Finding a small hotel with good food where you can completely relax, is great with children and has more than a hint of luxury to it is pretty much the holy grail, right? I know that’s a few boxes to tick (and maybe, just maybe, I have slightly high standards) but on the rare occasion it comes off, it’s pretty special. During a fairly last minute trip to Portugal in autumn half term, we found an unexpected gem in the luxury boutique hotel stakes, the Vila Monte Farm House in the Algarve. I had never visited the region before and was hugely impressed with its sandy beaches and sleepy fishing villages. The hotel was an extra surprise. Here’s why.

Overview

It had been raining the evening we arrived but what better sight to greet us than a roaring centrepiece fire and an airy foyer. The staff were unreservedly apologetic at the state of the weather (like it was their fault) and assured us it was due to get better. At that moment in time, I didn’t care if it did. Almost instantly I felt holiday relaxation wash over me which I hadn’t experienced in a while (bearing in mind I had a four month old and 4 year old with me).

Vila Monte Farm House, Portugal

Endorsed by Mr & Mrs Smith, the 55-room hotel is stylish and has a relaxed vibe. It’s a 4* establishment which has been built on an old golf course. There’s plenty of space for little ones to run around in nature and find insects (which is what they seemed to enjoy).Vila Monte Farm House, Portugal

There were a few other families based in the UK who were there so it was lovely to chat and the layout of the restaurant and communal areas encouraged interaction. All the children enjoyed playing together too.

Vila Monte Farm House, Portugal

On the reception counter there were sweets, biscuits and water which you could help yourself to. We were told by one of the staff members to “make ourselves feel at home”. We felt like we were (although I wish my home looked as chic as Vila Monte). The same counter turned into a bar in the evenings.

Location

Vila Monte is in Moncarapacho, Olhão, a small town without much to see other than a small square and a couple of cafes and restaurants. You need to hire a car if you want to explore. The hotel is around half an hour east from Faro airport (although we managed to take a series of wrong turns so perhaps plan out your route before than rely on hire car GPS).

Facilities

There are two swimming pools, one was adult only. The other pool had plenty of space and loungers to relax around.

Vila Monte pool, Portugal

The beautiful grounds include tennis courts, a pond, a vegetable and herb garden. There’s plenty of flora and fauna including orange trees which line the cobbled paths to the rooms and restaurants. The pond has carp and turtles to spot and the kids found plenty of spiders and other insects in the soil around the bushes!  The hotel also has a gym and spa. 

Vila Monte Farm House gardens, Algarve

In the evenings they have an outdoor cinema. As the October nights were cooler, they had it inside instead complete with popcorn which went down very well with the children.

Food

The restaurant ‘A Terre’ served good quality, rustic food with fresh local ingredients (including those grown in the grounds). They pride themselves on their culinary delights and have regular food and wine tastings. The wood burning oven meant delicious bread and pizza. My lunchtime favourite was the truffle oil pizza – yum! For breakfast, it was buffet style with a large selection of juices, cereals, pastries, cooked eggs and plenty of Portuguese pastel de nada. In the foyer they have a grocery store where you can purchase food, crockery and crafts.  Picnics are available for day excursions.

Rooms

We booked a superior suite for the four of us. Our four-month-old had a cot set up in our room while our older daughter (aged four) was in the large living room on a spacious sofa bed. It had a huge bathroom with rain shower and the king-sized bed was very comfy.

Vila Monte room, Algarve, Spain

With its white-washed interior, the room felt spacious, clean and boutique with an air of traditional Portuguese style. It had an outdoor patio with benches and a table. There was a Nespresso machine and complimentary biscuits given daily.

Activities

Sandy beaches are a 20 minute drive away. We visited Fuseta and Praia Verde as well as the fishing village famous for octopus, Santa Luzia, and the town Tavira. Faro is also nearby. For something more energetic, you can go hiking in the Ria Formosa Natural Park and visit its salt ponds.

Algarve, Portugal

The hotel can arrange a variety of activities. These include dolphin watching, fishing and horse riding. On Saturdays you can visit the Olhao food market with the chef and there’s also olive oil tasting, golf and sailing available. Fancy heading to your own private island? Vila Monte can arrange to take you from Fuseta where it has a boat is moored to the island Barra Nova. On site you can indulge in cooking lessons, yoga or simply relax by one of the pools.

Wander Mum Vila Monte, Portugal

Family-friendly?

You won’t find a kids club but there are tennis courts available to use, the pools and lots of space to run around. It felt a safe space for children to explore and plenty of activities to keep them amused – in and out of the hotel – including cooking lessons, sports and crafts. Mrs T had an amazing time playing with the other children, staying up late and exploring the grounds. At four months, Cheeky was very content and seemed to relax in the environment.  

