Everyone is talking about vacationing in Portugal these days. It’s comparatively inexpensive, they say. The people are nice. The food is great. It’s relatively easy, once you buy property, to get the coveted Golden Visa. They’ll soon be talking a lot more about the W Algarve in the Ibiza-like beach town of Albufeira. It’s the newest addition to the ever burgeoning W Hotels brand, and it’s drawing focus to this coastal area of Portugal, about three hours from Lisbon, mostly appreciated for its golf courses and easy seaside access. The new Algarve resort offers everything we’ve come to expect from a W these days: a vibe that encourages rest and relaxation during the day and a vibrant late-night evening scene, one that encourages more rest and relaxation the following day. That is, if you even want to leave your generous guest room. There are 143, with 23 suites featuring private plunge pools, each featuring grand views of the hotel’s mega pool, its lush vegetation and majestic cliffs overlooking the gorgeous water. (There are also properties to buy should you really never want to leave.) Of course there are also all the W touches, including a state of the art spa and fitness center and restaurants like Paper Moon, which serves simple Italian food, and Market Kitchen where you can sample some arroz de pato, a.k.a. Portuguese duck rice.
DuJour spoke with Cajetan Araujo, W Algarve’s general manager, to learn more about this special property.
What’s the most requested room at the property?
The E-WOW penthouse, room number 4806, a duplex apartment located on the fourth floor at the southern end of the hotel.
What makes it so special?
It is a 2-bedroom duplex apartment that can be made into 3 bedrooms with a connecting room and it has a fully equipped kitchen discretely designed to blend in the design of the whole room. It features a large balcony covering the western and southern sides of the apartment and a sensational 160-square-meter rooftop terrace with a plunge pool. You can really retreat into your private space with your own terrace and pool.
What is the nightly rate for this room?
From $1,900 per night
What’s an interesting tidbit about the hotel that speaks to its status as an icon?
The design, the aesthetic of the hotel. It is different from anything else in the country, so elegant, so detailed! Every single guest that is going through our doors talks to us about the attention to details and the incredible design of the hotel. With its brilliant mix of modern design and local inspiration, it is one of the most stunning pieces of architecture in the region.
What’s your personal favorite room and why?
Room 4025. It’s another WOW suite with a plunge pool. It is on the fourth floor of the hotel, pretty much right in the middle of the hotel. It’s a duplex suite with high ceilings and beautiful light, with a rooftop terrace and its own plunge pool. You have an incredible view of the ocean and the coast, up to Sagres on clear days, and some spectacular sunset views.
What special perk or amenity do you offer that no one knows about?
We have our custom short boards and Malibu boards, surf boards that have been especially designed for us, with the emblematic fish scales of the hotel. They are available for our guests to go out and surf. The Algarve is one of the best surf spots in the world and, from the moment we began to work on the project two years ago, we knew we wanted to get our own surf boards and we wanted them to be special, so we got them hand-shaped by one of the most sought-after surfboard makers in the Algarve: Ferox Surfboards.
What’s your favorite design element on property?
The fish scale design on all the balconies and terraces of the hotel. The walls are covered in iridescent fish scale-like tiles designed and handmade in Portugal, a reference to the centuries of fishing tradition and villages in the region. The reflection of the iridescent tiles changes by the hour, reflecting the changing landscape of the Algarve through the seasons.
How about one more fun fact about the property?
The wall with all the ceramic plates welcoming you in the hotel has 613 plates, and each of them has been handmade especially for this project. I personally worked for a few months with Vista Alegre, the iconic Portuguese ceramic artisans, to pick the designs, organize the plates, and build this wall as a work of Art. I love the result and what we achieved with them there: it’s unique, surprising and already Iconic.