Name of hotel
Vila Monte, Moncarapacho
Style and ambience
Laid-back luxury. A blend of traditional Algarve rustic style with Moorish overtones and a dash of boho chic. Inside it’s beautifully finished without the ‘look-but-don’t touch’ feel of some boutique hotels; outside, the mature gardens and series of separate buildings give it a sense of space and serenity.
It bills itself slightly tongue-in-cheek as a ‘Farm House’ but you won’t need to bring your Wellington boots - unless they’re of the designer variety!
Children are allowed, but it’s by no means a kid-fest: this is a stylish hotel for discerning customers, and a world away from the package-tourism of other parts of the Algarve.
55 in total, housed in three distinct units (Casa Patio, Casa de Cima and Laranjal), and comprising 11 standard rooms, 11 superior rooms, 14 junior suites, 18 superior suites and 1 Laranjal suite. All three latter categories have private terraces, verandahs or gardens depending on location.
The decor reflects the rest of the hotel, primarily white with splashes of vibrant colour, and complemented by tasteful art, straw matting, fresh flowers and nice touches such as sun hats and pashminas for guests to use during their stay.
Food and drink
A Terra restaurant is just off the hotel lobby, which also houses a bar, a shop selling local produce, a market display, and a picture window that looks into the kitchen.
The restaurant (which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner) has large windows out onto the terrace and gardens, and has the feel of an upmarket garden centre restaurant, Portuguese-style. The menu is a blend of traditional recipes and modern interpretations, with the emphasis on fresh, local produce and ingredients (see our full review by clicking on the link on the right).
In good weather, guests can also eat on A Terra’s shaded outside patio, or at a table under the trees in the garden.
When the hotel is at its busiest, it also opens Laranjal restaurant (a short walk from the main building) for breakfast and dinner. It has indoor and outdoor dining options, including a large terrace with distant sea views.
Why do you like the hotel?
Having undergone a total makeover in 2015 courtesy of new owners DHM, Vila Monte has kept the basic infrastructure but is now thankfully a world away from its dowdy and tired previous incarnation.
The staff are exceptionally friendly and efficient, and even after one visit, you’ll feel like you’ve found a second home.
What other facilities does the hotel have?
Two outdoor swimming pools (the smaller one is adults-only), herb garden, tennis court, gym. There’s also an open-air cinema showing classic movies in good weather.
What could be improved?
Service in the bar can be a little slow/confused, especially for non-residents who can’t charge drinks to their rooms.
When to go?
The perfect bolt-hole for a weekend escape, with little or no need to leave the grounds if you don’t want to. If you’re staying longer, it’s ideally located for exploring the eastern Algarve, either under your own steam or via some of the hotel’s programme of Experiences, which include guided walks, boat trips to the islands of the Ria Formosa, and trips to Olhão market with the hotel chef.
Park as close to reception as you can when you check-in, until you find out where your room is located. You can then either drive around to the relevant section, or ask for a porter.
Wherever you are sleeping, your room will be a short walk away from the main lobby and the restaurant(s). Umbrellas are provided in case of wet weather.
The hotel shuttle bus (taking up to 8 passengers) can be used as an alternative to taxis if you need to get around the area. Ask for details and prices.
A shuttle service is also provided to the nearest beach at Fuseta from June to September
Is it part of a group?
The DHM portfolio includes five other hotels in Portugal (Praia Verde near Castro Marim, Furnas and Azor hotels in the Azores, Monte Real in Leiria and Palacio da Lousa near Coimbra) and the property/residential tourism developments Eden Resort and The Crest in the Algarve.
The hotel address is Sitio dos Caliços, Moncarapacho 8700-069. Coming in on the A22 from the west, take the Olhão/ Moncarapacho turn-off, then follow the sign for Moncarapacho. The hotel is about 2 minutes’ drive on the left-hand side. Ample free parking.
Cost per night
Doubles from €120
Superior doubles from €135
Junior suites from €150
Superior suites from €170
Laranjal Suite from €410
Check out the website for special offers and promotions.
Year-round (although as with most Algarve hotels, double-check winter dates in case of brief closures for staff holidays/maintenance).