Much as I enjoyed my short breaks in England, once the nights started drawing in early, the clock went back an hour and the autumn chills set in, it’s time to escape to somewhere warmer, even for a few days!
With most of Europe in turmoil, my partner and I chose the quiet corner of the Algarve in southern Portugal for some late autumn warmth.
Pestana Vila Sol Vilamoura
Pestana Vil Sol Vilamoura was random choice. Without much prior knowledge of even Vilamoura, we opted for it because of the Pestana brand which served us so well in Madeira
The hotel is very popular with golfing enthusiasts as there’s a 27-hole golf course and a golfing school. Although we’re not interested in golf, there’re many other facilities for a relaxing break: the extensive grounds, indoors and outdoors swimming pools, tennis courts, other wellness facilities, bar and restaurant.
The hotel is situated in an affluent neighbourhood but is rather isolated, being about 5 miles from the marina and the beaches. There’s no pavement or public transport to speak of, but we got around very well using Uber.
There’s a small pond in the front and a much larger one at the back, with its resident swans!
Our garden room was in a block of villas with a patio at the back. Over all this 5* hotel was a very comfortable place for a short break
It’s said that Vilamoura is one of the most prestigious purpose-built leisure resorts in Portugal. It certainly is a well-to-do area full of exquisite and expensive villas with landscaped gardens in the front and high-end vehicles parked outside, tourist apartments, self-catering villas, 5* and 4* hotels.
The focal point of Vilamoura is the marina complex full of luxurious yachts, nightclubs and a casino. It resembles more Monte Carlo than a traditional Portuguese resort. It’s also renowned for its sandy beaches and golf courses, neither of which interested us, but we did enjoy the marina for its cosmopolitan vibe.
The restaurants and cafes wrapping around the harbour are perfect for people-watching. Other than that there’s really nothing more to rave about it.
Having visited other towns nearby we reckoned that Pestana Vila Sol was the right choice for us, in terms of luxury and tranquility. It’s a rather convenient base for day trips to nearby towns / cities: Faro, Loulé and Albufeira
After many months, I finally had the chance to add to my fridge magnets collection! …. along with my personal memories