Algarve, Portugal

Conversas de Alpendre

Price per night from$222.23

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR207.03), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Porch life

Setting

Atlantic edge

Conversas de Alpendre in the eastern Algarve is a heavenly homestay where you’ll soon be part of the family. The name translates as ‘porch conversations’, but charming chats with your kind, caring hosts are to be had throughout the fabled farmhouse and its gorgeously rambling grounds, out in the orchards or by the saltwater swimming pool. Even the chef is up for a discussion: tell him about a few favourite ingredients and he’ll disappear off to the market, returning to cook you classic Portuguese cuisine, with a few borrowed bits from Spain (the border is a 20-minute cruise down the coast).

Smith Extra

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A bottle of local wine

Facilities

Photos Conversas de Alpendre facilities

Need to know

Rooms

11, including 10 suites.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible on request.

Prices

Double rooms from £185.69 (€219), including tax at 6 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast.

Also

The team can arrange golf classes, personal trainers and anything else you can think of (within reason).

Hotel closed

The hotel closes over Christmas and New Year, opening for a few days in between.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout, bicycles to borrow. In rooms: air-conditioning, free bottled water, tea, Nespresso coffee machine, Bluetooth speaker and Castelbel bath products.

Our favourite rooms

This one’s easy: we love the carob Tree Houses, six metres above ground and looking out to sea, with a terrace and views of the Atlantic as you shower. If you’re holidaying en famille, you’ll probably opt for the Family Apartment, which sleeps six and has a kitchenette. And if you want to ogle orange groves and the ocean from your Jacuzzi-toting terrace, book a Suite with Terrace.

Poolside

There’s a heated saltwater pool out in the gardens, with hammocks and sofas to sequester for snoozes in the shade.

Spa

There’s no spa, just a little hut where a therapist can be summoned for treatments, including massages performed using local almond cream.

Packing tips

Bring billowing clothes, buckets and spades, and wetsuits if you’re planning to surf the legendary Algarve waves.

Also

The hotel isn’t easily navigable for wheelchair users.

Children

Little Smiths are welcome in either the Superior Suites, the Apartment and the Warehouse. Babysitting is available on request.

Food and Drink

Photos Conversas de Alpendre food and drink

Top Table

If you want to up the romance levels, the family will set up a table for secluded suppers in the garden; or nab the hanging-basket chair that everyone’s got their eye on.

Dress Code

The whitewashed finca and bamboo chairs are the backdrop – so taste the rainbow.

Hotel restaurant

There’s no formal restaurant, but the chef will cook supper in the dining room for anyone who orders it from Tuesday until Saturday. You’ll let him know – before he heads out to the market every morning – whether you’re in the mood for fish, meat or vegetables (along with any allergies or dislikes), and then sit back and enjoy the surprise menu, which will include hot and cold starters, a main and a pudding. The food is classically Portuguese but with a little influence from over the border in Spain – expect dishes such as fennel-marinated fish and steaks cooked on a hot stone. Breakfast is a similar spread of fresh, organic and local produce.

Hotel bar

There’s no separate bar, but you can order drinks in the dining room, where snacks such as salads and bruschettas are also served all afternoon.

Last orders

Breakfast is from 8.30am until the last guest wakes up, at which point lunch is served until 6pm. Dinner (as long as you’ve pre-ordered it) is between 7pm and 11pm. Drinks are served from 10am to 10pm.

Location

Photos Conversas de Alpendre location
Address
Conversas de Alpendre
Estrada de Santa Rita nº 36 Vila Nova de Cacela
Vila Real de Santo António
8900-059
Portugal

Conversas de Alpendre is in the hamlet of Santa Rita in the east of the Algarve, close to the Spanish border, with Faro to the west.

Planes

Faro is the Algarve’s main air hub; it’s a 45-minute drive from the hotel. Transfers are €75 each way.

Trains

There’s a train station two kilometres away in Cacela, from where you can travel to other towns along the coast, including Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António. The hotel will fetch you from this station for free, as long as you give them two days’ notice.

Automobiles

It’s about a 15-minute journey to Tavira, the nearest town, and a couple of kilometres from Cacela Velha and Fábrica Beach. A car will come in handy if you want to explore the Algarve’s Atlantic coast, and there’s free parking 100 metres from the main house.

