Captured like a sheer white canvas against the exclusive manicured forestry of Quinta do Lago, the stunning 5 star Conrad Algarve Hotel sits teasing you at the end of an impressively long arrow-straight driveway. A genius design move, building a sense of anticipation as you edge ever closer to this ultra modern homage to an 18th century Moorish palace.
When you finally arrive, you realise the wait is well worth it, for this is a hugely impressive property. A sense of space is the first thing that hits you; acres of it, from the cavernous glass encased lobby to the wide expanse of terrace, gardens, infinity pools and Algarve landscape beyond. You can breathe deeply and simply wallow in space.
Off to one side is a convenient bar and lounge for snacks and chats, while down a flight of steps is Louro, a Portuguese inspired all day dining restaurant where a shaded pergola beckons you for some relaxing outdoor eating. Conrad Algarve also has the culinary wizardry of Michelin starred Heinz Beck providing the gourmet cuisine at Gusto, a fine dining Mediterranean experience of exceptional quality and service. There’s even an open display kitchen, so you can watch as the magic happens.
The Moorish tones continue into the guestrooms, 154 luxuriously spacious living spaces of white, grey and pastel blues, and floor to ceiling glass. A king size bed dominates the room employing crisp high thread linen and a bevy of pillows as the support cast. A Nespresso machine, a selection of coffee capsules and a 42` flat screen TV are also gratefully received. Outside, the generous balcony is big enough for a sofa, two comfy chairs, a table and a generous amount of afternoon Algarvian sunshine.
Back inside to the equally generous bathroom where you can choose between a large deep bath with built in television or a mighty standalone tropical rainforest shower or, like me, just use both. Soft robes and slippers of course , high end toiletries and twin marble sinks ensure you’ll feel very much at home here.
Tucked away off to one side, the Conrad Spa is a haven of wellness, a place where your ying and yang can truly balance themselves through varying levels of therapy. I endured a thoroughly fulfilling 30 minute neck, shoulders and back shiatsu massage from a masseuse whose fingers made mincemeat of any lingering muscle knots. Afterwards, a relaxing sip of tea on heated stone loungers before indulging in a sauna and steam and perhaps a swim in the indoor/outdoor pool.
Outside among landscaped gardens, the two pools both with underwater music, offer a tantalising choice; a heated infinity pool just a few steps from the main building or deeper into the estate, the much larger unheated Sensations Pool replete with family cabanas and a sun lounger island space at its centre.
Of course, it is one thing to have a magnificent property, it is quite another to bring it to life and GM Joachim Hartl and his team do just that, with an array of awards to prove it. The concept is simply to let you ‘be yourself’ but provide top tier service along the way to allow that to happen. From the state of the art Concierge app which allows you access to all kinds of service features to promotions and events which promote Algarvian culture such as clam picking, joining the chef at the market, or the new cork route experience where you can learn about just what makes Portuguese cork the best in the world.
Conrad Algarve, just 15 minutes from Faro and a few minutes from the legendary Ria Formosa, is a special place, no question. It is for me, a benchmark as to how a 5 star hotel should be run and personally I can’t wait to return.
I want to stay at Conrad Algarve. How much does it cost?
The Cork Route Experience costs £73.00 (€ 100.00) for a ½ Day Programme and £132.00 (€ 180.00) for the Full Day Programme.
Nightly rates at Conrad Algarve start from £121 (€164) based on two adults sharing a grand deluxe room on a B&B basis. Conrad Algarve accepts reservations online at www.conradalgarve.com or by calling + 351 289 350 762.
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