If you are looking for your perfect luxury stay on the amazing Algarve coast, Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort not only is conveniently located in proximity to Faro international airport and a number of the most striking beaches and villages along the rugged coastline. With its understated elegance, high-class service, large Spa facilities and ample leisure activities, it is the perfect retreat for just a weekend or an extended stay in this beautiful part of Portugal.
I have fallen in love with Anantara Hotels and Resorts during my travels throughout the Middle East. It is still a young brand (founded in 2001) but right from the start has managed to impress me with their unfussy stylishness, friendly and flawless service and lots of personal touches that has made each of my previous stays a real pleasure.
The group puts a high focus on authenticity and sustainability and wherever you go will offer you plenty of opportunities to learn more and engage with the local destination. This may be through curate excursions into the region where you will be introduced to local customs, culture and crafts, cooking classes, dining by design, specific sports activities tailored to the destination and much more. Just check out the groups experiences page to get a glimpse into the vast range of awesome experiences they offer at their different locations.
Given my enthusiasm for the Anantara group, is was only a matter of time that I would seek out their first and so far only European resort. Hence while arranging for a trip to the Alentejo earlier this year, it was clear I would use the occasion to spend some time at Anantara Vilamoura
The location – How to get to Anantara Vilamoura
The hotel is located in a quiet residential quarter of Vilamoura about seven kilometres (10 minutes) from the marina and beach of Vilamoura.
Faro airport with several international flights arriving daily is just about 25 minutes away.
The easiest way to reach the hotel is to book a transfer from the airport directly through the hotel.
Though there is a bus service connecting the airport and Vilamoura, this is not really an option as it requires a transfer between to bus lines and can take about an hour and a half to get to the Marina of Vilamoura. And then you still need to get to the hotel.
The Arnold Palmer designed Oceanico Victoria golf course is directly adjacent to the hotel. Indeed, you can book your golf experience through Anantara – they even have their own golf guru at hand (basically a trainer who will give you tips and perfect your putting skills).
Meanwhile, if you want to go to the Marina of Vilamoura, the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service which is running whenever you want to go. That’s right. No fixed schedule. The hotel will call a driver whenever you tell them you want to go. As for the return, it’s the same procedure, in this case handle through reception at sister hotel Tivoli Marina Vilamoura. It will usually only take a few minutes until a driver will be there to collect you either way.
Anantara Vilamoura does not fall into the brands top notch luxury range that you can find across Asia and the Middle East, like the spectacular Qasr Al Sarab, recently named the world’s most instagrammable resort. Instead, Anantara Vilamoura feels more like an upscale business hotel with some extra touches.
In part, this is because Anantara Vilamoura is located in what formerly was the Tivoli Victoria Hotel, thus it was not build on purpose as other Anantara Hotels.
That said, the hotel has undergone quite a bit refurbishment to embrace the Anantara mentality of creating authentic local experiences and this is reflected in the new style and design. Throughout the hotel, you will find strong regional touches such as the use of local woods, cork and local pottery, artwork and paintings.
There are a total of 280 rooms spanning categories from the Deluxe Room entry level to Family Rooms, Suites and a lavish penthouse Presidential Suite with private rooftop terrace.
Our Deluxe Pool View Room displayed a modern clear design with contemporary textures and furnishings, including wooden slate walls hiding the wardrobes, white marble floors, a large comfy bed and a generous lounge space. Also included in all rooms are a Nespresso coffee machine, large flatscreens, a well stocked mini bar and complimentary wifi.
The spacious room was the perfect place to rest after a day of exploring the surrounding area.
All rooms also have a spacious balcony including a large sun lounger either overlooking the pool, garden or golf area.
You are in southern Europe, and this means most of life is taking place outside.
At Anantara Vilamoura, you can chose between three different pool areas or various outdoor terraces where you can settle down to enjoy a light lunch or some drinks.
Most of the activity is taking place around the family pool – a large stylish area overlooking the adjacent golf course.
A smaller adults-only pool is located away from the main pool activities in a quiet corner of the property.
There is another even smaller pool mainly catering to smaller children, including a separate kids play corner.
Whilst there is no direct access to the beach – the closest one just behind the Marina of Vilamoura is about 10 minutes by car. However, there is the aforementioned shuttle service and guests of Anantara have access to the very exclusive Purobeach private pool and beach club just behind the Tivoli hotel.
Dining at Anantara Vilamoura
There are various different dining options at Anantara Vilamoura and for our stay we opted for the fine dining wine-centric EMO restaurant. Here the focus too is on the regional products, with local seasonal food from the Algarve.
Other options include the seafood restaurant Ria (taking its name from the nearby Ria Formosa Natural Park) and Victoria restaurant where an all-day buffet is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The large breakfast buffet in the Victoria restaurant – to be enjoyed on the large garden patio – offers a large selection of fresh pastries, breads, local hams and cheeses, fresh fruits, freshly made yoghurts and different juices along with a cooking station for your choice of eggs and omelettes.
That said, be prepared to find the space a bit crowded, especially during the peak time between 9-10 am. There is no shortage of tables, however, so we did not see anyone waiting much longer than it takes to accompany you to your table.
If you wonder what else to do in and around Vilamoura when staying at Anantara Vilamoura, check out my recent post 6 amazing things to do over a weekend at Vilamoura.
Anantara Vilamoura totally lived up to my expectations and I can only recommend to make it your place of stay when visiting the beautiful Algarve coast in southern Portugal.