In our quest to find the most desirable hotels and resorts in the world we landed in Portugal this time. Here we reviewed the unique Vila Vita Parc Resort. Offering a range of rooms, suites and even private villas set in lush gardens directly on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
Vila Vita Parc is located in Porches, which lies in the southern region of Portugal on the Algarve. Porches is a small village, about ten kilometers east of Lagos, it is known for its handcraft work and wine cellars. While much of Algarve has been commercialized owing to the blooming tourism, Porches hasn’t. It has a deep-rooted culture and is yet to be overwhelmed by visitors.
We landed in Faro with a 3 hour direct flight from Munich. From the airport it took us about 45 minutes in our rental car to reach the Vila Vita Parc resort. Upon reaching the resort, we were captivated by its breathtaking tropical garden setting and Moorish architecture. The majestic entrance alone is worth a visit.
The resort opened in 1992 and currently has 84 rooms and 86 suites. It is part of the Leading Hotels of the World alliance and managed under German ownership. The resort faces the Atlantic Ocean and is built on 54 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens. The guests have direct access to the beach from the resort and if you don’t fancy the salt water you can take a dip in one of the resorts five pools.
The resort offers everything from Deluxe rooms to a five-room villa. The rooms, suites and villas are spread out over the landscaped gardens, interconnected by various paths. Golf buggies are used shuttle guests, luggage and room-service throughout the resort. Our room was located in the main building and featured a modern style and all possible amenities. The bathrooms are spacious and feature a bath and rain shower. Only minor point of criticism was the lack of a power outlet and a master switch to switch of the lights next to the bed.
The reception is in the Main Building, which also features the bar, a large terrace and one of the resorts eight restaurants. The Residence and Oasis Parc are on the cliff-top and offer excellent sight of the ocean. The Residence area has been renovated recently with twenty-four rooms and three suites now available. The rooms have been decorated in creamy beige and aquamarine tones with each having a garden or a balcony. The Townhouse and Residence Grand suites have also been given makeovers. The Residence is now the most elegant yet secluded and peaceful area.
Of the resort eight restaurants The Ocean restaurant is very popular for its Gourmet dining. It has been awarded two Michelin stars and is located in the recently renovated Residence. We particularly enjoyed Whale restaurant which serves delicious Italian food with sea view. More intimate is Adega which serves delicious and authentic Portuguese dishes. We also liked the Aladdin Grill, which is famous for its meat and fish dishes. Its interiors are inspired by Middle East with glass windows, beautiful antiques and an open kitchen.
All restaurants use organic and fresh produce preferably from Vila Vita’s own farm and vineyard. During our stay in Vila Vita we did a day trip to Lisbon, which is about 2 hours by car. On the way back we visited the Vila Vita Vineyard called: Herdade dos Grous. Here they produce white and red wine, meat and olive oil. The stunning farm is set on 1700 acres of land and also has several rooms for guests to stay overnight. Herdade dos Grous is located about an hour from the resort on the way to Lisbon. If you are ever in the area make sure to stop by for a wine tasting or lunch.
Back at Vila Vita Parc we also tried some of the several other exciting facilities like a small nine hole golf course, water sport center with a range of aquatic activities like waterskiing and scuba diving on the offer, tennis and volleyball courts and even a private yacht available for charter. The spa offers Thai massage, sauna, yoga, Pilates and hot-stone treatment among others.
There are a lot of things we like about Vila Vita Parc. The expansive gardens and the large choice of restaurants in a intimate setting directly on the ocean is something you rarely find in Europe. The multi-national staff is very friendly, courteous and helpful and they do their best to remember your name from the first moment. Thanks to the large gardens and range of facilities it feels a lot more like a boutique hotel than a large resort. The live music in the bar is a nice touch and its been a while since we had that much fun dancing on a random wednesday night.
Tip: A secret wine cellar located a few steps from the main building hides one of the best wine collections in Portugal. It is usually closed but if you ask nicely they might show you around or even host a dinner and port tasting for you in the cellar.
The Vila Vita Parc Resort really blew us away and is among our favorite resorts in the world. The facilities and level of service are a rare find in Europe. Unlike many other luxury hotels the prices for room service, food & drinks and other extras are also very reasonable.
The rooms are comfortable and facilities are excellent. With step-by-step renovations the management is keeping the resort up-to-date and is making sure it will remain one of our favorites for a long time.