The Conrad Algarve is luxury at its very best. This breath-taking hotel is in the impressive resort of Quinta do Lago in Portugal, famed for its excellent golf courses and accessibility to nearby beaches.
I stayed in a 38m2 Deluxe King room which featured a King size bed and a private balcony. Additional features included a 42” HD flat screen TV, in-room entertainment and media centre, DVD player, MP3 sound system, WIFI, security safe, two telephones, individual temperature control, a fully stocked in-room bar and a Nespresso coffee machine. The ensuite bathroom had a separate bathtub with a built-in TV, or if you prefer a shower, a rain shower set in marble, and on offer were delightful soft cotton bathrobes and slippers.
Each of the 154 bedrooms at Conrad Algarve hotel provide the same combination of space, modern design, comfort and technology. All the rooms feature bright and airy balconies, a separate bath and rain shower and seductive views of the destination and the natural beauty of the surrounding area. The hotel’s collection of suites are a destination unto themselves, the pinnacle being the Roof Garden Suite. It comes complete with a plunge pool in the lounge, as well as direct private access to the spa and your own private host.
Quinta da Lago is the most exclusive Algarve holiday destination, and one of the most desirable. Global celebrities in the worlds of music, sport and cinema have all bought holiday homes at this truly stunning part of the world. My first taste of the Algarve was at the very impressive Pure Boutique Café based at Quinta do Lago which is a favourite for its homemade desserts, healthy salads, sandwiches and delicious breakfasts. I was treated to a delicious chicken schnitzel on a toasted bap with avocado and tomato salsa, garlic cream and rocket.
I was then served a platter of fresh desserts and cakes which were simply divine. The incredible attention to detail was evident, and my lunch was served on a terrace overlooking the golf course which was a fabulous way to start my luxury tour.
After lunch, I boarded a fabulous speed boat and was taken out to the famous Natural Park of Ria Formosa, one of the last unspoilt coastal zones in Europe that was established as a ‘Nature Reserve’ with UNESCO protected status in 1987. It is also a designated Natural Park of over 170 km² and a stopping place for hundreds of different birds during the spring and autumn migratory periods.
My next stop was Faro old town and the Algarve’s capital which has a more distinctly Portuguese feel than most resort locations. Many visitors only pass through this underrated town – it makes an enjoyable stopover. It has an attractive marina, well-maintained parks and plazas and a historic old town full of pedestrian lanes and outdoor cafes. Marvelously preserved medieval quarters harbour curious museums, churches and a bone chapel.
On arrival back at the Conrad Algarve I was looking forward to a relaxing bath in my room which has a state of the art television where guests can take advantage of watching their favourite shows whilst having a soak. The Conrad Algarve bedrooms ensure that visitors have everything that they need, and their service, quality control and attention to detail is nothing short of world class.
Dinner was a real treat, and I was able to taste the delights of the world famous Gusto by Heinz Beck which is a Mediterranean restaurant with Scandinavian inspired design, that pays homage to Conrad Hilton’s father Augustus. This is Conrad Algarve’s flagship eatery, with the finest cuisine delivered in a stylish and sophisticated atmosphere.
Heinz Beck is well-known and world-renowned as one of the undisputed “Masters” of gastronomy. He has become a legend in gastronomic circles due to his tenure at La Pergola, the three Michelin starred restaurant at Waldorf Astoria Rome Cavalieri, one of the top gastronomic destinations in the world. His unique take on Italian cuisine has also seduced diners at the one Michelin-starred Apsleys in London and Café les Paillotes in Pescara.
Heinz Beck’s unique interpretation of the “Modern” kitchen goes beyond his undisputed culinary talent to encompass the utmost attention paid toward the selection of ingredients, and their transformation into highly innovative flavours. The menu at Gusto by Heinz Beck is based on the finest local and international ingredients, prepared in a manner befitting an upscale grill. The exquisite attention to detail extends to the house-made breads/dips served at each table.
My meal was simply out of this world and my favourite dish was Heinz Beck’s signature dish by the name of ‘Fagottelli Carbonara’. I was truly blown away, and urge anyone that has the opportunity to visit Gusto to try this sensational dish. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
The following day of my luxury tour was just as sensational as the first, and it started with a lovely breakfast in the Louro restaurant followed by a golf clinic and tour of one of the Quinta do Lago golf courses. The golf course was immaculate, and you could see why it is a premier course. The golf clinic was a lot of fun, and by the end of my session, I was hitting balls from the driving range with much gusto and enthusiasm. I was also treated to some mini golf which was very enjoyable too. So whether you are a beginner or at an advanced level playing golf, there is something for everyone to enjoy and I thoroughly recommend it to all.
The Conrad Algarve Spa & Health Club is one of the most luxurious and desirable spas in Portugal, if not Europe. The Spa & Health Club is a haven providing holistic therapies, combining meditation and relaxation, as well as special body treatments. This oasis of calm adopts a contemporary approach to rekindling your energy and rediscovering your spirit. It was a magical moment and one not to be missed.
My final lunch before heading back home was at Dado, the South American inspired pool side restaurant featuring refreshing cocktails and a South American influenced menu, taking in the best dishes of this part of the world. The ‘DaDoQ’ creates a fun private dining BBQ experience for guests. On the menu were prawn skewers, meat kebabs off the grill, or a healthy salad with fresh fish and vegetables. Alternatively, you can graze on Tapas.
Guests could opt for the DaDoQ, a unique private barbeque experience, where you can do it yourself in a Barbeque cooking class. The watermelon cubes infused with flavours have to be sampled – there are alcoholic options too.
Overall the Conrad Algarve and the Quinta do Lago resort offer splendour and opulence that guests will certainly keep on coming back for more. I absolutely recommend this dazzling part of Portugal, and the sensational Conrad Algarve coupled with the magnificent Quinta do Lago resort, take luxury to a whole new level.
By Jamie Ndah