A smart and contemporary home away from home for travellers in need of full-on rest and relaxation. Let the soothing spell take over as you arrive and give in to the tranquil atmosphere as the daily stresses of everyday life slowly melt away. Staying here is like spending time at a friend's house for the weekend. Located in Luz de Tavira, a small village 20 minutes away from Tavira in eastern Algarve, close to the coast, Vilacampina is a large house that is run by Sofia, also the owner; she is very passionate about giving her guests the best. Ideal for couples looking to get some quality time together, but as the house is quite a small property in comparison to a hotel the setting is quite an intimate one and therefore wouldn't be suitable for rowdy children.
The guesthouse is located in Luz de Tavira, a 10 minute drive from the small fishing village of Tavira. 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 20 minutes away on foot.
Vilacampina is fairly difficult to find, so watch out for the signage and do not hesitate on asking the locals on the way. Alternatively, ask Sofia, the owner, for a map before making the journey.
It is essential to have a car or bike to explore the area if staying here as the sights are not within walking distance.
Surrounded by fields and orange groves, a typical sight of the Algarve, Vilacampina is a stylish house that was built by the owner and which opened in 2005. One of the area's smart living accommodations, the house feels just like being in a friend's home. The comfortable surroundings teamed with Sofia, the owner's, warm welcome, is a welcome break from the large resort hotels the Algarve is known for.
At Vilacampina, the attention to detail is what makes this place special - oversized Moroccan lamps, tea lights hanging from the olive trees, rose-print cushions, white Ibiza-style seating - Sofia's flair for home decoration is evident in every corner.
There is a small car park out front for guests. A gravel yard planted with olive and lemon trees separate the pool area and the main house. The pool area is the highlight - a smart setting with a salt water rectangle of iridescent turquoise sits in the middle of the deck surrounded by voguish curtained cabanas floating in the breeze and large bean bags. The main entrance is next to the outdoor patio. A small reception area in the corridor with an array of pamphlets of things to see and do in the area is where check-ins and check-outs are done. To the right is the living room - a spacious cosy nook with sofas, a computer (with internet), a coffee bar and a television makes for a welcoming place to curl up with a good book in the evenings. Meals are served either at the living room dining table or outside on the patio. To the left of the reception are a few rooms, the rest of which are upstairs.
In terms of services, Vilacampina has room-service (at no extra cost), complimentary Wi-Fi access, an honesty bar (available 24 hours), bicycles, games and DVDs. There is no spa onsite, but a Swedish masseuse does treatments in guestrooms (except for room number seven, which is a tad too small to fit a massage bed). There is also a sunning terrace on the roof-top for working on that perfect tan!
A truly relaxing experience, waking up to bird song and the morning breeze through the lemon trees outside, indulging in good food and wine, Vilacampina is a high-end yet casual retreat for visitors in dire need to get away from it all.
There are nine rooms including a double standard category, small doubles, and one suite. All have balconies or terraces depending on whether the room is on the ground or first floor. The rooms vary in size, décor and view. The rooms on the first floor have a view of the surrounding area, which is just beautiful to look at as the sun travels from east to west.
Upon arrival, Sofia always makes sure guests have a little homemade gift to welcome them to Vilacampina. She is very much into arts and crafts so you never know what will inspire her next!
The rooms are mainly decorated in a neutral palette with touches of bright colours to liven the space up. Comfort is the priority here, as are amenities so that guests do not go amiss any of their home comforts like lush rugs, high thread-count linen and good quality beds.
Breakfast is served at Vilacampina every day and consists of homemade breads and fresh local produce (included in the room rate). Otherwise, guests can order a quiche or baguette sandwich for lunch or to have as a picnic while exploring the sights - this must be ordered in the morning in time for lunch. All day long Sofia leaves fresh fruit, chocolates and other snacks out in case guests have a little craving between meals. Meals are served outside on the decking or at the table in the living room, at the guests' request. Breakfast can also be served in the rooms.
The nearest beaches are in Tavira and they are beautiful, especially out of season, as most beaches will be deserted - great if your ideal holiday is spent on a beach all to yourself! But not so great if you actually want to have a swim without the necessary squirming ceremony to get into the cold water, the Portuguese will tell you. The best time for a seaside swim is in September, when the water has been heated up throughout summer and tourists have gone home. Our preferred beach is behind the Vila Galé Albacora Hotel, which 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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