The best way to cure the January blues? Book a spring break to look forward to. That’s exactly what I did during the first week of January – booked an Easter escape, which, considering that it was just after Christmas, meant going through Aer Lingus.com’s drop down menu to pick the cheapest, “sunny” spot for Easter. And Faro, Portugal it was.
Not knowing anything about the Algarve or where to stay, I referred to i-escape.com my go-to website for stylish hideaways. I’ve used the site before to find hotels in Italy and Thailand and have always found top notch places – it’s not cheap mind you but when you’re only able to escape for a few days as opposed to a two week holiday, I find that it’s worth it.
And VilaCampina was just that. Described as a “boutique” guesthouse, it’s set among the orange groves of the Algarve countryside, far from the high rise blocks that dot some parts of the coast.
With nine bedrooms, Vilacampina looks like something out of the ELLE Interiors magazines dotted around the place, with each piece of art and decor chosen to fit in with the white, brown and red theme.
Our room had a balcony overlooking the garden, complete with white leather bean bags and Moroccan style lanterns both of which are dotted around the property, with the lanterns lit up with tea lights come dusk. The only downside to the place, was the lack of double beds – the room had twin beds pushed together.
Eating breakfast al fresco on the terrace was by far my favourite part of the day and the buffet breakfast served each morning is a sight to behold – fresh orange juice (from the groves across the road), fruit, pastries, cheese, salamis and cakes.
Guests, mostly couples, went hiking, to the beach or borrowed Vilacampina’s bicycles to explore, with Sofia the owner’s expert advice always close at hand. There’s also the option of lounging around the pool and the “honesty bar” – where, if you help yourself to a drink, you just write down what you’ve had afterwards. It’s not something that would work “honestly” in Ireland!
And despite the mixed weather that came about for Easter with only one sunny day out of four, I didn’t care, as I enjoyed a most relaxing, well-fed stay in beautiful surroundings.
My only complaint is that I didn’t take along adequate clothing (here’s me expecting it to be sunny all the time!) and the two maxi dresses, new tan wedges and a pair of shorts and a top went virtually untouched, apart from the odd wear around the hotel itself. I could’ve done with a pair of jeans and a few more layers and ended up wearing my runners, only to keep my feet warm. Though I did manage to wear a bikini on Easter Sunday, albeit covered up with a kaftan and straw trilby.
Flights: Aer Lingus flies Dublin-Faro – I paid €110 for my flight.
Hotel: B&B at Vilacampina costs from €115 a night per room. Full details on i-escape.com
Car hire: Vilacampina is 40 minutes drive from Faro airport and car hire with Argus Car Hire works out about €90 for four days.
Eating: Vilacampina serves fresh salads, sandwiches and quiche for lunch. There’s no dinner available on site but the seaside villages nearby have some fantastic eateries (great seafood and wine!) which you can eat out for two, for under €35 all up.Tweet