A haven for golfers and gourmets: Anantara Vilamoura's Presidential Suite in the Algarve
Capping one wing of Anantara Vilamoura in the Algarve, the Presidential Suite’s vast rooftop terrace looks down over Portugal’s longest golf course. Whether soaking up the sun from the hot tub, indulging in a romantic rooftop dinner or relaxing in the wood-and-marble-lined rooms below, this is an exclusive sanctuary within a well-run luxury hotel.
The suite: The 2,700sq ft (250sq metre) one-bedroom apartment consists of a dining room, living room and bathroom, plus extra WC for guests, with a fresh and calm feel thanks to marble floors, cream upholstery, and white walls, cork accents and sliding wooden screens which create flexible space in the dressing room and bedroom. Photographs of empty glasses and fantasy woodland pen-and-ink drawings, which feature throughout the hotel, are also on display here.
While this is ordinarily a calm, relaxing space, it's also a suite you can party in: a Bose stereo system functions throughout the suite and roof terrace; there are dining tables seating six inside and eight outside; and that aforementioned, vast roof terrace, with hot tub and elegant canvas-upholstered wicker furniture scattered among olive and palm trees, is a showstopper. From here, the landscape flickers with distant lights at night; by day, you can gaze down on the hotel’s pool complex and one of the region's most beautiful and challenging golf courses.
The hotel: The marble-lined modern hotel below has four pools - including one for children (the property is popular with families and there’s a good on-site kids’ club) and one that is adults-only. Set a 10-minute drive back from the coast, it’s a haven for golfers who can choose from three adjacent courses (the closest, Victoria, is used annually as the site for the Portuguese Masters, a leg of the European tour) and the hotel’s pros offer excellent lessons. The spa has an indoor pool, expansive treatment rooms with well-trained staff, plus gym, sauna and steam room.
The hotel’s catering is a standout feature: poolside Ria specialises in the region’s excellent fresh fish and seafood; Emo offers fine dining with well-executed creative riffs on the best of the Algarve: for example, a cockle ravioli in a Chinese dumpling skin, immersed in a rich lobster bisque, with a sharp samphire accent. All of the hotel’s restaurants’ food can be served in the suite. The charmingly enthusiastic sommelier, Antonio, will gamely pair anything from his wine list of more than 400 bottles, which, while international, is particularly interesting in its older Portuguese offerings.
Suite guests can also opt for “Dining by Design”, in which the roof deck is transformed into an undeniably romantic candlelit and flower-bedecked setting. There you can enjoy the best of the hotel’s kitchens in almost complete solitude, with only the waiting staff’s arrivals and the occasional engagements of Antonio as complements to your own conversation. Of particular note was a braised turbot served over lentils and bok choi, rich with the flavours of star anise, which came paired with a 2001 Quinta do Moinho, from the Bairrada, which was reminiscent of claret but more interesting for being Portuguese.
What to expect: The Presidential Suite offers a personalised oasis from what is already a calm, well-run hotel. An afternoon spent on the roof terrace is an exercise in solitary bliss, with only the occasional distant airplane pulling into Faro. Service throughout the hotel is unobtrusive and proactive, but also warm and distinctly Portuguese. The scale and privacy of the suite allow this service to be ably tailored to your every whim.
Standout feature: This is exclusivity and relaxation without bling; the sleek but calm design and the perfect service keep everything tasteful.
Not so keen: The roof-garden design and beautiful deck furniture are let down by the blue hot tub, which looks like a relic when juxtaposed with the shiny, sleek newness of everything else.
Location:The hotel is near the seaside casino town of Vilamoura in the highly developed part of the Algarve, just west of Faro airport. There are a wealth of golf courses in the area, but it’s far enough from the sea (a 10-minute drive) that you may not make it to the beach. Should you wish to explore the area further, book a place on the hotel’s Spice Spoons cookery course (€125 [£111] per person), which includes a visit to the local market to buy ingredients for that day’s lunch.
The details: The Presidential Suite is €2,500 (£2,300) per night, inclusive of taxes and breakfast. Double rooms at Anantara Vilamoura from €192 (£175) in low season (+351 289 317 000; firstname.lastname@example.org).