Worth getting out of bed for

The family is on hand to set up everything from golf lessons and horse rides to wine tasting and spa treatments. You’re also going to want to spend some time enjoying the gardens, orchards and pool. Set sail on the Ria Formosa lagoon with a boat trip arranged by the hotel, and don’t miss a trip to Tavira to check out its tiled houses, cobbled streets, ornate churches and Moorish influences. Formosamar can arrange activities within the Ria Formosa natural park, including kayaking, bird- and dolphin-watching, and surfboard hire. The Algarve is famous for its dramatic beaches, and two of the best swimming spots are Manta Rota and Ilha de Tavira.

Local restaurants

There’s not much of a dining scene around this fabulous finca, so your best bet is signing up for the hotel suppers or heading into Tavira. For a breezy, ocean-facing lunch and a super-fresh selection of fish, try Pezinhos N'Areia on Praia Verde.

Reviews

Photos Conversas de Alpendre reviews
Antonina Parker

Anonymous review

By Antonina Parker , Chef and author

I was thrilled to get a chance to visit charming Algarve stay Conversas de Alpendre for a couple of nights in June. The hotel’s an easy 40-minute drive from Faro Airport – you pass scenic countryside on the way and the converted farm is tucked away behind an arch of pale pink roses. As first impressions go, this appears to be everything you’d want a boutique hotel to be: secluded with beautiful interiors and the friendliest staff. Conversas is family-run by owners Marta and James. They left Lisbon to live a more laidback lifestyle in the country and have turned the farm into a wonderfully calm, off-the-radar hideaway. Marta has a passion for interior design, so she’s responsible for making everything look so beautiful, from the woven laundry baskets to the stone-trough fountains to the retro Lisboa coffee-table books. All of these little touches make the surroundings a joy to be in – I felt like I’d truly escaped.

It’s worth noting that once you’ve entered the hotel from the front, you’ll then be shown a back route to use. This can be tricky to find from the outside so be sure to make a proper note of it on the map provided – Google Maps was way off, so it’s easy to get lost. On this visit to Portugal, I was visiting for a job and had planned to fly out a few days early for a mini holiday. I wanted a bit of calm and delicious local food, and when I arrived at Conversas, I knew it was just the right spot. After check-in, I went to explore my room. Marta has created a wonderfully cosy space using neutral hues, and I had a beautiful view of their rose archway with orange groves stretching out beyond. They made great use of the space, fitting in a little washing area, desk for working and coffee-making zone. Everything felt new and fresh, and I was very into it.

The rooms all look out onto the swimming pool, and the dinner and breakfast terraces hug the main building. The farm is a gorgeous backdrop to it all and the neighbourhood is quiet. If you decide to have dinner here, you’ll be offered a homemade (naturally) three-course menu (dietary requirements are catered for).  All ingredients are locally sourced and menus keep to a Portuguese-Mediterranean theme. I devoured everything, from the starter of a vegetable tart to the fried seabass main and tiramisu with blackberries for dessert. It’s good simple food, and for a night in it’s a wonderful way to while away an evening. 

One of my favourite parts of staying in a hotel is enjoying a big breakfast with all the trimmings, and Conversas delivered generously on this front. What didn’t they have? There were homemade warm buttery croissants and locally made yoghurt, honey and goat’s cheese, granola, fresh fruit, orange juice, little cakes, poached eggs with avocado and good coffee – they really thought of everything. I tried pumpkin jam for the first time too, which was a treat. From their warm welcome onwards, the family are helpful as can be and are more than happy to give tips on the best local lunch spots. I especially loved the low-key hang-out they pointed me to, which served regional dishes such as grilled red snapper in butter and olive oil with garlicky vegetables. Conversas is only a 10-minute drive to the beach and there are multiple stop-offs along this part of the coast. You can find places to surf and hike, and the water’s fantastic for swimming. The little Algarve beach town of Tavira is also worth visiting, where there’s a food market selling olive oils, honey, jams and other artisanal foodstuffs to take home. And this part of the world is a renowned location for golf-lovers, and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing your favourite green to play on. The famous Quinta do Lago Resort’s course is only a 40-minute drive away and the club has above-par Asian restaurants for when you’re done putting about.  

Although this part of Portugal is by no means untouched, it’s retained much of its rustic charm and it’s a pleasure to meander round these coastal roads. Seafood is in abundance and you could happily spend days exploring the pretty white-and-blue houses in neighbouring seaside towns. I would go as far as to say that Conservas has been one of the best staff experiences that I have reviewed. Arguably, the hosts make a hotel, and this family has really gone to new great lengths to make you feel at home here. Conversas was already an impressive renovation from a rustic farm into a boutique hotel, but it’s been made unforgettable by the family’s attention to detail. I hope to be welcomed back into the fold for another surfing trip soon.

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Price per night from $222.23