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Bela Vista

Name of hotel

Bela Vista Hotel & Spa, Praia da Rocha

Style

Elegant and slightly quirky five-star boutique hotel. Originally built as a mock-gothic private house in 1914, it became the Algarve’s first hotel in 1934. After a period of neglect, it was completely transformed in 2011, mixing original art deco features with modern designer touches, and with the addition of a new wing, a stylish restaurant and a luxury spa.

An eclectic mix, it perhaps shouldn’t work, but it does. The kind of hotel you might expect to find in Cascais or Sintra, but not in the Algarve - and certainly not in Praia da Rocha.

Ambience

As befits its combination of decor and location, it’s the type of place where you can be casually elegant or totally laid-back, depending on whereabouts in the hotel you are, and the time of day.

Dress code: nothing too rigid. The staff aren’t formally attired, so you’ll feel comfortable in shorts at breakfast, swimwear by the pool and smart-casual in the evening.

Rooms

There are three distinct accommodation areas of the hotel offering 38 rooms: the main building (Palacete) and the Casa Azul, both restored to their former glory, and the new Casa Jardim beachhouse style wing.

Types of room available include Classic, Elegant, Deluxe, Character, Junior Suite and Suite.

Food and drink

Vista, which serves breakfast, light meals at lunchtime, and offers a fine dining menu in the evening. Awarded a Michelin star in 2017.

There is also a pool bar with terrace, and a lobby bar, plus of course room service.

Other facilities

Outdoor swimming pool, spa, two meeting rooms taking up to 70, free internet access.

Why do you like the hotel?

In amongst the downmarket bars, restaurants and shops of Praia da Rocha, it’s an island of luxury in a sea of tat.

It’s great to see that quality tourism can and does exist in the Algarve, and the hotel is a tribute to the vision and determination of the owners, designers and management.

Key markets

Well-heeled independent travellers, plus expatriates living in the Algarve who want to spoil themselves. It hasn’t as yet however hit the radar of the trendy Porto and Lisbon crowd, who don’t really like Praia da Rocha, regardless of the fact that it now has a superb hotel in its midst.

The restaurant and the spa are also open to non-residents.

Challenges

The hotel’s location is a double-edged sword. Perched on a clifftop with spectacular views, it is walking distance to the fabulous beach. And if you just want to stay within the hotel’s confines, you can simply look straight ahead and pretend the rest of Praia da Rocha doesn’t exist. But a glance over your shoulder, and PDR is still there in all its ugliness. It’s also a town well-known for its nightlife, which means even the quietest rooms in the hotel are anything but once the party gets started.

Insider knowledge

Children under 16 are not allowed.

Ask for room 116 if your taste in bathroons stretches to the ecclesiastical.

Is it part of a chain or a marketing group?

Phoenix Hotel Management specialises in management and consultancy of small luxury properties, and handles other hotels in Sardinia, Thailand, Morocco, Bali and the south of France.

Bela Vista is also a member of Relais & Chateaux, the small luxury hotel marketing consortium.

Location

Av.Tomás Cabreira, Praia Da Rocha. It’s right on the seafront and you really can’t miss it - it’s the only building of any architectural distinction on the whole stretch.

Free parking once you are inside the gates.

Cost

Rack rates (per room, for 2 people, B&B included) range from around €160 in low season, to around €245 in mid-season and around €390 in high season. Check the website however for a series of promotions, often including dinner and/or spa treatments.

Opening times

Usually closes from November-February. Check the website for details.

 


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