If I’m being picky..

Staff at times were maybe a bit too relaxed. One night, it felt like an eternity to get my mojito made (although was very good when it did). The main pool for the children was not heated. There IS a heated one but it is for adults only. We sneaked up to it when it was empty at the end of the day with our daughter and I enjoyed a peaceful swim on my own too (bliss). She used the other pool but I didn’t dare. We ended up buying her a wetsuit which helped. In the summer months it would obviously be far warmer. There was also a playground marked on the hotel map but we couldn’t find it.

All in all we had an excellent experience though and would definitely return. We are also keen to try out its sister hotel in nearby Praia Verde.

Adult pool, Vila Monte, Algarve, Portugal
Adult pool

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Reviewed: Family-friendly Boutique hotel Vila Monte, Algarve, Portugal

 

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20 Comments on Algarve Boutique Hotel, Vila Monte Farm House, Portugal 

    • Wander Mum
      June 28, 2017 at 9:32 pm (4 months ago)

      Hehe. Totally Jen!! There was no way I was getting in that pool. Brrrrr!

      Reply
  1. Lolo
    July 13, 2017 at 8:23 pm (3 months ago)

    Looks like a really lovely hotel! Must be a winner if they make really good mojitos! #FarawayFiles

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      July 13, 2017 at 11:07 pm (3 months ago)

      Oh, they were good and great wines too!

      Reply
  2. Cathy (Mummytravels)
    July 13, 2017 at 10:26 pm (3 months ago)

    I find it has to be seriously hot before unheated pools are OK – this does look a distinctly glam getaway with kids otherwise though.
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted…City Tripping #84My Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      July 13, 2017 at 11:07 pm (3 months ago)

      I know! Children don’t seem to mind quite as much but I stuck to the heated option!

      Reply
  3. Zenbabytravel
    July 13, 2017 at 11:31 pm (3 months ago)

    We love a hidden gem thank you! And I don’t mind cold water after few cocktails 😉 I just added it on our Portugal list!

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      July 17, 2017 at 11:53 pm (3 months ago)

      Hehe. It’s a gorgeous place!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      July 17, 2017 at 11:54 pm (3 months ago)

      Thank you! It’s a beautiful region…so much better than I expected. I still need to do Lisbon…

      Reply
  4. Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles)
    July 15, 2017 at 1:03 pm (3 months ago)

    Oh this looks like my kind of hotel, Elizabeth. Super stylish and great cocktails to boot! I love a hotel that makes you feel special from the moment you arrive. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted…Faraway Files #37My Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      July 17, 2017 at 11:55 pm (3 months ago)

      You’d love it Clare! A really relaxing place !

      Reply
  5. Angie Vincent
    July 15, 2017 at 6:35 pm (3 months ago)

    This looks such a great place to say with or without children. I’m always keen to get recommendations of boutique hotels, so thank you for this post.
    Another place to add to the list. #FarawayFiles
    Angie Vincent recently posted…Beautiful Book Shops #10 Skoob Books, LondonMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      July 17, 2017 at 11:56 pm (3 months ago)

      You’re welcome!! I’m the same…always on the look out for smaller, stylish hotels!

      Reply
  6. Katy
    July 16, 2017 at 9:33 am (3 months ago)

    Looks small enough and with all the mod cons to ensure a very relaxing stay. Duly noted for upcoming travels in Portugal! Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      July 17, 2017 at 11:56 pm (3 months ago)

      Oh, have a fabulous time in Portugal. Really love it there !

      Reply
  7. CatherineRose
    July 16, 2017 at 4:46 pm (3 months ago)

    I’m dying to go back to Portugal! This place looks lovely (although I wouldn’t dip more than my toe in an unheated pool unless it was seriously hot!) #FarawayFiles
    CatherineRose recently posted…13 Things to do in Lyon in the summerMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      July 17, 2017 at 11:57 pm (3 months ago)

      Hehe. Nope, I didn’t dare either! Hope you get back to Portugal
      Soon!!

      Reply
  8. Erin Gustafson | Oregon Girl Around the World
    July 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm (3 months ago)

    Looks lovely and lush. My littles would have loved looking for koi and running around those grounds back in the day. Pool temps wouldn’t be a problem to my Scandi conditioned kids! It’s all relative, isn’t it! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      July 24, 2017 at 11:30 pm (3 months ago)

      Hehe – very true! I’m a bit soft when it comes to cold water. Brrrr!

      Reply

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