Anantara has a wonderful reputation in the Far East, so coming to Portugal is a real change of market for them. Although you’re in five star luxury and there is a Far Eastern vibe, when you look at the details of the hotel, they have taken a lot of Portugal and put it into the hotel without being over the top. For example, the reception has baskets to sit on, which are the same as those used by local fishermen to collect octopus; the wood used is from trees in the Algarve, and fresh oranges are everywhere – the attention to detail is gorgeous. They have their own herb garden outside as well; they really try to use as much from the area as they can.
The room that we had at Anantara Vilamoura Resort overlooked the adult area outside where there are pools, lounges, and a Veuve Cliquot bar area. The room itself had lots of lovely features including a walk in wardrobe, Elemis products to bring the spa feeling into the room and a bowl of local fruit with a leaflet describing where each is from in the Algarve.
They are furnished to an incredibly high standard and they also do a turndown service which in a lot of places seems to be going out of fashion, but it was a lovely touch and each time they would place a little card with the next day’s weather on it in the room, as well as a picture of a particular patisserie with information about where it was from.
Low and behold, by the side of your bed was a bottle of water and a traditional ceramic terrine with the matching cake or sweet inside – like the one on the card. There was also a daybed on the balcony for relaxing and sunbathing without having to go to the pool. It really felt as though they wanted you to experience Portugal.
We ate in the buffet restaurant. For breakfast there’s always a wake up juice – sometimes it was Algarve orange, other days it was a fresh made juice of mixed fruit. All pastries were freshly cooked – the almond croissant was a delicacy, there was rye with chorizo and cheese which is also traditional – the chef would come round and hand them out and explain what they were. Apart from that, there were all the continental breakfast items laid out and all locally produced.
For dinner there was always an array of international food, but there would also be locally produced meals from a show cooking station. In terms of the wine, most of the wines on offer are local and they would recommend it to go with the food; the service throughout was impeccable. It felt like you were learning about Portugal even if you didn’t go out.
Beautiful, quiet and seductive. There are lots of different hydro sections to the spa and there’s a huge black pool (thanks to the tiles). Although it’s dark there are huge windows overlooking the golf course, so you could go out and look at that or stay inside and enjoy the view. In terms of setting, the spa is beautiful – the hotel has a lot of neo classical style buildings referencing the area’s history.
The treatment I had was amazing – I only had a 30 minute massage and it was one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve ever had.
I had my son with me, and while there aren’t masses of kids activities, it is a wonderful place to spend quality time together. That said, there are tennis courts, table tennis and a kids club which he went to, as well as their football academy, but mostly he was happy making friends by the pool.
You’re about a 10 minute drive from the marina and as a quirky addition they have two tuk tuks at the hotel to help you get around. There are two women who drive them, and they are on hand to take you to the marina or take you on a tour. The lady who took us was local and really passionate about the area. She took us to the beach for the day (there are two beaches, one close to Tivoli, the venue’s sister hotel), and in the afternoon we walked around this beautiful marina where the Prosecco flows and the G&Ts are abundantly available.
The second time we went out we hired the tuk tuk and she took us on a tour to Falesia beach, which is the most famous beach in Vilamora, as well as to her favourite beach which is much quieter and less touristy. Any clients staying at Anantara Vilamoura Resort can use them to get around and enjoy the fresh air rather than being in the car but it isn’t really advertised; just spoken about.
While the summer is a popular and lovely time to visit Anantara Vilamoura Resort, it’s beautiful out of season as well, and in October it’s a particularly good time to visit because they have special offers such as a free half board upgrade available.
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