Described by some as the last unexplored corner of Europe, Vila Real de Santo António is a tranquil, laidback town on Portugal’s easternmost promontory.
Just 45 minutes from Faro but a world away from the tourist hordes, Grand House Algarve commands a prime waterfront location, overlooking the town’s marina and the Rio Guadiana, the river that divides Portugal from Spain.
Originally opened in 1926, the hotel exudes a homely old-world charm through its original Art Deco features, yet its light and spacious rooms remain the height of contemporary style. The Grand Rooms in particular are worth that little extra.
On the first floor, the Grand Salon and adjacent Salon Bar serve up signature cocktails and exquisitely prepared seasonal specialities, while the rooftop bar provides sunset city views.
If the Grand House captures the timeless elegance of the Roaring Twenties, the vibe is very different 2km down the coast at the hotel’s cool and casual Beach Club. Open to the public (with complimentary transfers provided for hotel guests), it’s the perfect setting for a long, lingering lunch, with an infinity pool out front, live music and shady sunbeds on which to sit and sip sangria.
Flanked by two natural reserves and with a string of deserted beaches and pretty hilltop towns within striking distance, there’s ample to explore in the local area, just be sure to visit soon, before words gets out about this undiscovered gem.