Areias do Seixo
Located just a 45-minute drive from Lisbon, this hotel is convenient as well as beautiful. “The ratio of beach to bling is just right, and it has an awful lot of beach – a rugged slab with space to build a sand palace and fly a kite,” says Alessia Horwich in The Sunday Times.
“Opulent burnished golds, pendulous woodburners, chandeliers, rich velvets and elaborate mirrors add up to a lot of bling too.” Doubles start from £245, including breakfast (I-escape.com; 00 351 261 936340).
For luxury and golf courses
This relatively new hotel (it opened in 2012) is “modelled on an 18th-century Portuguese palace with Moorish themes and striking interior designs”, says Mary Lussiana in The Daily Telegraph. There is an “impressive wellness centre, several pools and even a golf concierge”.
If your budget stretches to it, book the “spectacular” roof garden suite, which incorporates a private pool in the sitting area. Rooms cost from £268, including breakfast (Conradhotels3.hilton.com; 00 351 289 350700).
For boutique personality
Bela Vista Hotel & Spa
This is a “stylish boutique hotel set in an arresting, turn-of-the-century villa, on Portimao’s premier beach”, says Lussiana. The hotel opened in 1934 “and much of its striking interior remains intact, from the painted wooden ceilings and the wall tiles to the stained-glass windows in the wonderful turret, now a bathroom”.
The L’Occitane Spa offers treatment rooms, a hammam and a sauna. Outside, “palm treessurround the hotel’s pool, and beyond lies the sea”. Rooms cost from £122, including breakfast (Hotelbelavista.net; 00 351 282 460280).
For large groups
Casa do Dragao Azul
“Within a few minutes’ walk of a superb curved, white-sand cove, this rambling villa is worlds away from the concrete developments that mar so much of the Algarve’s coastline,” says Condé Nast Traveller. The villa sleeps eight people in four bedrooms. It has “a small pool and a long terrace overlooking the sea”.
Just because it is a villa doesn’t mean you’ll have to fend for yourselves – a cook/maid “works five days a week, providing breakfast and lunch, plus dinner at extra cost if required”. Prices start from £11,270 for seven nights based on eight sharing (Cvvillas.com; 020-7563 7999).
Aldeia da Pedralva
This entire village of traditional whitewashed cottages has been restored as holiday houses. “The rustic lets range from one to three bedrooms and, although they’re self-catering, there’s a nice central space with a restaurant if you want to mingle with other guests,” says The Guardian.
The area “offers plenty of activities”, including surfing, hiking, biking and diving. Prices start from £58 per night for a one-bedroom cottage (Aldeiadapedralva.com; 00 351 282 639342).
The Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel
This resort has “rooms, houses and suites to fit families of all shapes and sizes”, says Alessia Horwich. “Mum and Dad will like the sleek interiors, spa and gourmet food; the children will love the kids’ club and pool, playground, special menus, sheltered beach [and] shallow surf.” Doubles from £116, with breakfast (Martinhal.com; 00 351 282 240200).