BRIGHT clashing decor, neon signs, Art Deco design and a chic pool sparkling in the sunshine.
While I’ve only flown a couple of hours from London, I could be forgiven for thinking I am in Miami Beach.
And when we get a sneak peek at one of the luxury mega-villas at Quinta do Lago Resort, on Portugal’s Algarve, I start to wonder if you might need an A-lister’s bank balance to stay here.
With a stunning palm tree-lined pool, an outdoor kitchen/BBQ area and basement cinema, the villa costs a cool £12million and it’s easy to see why the likes of Rio and Kate Ferdinand own villas in the region.
But in actual fact, you don’t need to be loaded to enjoy the delights of this fabulous resort which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
As well as villas to rent for more reasonable prices, there’s a buzzing new accommodation option — The Magnolia Hotel — where rooms start from just £105 per night.
Read More on Portugal
Visit Porto – the Portuguese city that inspired the nation’s name and drink
Warning for Brits off to 5 countries this weekend – including Spain and Portugal
It’s a low-rise boutique hotel taking its design inspiration from Palm Springs and with a gorgeous pool, bar, restaurant, underground spa and games room, it has everything you need for a good value break.
Of course, Quinta is famous for its sprawling championship golf courses but there is so much more.
The resort sits within the Ria Formosa Natural Park and we spend the morning learning about the lagoon with an expert.
The stunning wetland is home to everything from flamingos to crabs and is a must for birdwatchers.
Most read in Travel
Warning to Brits in Spain as crooks use little-known con to steal valuables
Why a top free perk on planes could soon be scrapped
My son fell seriously ill on a TUI holiday – we're suing them with 36 families
Warning MORE passengers face cancellations as other airlines may join walkouts
Over a bridge you have direct access to the Praia Beach — a stunning sweep of fine white sand.
It’s also home to Gigi’s Bar, recently reopened after a renovation and now featuring a new bar and roof terrace with views over the nature park and beach.
For most, though, the resort’s three 18-hole golf courses are a major draw.
The South Course has just had a £6million upgrade and golf fans can get stay-and-play packages at The Magnolia.
Gym bunnies will also love The Campus, where you can buy day passes (£39.50 for adults and £4.30 for kids under ten) to use the gym, exercise classes, spa and outdoor swimming pool.
We tried our hand at padel — a tennis-squash hybrid loved in Spain and Portugal — with a lesson that more than covered the basics in a hour.
We followed this up with a visit to the gym, a yoga class and a guided meditation.
After all that exercise, the spa was calling my name and I even braved a few seconds in the ice bath (only up to my shoulders, mind).
Luckily there was a hot tub and sauna to warm up afterwards.
But no matter how impressive the sports facilities and golf courses, for me the surprise was the high quality of the many restaurants dotted around the resort.
GETTING THERE: More than ten airlines offer flights to Faro direct from the UK with fares from £21 each way.
STAYING THERE: Double rooms at The Magnolia Hotel at Quinta do Lago start from £105.
Family cottages are available from £188 per night, B&B.
A new “Q Farm” initiative sees fresh fruit and vegetables grown on the resort served up at the restaurants.
Worth a visit are the Bovino Steakhouse and fine-dining Casa Velha — both built on the grounds of the original farmhouse which first inspired Quinta’s founder to develop the area into a resort.
At Casa Velha we enjoy a tasting menu but it’s the service that impresses.
The attention to detail is outstanding, with staff bringing over blankets and even mosquito candles as dusk sets in.
Casa do Lago, a fab seafood restaurant with waterfront views of Quinta’s lake, is ideal for lunch.
The area is also home to The Shack, another great option for a relaxed lunch or sunset cocktails.
By this point of the holiday, I’m more than well fed but the final meal had to be my favourite.
The newest restaurant, Umami, provides an exquisite Asian tasting menu and wine-pairing experience.
I’d highly recommend the miso butter milk bun, tomatoes with wasabi, tempura Q Farm vegetables and veggie gyozas.
I leave feeling full, suntanned and very happy.
Whether you’re a group of friends, a family with kids or a couple looking for a romantic break, Quinta has something to tempt everyone this summer.
Source: Read Full Article