’s stylish interiors and relaxed atmosphere on arrival. It ticked all the boxes for our last minute, quick summer family break.
The Perfect Algarve Villa Holiday
How to get to Vila Monte Farm house
A three hour flight from London to Faro airport, followed by an easy 30 minutes drive takes you away from Algarve’s crowded resorts and brings you to the most peaceful and rural location. The ideal place to switch off and escape all stresses and strains of everyday life and in my case the digital world.
There are numerous low cost airlines and chartered flights that fly to Faro, so it’s very easy to hunt down a bargain too.
Inside Vila Monte Farm House
Watch the highlights video from our stay:
Overlooking the Algarve’s countryside and mountains Vila Monte Farm House is set off the beaten track in nine hectares of gardens surrounded by fragrant bougainvillea, citrus trees and olive groves.
The laid back finca style hotel is inspired by traditional Portuguese architecture. Expect simple clean exteriors, whitewashed walls, terracotta chimneys, driftwood lamps and natural woods – the epitome of boho-chic.
A huge multi-functional space doubles up as the lobby area, reception and deli. Designed for socialising the magnificent central open fireplace, dappled polished concrete floors, large windows which look into the lively working kitchen, along with the cosy seating makes it an ideal spot for guests to relax or enjoy a drink.
One of the things I loved about this hotel is the sense of space. Its 55 rooms and suites are spread around the grounds in three white washed Moorish style buildings, either bordered by bright fuschia bougainvillea-clad courtyards or off an avenue lined with orange trees.
Rooms at vila monte farm house
Renowned interior designer Vera Lachia who has worked with the likes of Andy Warhol is behind the simple, stylish and stark white decor punctuated with vibrancy. Pure relaxation and comfort is at the forefront, translated through a distinct beachy feel from the natural tones and fabrics.
Chunky logs are used as tables, sarongs, driftwood pegs are adorned with sarongs, beach bags and sun hats. Our ocean and mountain view room included a separate lounge with daybeds, which conveniently turned into the kids’ sleeping area at nighttime. Keeping the aesthetics of the room just right.
Splashes of turquoise through the soft furnishings and fresh flowers from the garden everyday brighten up the room. The king size bed with a canopy is a winner. Also homemade cookies and sweet treats appear at turndown.
A private balcony offered beautiful vistas of the mountain and coastal terrain . One of the best places to watch the sunset with wine glass in hand ruminating your next exploration spot.
Local FOod and Drink
There are two restaurants onsite both serving fresh sustainable local produce, much of which is grown on Vila Monte’s grounds.
For lunch or dinner pop to À Terra, known for its delicious, healthy and rustic food with lots of sharing dishes. The wood-fired pizzas were a huge hit with the kids and adults. There is a children’s menu is available too for mini portions.
Summer nights allow you to swap the indoor restaurant and dine amongst the trees and fairy lights for a magical experience.
Laranjal is the fine dining dinner option with a terraced restaurant facing the Algarvian coast for glorious panoramic views. It specialises in seafood cooked slowly using classic Ofyr techniques. A small vegetarian menu is available and the chefs are always happy to accommodate dietary needs.
If you’re in the mood to indulge why not book the chef’s table? Be entertained under the fig trees where you can watch and enjoy eating the food being prepared.
Breakfast was a family highlight, served in the Laranjal Restaurant. You’re spoilt for options every morning amongst the jungle like plants and numerous wicker hanging lights. Fresh juices and smoothies, a wide range of cereals and toppings, fruit, pastries, cheeses and cold meats are on offer. Hot breakfast items are available too along with eggs served just as you like them. And when in Portugal – remember…A pastel de nata a day keeps your tummy very happy!
The two heated swimming pools keep both families and adults happy. Our days were spent happily lazing on the loungers poolside.
If you’re feeling active try the tennis court or gym. Borrow the hotel bikes for a ride around the grounds or head into the local town, Moncarapacho.
Parents can savour a bit of quality time in summer as the hotel runs a kids club in the garden with a morning and afternoon session for three years and over. Babysitters can be arranged on request but advance notice is required.
Once the kids are packed off for a couple of hours of fun activities, don’t miss the the opportunity to book into the bijou Casita Spa for a massage.
Evenings can be spent at the al fresco cinema with cones of popcorn. Cleverly at the same time the kids have their own movie night in the lobby area – happy evenings all round.
The hotel host free experiences on certain evenings. We tried our hands at stargazing one night. Quite exciting trundling down in the dark to the gardens where the large telescopes and deck chairs are set up. Even on a relatively cloudy night we managed to see Jupiter and Saturn with the kids – Utterly magical.
During the summer season, trips to Fuesta Island beach are offered with a hotel shuttle bus service. A 20 minutes drive followed by a short boat ride will find you on the shores of an idyllic beach in the protected Ria Formosa National Park. Highly recommend to pre-order a cool-box picnic with the hotel. Different beach packages are available for supply umbrellas, chairs, beach towels and drinks for a comfortable fun packed day.
If you have your own car, it’s very easy to park at the waterfront and purchase tickets for the boat. Allowing flexibility on return times and planning your day.
Other Algarve experiences
The Guest Experiences Manager can also help arrange some incredible experiences such as snorkelling with sea horses to goat herding on the Spanish border or visiting a local market with a chef.
Horse riding in tavira
We opted for horse riding along the lagoon with Tavira Equestrian Tourism. The riding school is located just outside the picturesque fishing town of Tavira. It straddles the Gilão River, which reaches the sea through the inlets and lagoons of Ria Formosa Natural Park.
Antonio the owner and our enthusiastic guide that afternoon prepped the beautiful horses. Introduced one by one he ensured we were all comfortable and confident with our rides.
Suitable for non experienced riders and for all ages, it’s a unique and unforgettable experience. Riding through citrus groves and down sandy banks to the ocean front is an amazing feeling. Arrive at a secluded beach and wade through a low-tide lagoon – almost like being on a movie set. Especially as Antonio is captures all the memories on his iPhone, which he diligently bluetooths over before you leave the ranch.
why you should stay
This tranquil retreat in the sun with an abundance of great food and wine is the perfect Portuguese escape. A little oasis of calm, a world away from the Algarve’s touristy beach resorts.
Probably not the cheapest hotel in the area, but I promise you’ll never want to leave the hotel’s feeling of seclusion and total relaxation.
TRavel toolkit to help plan your trip
Have you been to the Algarve? Do you have a special place you revisit? Let me know in the comments box below
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