Restored 18th-century palace with gorgeous gardens
Large rooms with patios or balconies
Posh spa with a Turkish bath and sauna
Numerous neoclassical parlors for taking afternoon tea
Indoor and outdoor pools with teak sun decks
Restaurant and bar with an outdoor terrace plus seasonal pool bar
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Free on-site parking
Far from the ocean, dining, and attractions in Faro
Rooms decor is bland compared to the rest of the hotel
Tiny fitness room
No coffeemakers in rooms
With glamorous gardens modeled after the royal greenery of Versailles, the Pousada de Faro Palace Hotel is unique in the Algarve, and a handsome three-and-a-half-pearl hotel by any measure. Each of the 63 rooms are large, with private balconies and none of the old plumbing that can plague similar properties, though the modern decor doesn't live up to the hotel's historic provenance. The beautiful 18th-century building has allure as a historic landmark, while also attracting guests with a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and a restaurant with its original wood-burning oven. The gardens are worth a visit on their own, and the hotel is consistently rated one of the best in the area, but guests looking to be right in Faro should check out Hotel Eva across from the marina.
The Viscount of Estoi, a connoisseur of Baroque gardens, built this pink-and-white palace as a family home in the 18th century. The gardens, decorated with statues and fountains in the Versailles style, have been lovingly restored. The grounds feature long rows of columns cutting across manicured lawns, and soft dirt paths laid out in geometric patterns around a colorful bounty of flora. The Rococo-style palace was renovated by the architect Goncalo Byrne, who added a modern wing to house the rooms and suites. Inside, the lobby and common areas in the modern wing are different affair and are minimal and bright, with sharp angles contrasting against carpets with pastel wave patterns. Golden Baroque-style chairs in the reception area serve as reminders of the adjacent palace, and there are isolated ceiling frescoes, but the historic charms are mostly left to the parlors and salons of the original building, where antique paintings, rich wood panels, and exquisitely detailed plasterwork cover nearly every surface. The hotel is most popular with couples, especially for young couples who wed in the restored chapel before making the most of the romantic ambiance.
Located in the small village of Estoi within walking distance of shops and restaurants
The hotel is located in the small, picturesque village of Estoi, where everything is within walking distance. There are a few local restaurants and shops under a five-minute walk away, along with a pharmacy and supermarket. Narrow cobbled streets and Algarve architecture make for pleasant walks, but there isn't too much here. In fact, the Pousada de Faro Palace Hotel itself is the town's main tourist attraction. The historic center of Faro is about a 20-minute drive away, with many options for dining and entertainment along the waterfront. It's also home to one of the closest beaches. Expect a 15-minute drive to nearby Faro Airport.
Large and modern rooms with private patios or balconies
In contrast to the hotel's historic pedigree, its 63 rooms are entirely modern, with wood floors and minimalist decor. The simple color schemes -- mostly white with a touch of orange or purple -- don't exactly ooze character, and there's little in the way of wall art. The standard Classic and Superior Rooms are large and airy, with private furnished patios or balconies that have views of the pool or grounds; some have views of the Baroque garden (not to be confused with regular views of the grounds). Entryways are done in handsome dark wood paneling, with ample storage space and shelves with in-room safes (which are free to use -- not always the case in Portugal). All units have built-in desks and sitting areas with sleek gray chairs on polished steel stands. Wall-mounted flat-screen TVs come standard, as do mini-fridges and free Wi-Fi. Rooms lack coffeemakers, but have electric tea kettles. Larger suites and Family Rooms add living areas with bright orange chairs and couches -- furniture has just a touch of retro flair. The bathrooms are covered in elegant white marble, with bidets, generous counter space, a nice selection of toiletries, hairdryers, and shower/tub combos.
Baroque gardens, outdoor and indoor pools, full spa, restaurant and bar with outdoor terrace
The Pousada de Faro Palace Hotel's impressive gardens are its main feature -- enough to draw tourists not even staying at the hotel -- and can be seen from multiple terraces and balconies. They are also lovely for a morning or late afternoon stroll. However, there's no shortage of typical hotel facilities here, either. The outdoor pool and a smaller plunge pool are set in a wide teak sun deck with plenty of lounge chairs and great views of the palace behind, and the rolling Algarve landscape in the distance. There's also a small indoor plunge pool, and the full-service spa has a sauna and a Turkish bath. The fitness center is unfortunately tiny, but determined guests can make use of its treadmill and weight-training machine.
The restaurant and bar have an outdoor terrace, along with a less exciting dining room. Breakfast is included in some rates and served in a charming space with beautifully restored tile and the palace's original wood-burning oven on display. Regular menu highlights include a traditional fish and shellfish Cataplana, with desserts such as orange parfait of figs and wild berry sorbet. The hotel also serves afternoon tea in its ornate sitting parlors. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, and there's plenty of free parking. The hotel has multiple meeting rooms and salons as well, perfect for events and meetings.
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