Far from crowds of frenzied tourists, the charming little house sits on a hill flanked with orange groves as far as the eye can see and right in the centre of beautiful wild natural gardens teeming with birds and butterflies. The Casa del Rei is a good example of some of the comfortable guesthouses that are springing up all over the Algarve. Located in the east of the Algarve close to the village of Tavira, beaches are within a short drive. A warm welcome from Geraldine and Robin, a British expatriate couple, makes guests fee at home right away. An ideal place to come to wind down for a few days. The casa is great for couples looking for a bit of peace and quiet.
The guesthouse is officially par of Tavira, although it is a little outside the village in an area called Almargem. In the immediate surroundings there isn't much going on as the casa sits on a country road. Tavira has a rich history as an important fishing port; the village was also an important Moorish city in the 1700s and ruins of forts and settlements are still visible all over the village. The hotel is about an hour's drive east on the N-125 from Faro, the capital of the Algarve. The nearest beach is about 10 minutes' drive away in Cabanhas.
Although the guesthouse doesn't refuse children, it is important for them to be well behaved and quiet in order to maintain the serene atmosphere.
The Casa del Rei is closed over the winter, so check dates before making plans.
Upon arrival up the long drive up the slight hill, through the front gardens, we parked the car in a small car park in front of the guesthouse. To the back of the house is where the multi-tiered garden and pool area are found. The several layers create lots of private nooks where guests are found reading or sunbathing. The elegant pool boasting chic navy blue cabana-striped Standkorbe deck chairs - ask Geraldine what the secret of the chairs is and she will be more than happy to give you a full demonstration of all the different configurations! And that is not all on the secrets of the pool area - the deck chair mattresses, all made out of special boating material, never get hot in the sun, preventing guests from scorching their backsides! An ingenious investment indeed.
The entrance is to the side of the house, opposite a second terrace that guests can also use. The common areas include, as well as the terraces and outdoor areas, the kitchen's dining area and living room. The house living room is where there is a television, but more importantly large cosy sofas for curling up with a good book in the evenings. Adjoined to this area is the farmhouse kitchen, where guests can help themselves to hot drinks throughout the day.
With its seven rooms, this quaint little farmhouse's setting in its wild gardens surrounded by orange groves, the Casa Vale del Rei is the ultimate place to stay for a few days. Each room is different in its décor, size and general atmosphere. Most have double beds, with the exception of one, which has a single bed for a young child. All bed linen is high thread-count crisp Egyptian cotton, every room has an ensuite bathroom and air-conditioning. For guests who aren't fond of air-conditioning the windows are all netted to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside, making it possible to sleep with the windows open.
The décor is extremely simple, but has its charms and the beds, we can confirm, are extremely comfortable. Every room has a view onto the surrounding landscape. In addition to the seven rooms, there is also the private cabin in the back garden, which has a roof-top terrace for sunbathing, bird watching, or just for an aperitif at sunset. The cabin, made from whitewashed weathered boards recalls a beachy freshness and was our favourite room here.
Breakfast is served every morning in the kitchen and out on the patio. Guests have access to a fridge and other bits and bobs for making sandwiches at lunch or dinner if they don't want to venture out. They also have access to tea and coffee all day. Geraldine and Robin are happy to give their guests recommendations for places to see and eat.
While the beach isn't within walking distance, the nearest one is about 20 minutes' drive from the house and as most guests tend to have their own car or rent a bike, it makes for the perfect excuse to explore the surrounding area. The nearest beach is in Tavira. Our preferred beach is behind the Vila Galé Albacora Hotel a little way out of Tavira. It sits right on the banks of the Formosa River encased in fine white powdery beaches. There is also a beach accessible via a two minute boast-taxi ride from the hotel. The area is part of a protected natural park so tourists must take all their rubbish with them after a day here in order to help keep the area clean.
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