VILA MONTE | THE ALGARVE
Despite a post-holiday brain made up largely of air/fluff plus an unfortunate bout of sickness Olly and I picked up on the plane back (I was able to do my throwing up privately at home; Olly had another flight to catch straight to Madrid for his stag) I've been excited to finally sit down and share our latest find – Portuguese farmhouse, Vila Monte. A true design hotel, this tucked-away gem conjures up a blissful mash-up of pared-back minimalism and country cool – our Junior Suite boasted clean bright walls, Scandi-style light fittings and white slatted shutters. On-point details included locally sourced ceramic jugs spilling over with fresh flowers gathered from the Vila Monte grounds and wicker baskets to use on whatever Portuguese adventures you have planned (for many I imagine it's hard to tear themselves away from Vila Monte at all).
The spacious grounds feature zesty herb gardens, gym, tennis court, an outdoor cinema and a labyrinth of winding paths lined with manicured beds. There are two pools: one at the heart of the set-up visible from the main reception and many of the off-pool rooms – we actually caught a glimpse of an alfresco wedding here on our first morning (butterflies!); the other an adults-only oasis nestled amongst jungly foliage. Think skyscraper palms to floor sweeping fronds. The latter quickly became our go-to zone for book time and sunbathing.
Staff, decked out in denim dresses and Converse, were sweet and polite perfectly mastering the right level of visibility. Restaurant A Terra draws in foodies from well beyonds the boundaries of the Vila Monte grounds and breakfast was a sensation. I wish I could remember everything but here is some of what was on offer: baskets of different freshly baked breads, waffles, pancakes, charcuterie boards of Serrano hams and cheeses, Le Creusets of streaky bacon, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and cooked tomatoes, smoked salmon, cucumber, tomatoes, yoghurt, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, honey, melon, papaya, jugs of freshly made kiwi, carrot and orange juices... and commanding views of the rolling Algarvian hills to eat in front of. I'll let our photos do the talking.