Visitors to Portugal should make more than a fleeting stop in Faro, the capital of the Algarve. The charming, historic city is full of captivating attractions and surrounded by a breathtaking natural landscape. Luckily, Faro is served by some of the most comfortable, unique and luxurious hotels in the Algarve, so spending a weekend (or longer) is pure bliss.
Quinta dos Poetas is a beautiful four-star hotel with 30 guest rooms snuggled in the Algarve countryside. Located around 10km (6mi) from Faro central, it is an excellent spot for travellers who prefer peace and tranquillity. On those lazy days, when the short drives to the coast and the city seem a bit too long, you can enjoy the outdoor pool, sun terrace and garden.
The Algarve is an excellent destination for golf enthusiasts and the Magnólia Hotel in Almancil is one of the best adults-only golf and spa hotels in the region. Slightly retro with a 1950s design, this boutique hotel offers a complete range of modern amenities, 84 guest rooms, a heated outdoor pool, a full-service spa and a health club. It’s also near the coast and midway between Faro and the chic town of Vilamoura.
Convento was once a safe house for local working women, but, today, it is a beautiful whitewashed boutique hotel, just a 20-minute drive from Faro, offering nine rooms spread over three floors, a sunlight-filled courtyard and a rooftop terrace. Located near the historic fish market of Olhão, it is surrounded by a plethora of opportunities to dine on fresh fish.
The Pousada Palácio de Estoi is a luxury monument hotel located in a small village called Estoi. Built in the 18th century, the pink Rococo-style building was once a palace and today offers 63 spacious guest rooms (including suites), a full-service spa, an indoor and outdoor pool, a tropical shower and beautiful french gardens. History lovers may also appreciate the proximity to the ancient ruins of the Milreu Roman villa.
If you want to immerse yourself in affluence, you may fall in love with the Conrad Algarve, a luxury resort in Almancil, around 15km (9mi) northwest of Faro and 4km (2.5mi) from the Vale do Lobo golf courses. The resort has 154 apartment suites, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, beach cabanas, a spa centre, an indoor and outdoor pool and childcare services. It also has one of the best fine dining experiences in Faro, the sophisticated Michelin-starred Gusto, one of three hotel restaurants.
This B&B north of Faro is a favourite breakfast spot in the Algarve and a relaxing countryside retreat. Stay in one of the three bedrooms inside this 100-year-old farmhouse, and enjoy a deluxe spread of seasonal fruits and freshly homebaked bread in the morning. When you’re not exploring the area, enjoy the outdoor pool, sun terrace and pool house, which is equipped with a TV and games.
The 19th-century fazenda (farm estate) is set amid lush gardens filled with olives, almonds and pomegranates and bordered by fragrant lavender. Renovated with love by the British owners, the 15 rooms – some in the main house, others dotted around the garden – are essays in simple luxury. Varnished concrete floors come with underground heating, and vast rain showers come with Ren shower gels. Food is fresh and local, sourced from the nearby markets; try the house olive oil.
Situated right by the water’s edge in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, this hotel was one of the earliest arrivals in the exclusive Quinta do Lago area. A wooden bridge (the longest in Europe) allows you to walk across to the beautiful beach, while the hotel is set on lovely grounds. There are two restaurants – one for Portuguese and international favourites, the other specialising in Italian cuisine.
A cluster of whitewashed buildings, Moorish in design – think orange trees and arched courtyards with trickling fountains – makes up this 55-room gem, which sits in a generous garden alongside two (heated) swimming pools, a tennis court and, under an old fig tree, a chef’s table. There are yoga classes and bikes to borrow, open-air cinema in the evenings and a shuttle bus to the nearest beach. Excellent food draws on the gardens and the region with aplomb.
Right on Faro Beach, this guest house offers comfortable rooms, a terrace with a hot tub, and a bar. Breakfast is a veritable feast with lots of fresh fruit, local hams and cheeses and options to have a full cooked breakfast. Rooms overlook the sea, and there are sun loungers bordering the sands.
Located on the main shopping street, Aqua Ria has just 17 rooms, all air-conditioned, with wooden floors, a safe and a minibar. The onsite restaurant is a popular choice thanks to its regional cuisine. The Faro Archaeological Museum is only a short walk away, and the hotel is also near many of the bars and restaurants in town.
This modern hotel sits in the centre of Faro, some 3 minutes on foot to the Old Town. In the summer, a shuttle bus runs to the beach, where the hotel has a beach club. There is also a boat, which can take you to the little islands nearby. In the hotel, there is a restaurant that serves regional food and a rooftop bar that provides the perfect setting for watching the sun go down, cocktail in hand.
This large, contemporary hotel sits just behind the marina and offers 134 rooms and suites with a wide choice of restaurants and bars in-house. Try the cool Senses Bar for a signature cocktail on one of the terraces with panoramic views, accompanied by live music at the weekends. There are also a rooftop pool and a spa with a sauna and a Turkish bath.