The Algarve, along with other sun-kissed Southern European resorts, used to conjure up images of tourists looking for fun’n’frolics. But dig deeper and a lot of these locations are smartening up their act. The reason? With the over-50s now accounting for 58% of tourist spend, the big money is no longer with the kids. Plus, most of us are well-behaved, children have left home (or we can afford to take the family with us if the mood suits) and we know what we like and are prepared to spend our hard-earned dosh getting it.
Less developed than other towns in the Algarve, Carvoeiro is one such devotee to this trend. It offers secluded beaches beneath dramatic limestone cliffs looking out to the clear blue seas of the Atlantic. Fifty minutes drive from Faro, it started out as a fishing village and has a laid-back attitude with a good mixture of European and traditional Portuguese restaurants.
The hotel Tivoli Carvoeiro can be found on the edge of this small resort and has, by all accounts, the best views in town. This is evident from the moment guests enter the hotel. The eye is drawn through the lobby towards the back of the hotel and out to the Atlantic Ocean below giving a sense of space and total relaxation.
This panoramic view is new to the hotel thanks to a complete refurbishment overseen by architects, Broadway Malyan. Reopened in April 2017, these modernisations saw the Carvoeiro transformed from a four to five-star venue. The now-248 room hotel has re-modelled guest rooms decorated in soft hues of greys and blue and come complete with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean or gardens. Hot tubs feature in some of the rooms with the open plan bathrooms featuring twin basins and walk-in showers.
With a growing trend for multi-generational holidays, there is an emphasis at the Carvoeiro on family rooms. Catering for four people, these compromise of a large bedroom and living area, separated by a door and featuring two bathrooms and two balconies. The top-floor offices, with their stunning views, have been replaced by three top-floor suites complete with ostrich-egg bathtubs. All rooms have Nespresso coffee machines, AC and a safe.
The re-vamped spa is an oasis of calm. It has four treatment rooms of which two have been set up for couples. Offering a wide range of treatments, the spa uses organic Voya products. After treatments, guests are invited to relax with a herbal tea and snacks of nuts and dried fruit to complete the experience. The steam room and sauna are also available to help rejuvenate and relax. For the more active, the new gym is available 24/7.
The hotel also boasts three new restaurants. The One Wine Boutique Restaurant, which is open evenings only, features the work of head chef, Bruno Rocha and sommelier, Bruno Ferreira in providing a wide range of foods such as sea bass with lobster ravioli with wines to match from the local region. The food here is truly spectacular, especially for lovers of sea-food. The Med restaurant features a breakfast and evening buffet serving international cuisine and local specialities whilst the poolside Mare Bistro serves salads, wraps and burgers.
The jewel in the crown has to be the Carvoerio Sky Bar. This is the go-to place in Carvoeiro for pre-dinner drinks and fabulous cocktails or evenings spent admiring the view as the sun goes down. Open to non-residents, international DJ’s and live music sets keep the vibe relaxed attracting both hotel guests and locals alike.
Children are well-catered for. The kid’s club, supervised by hotel staff, comes equipped with a TV and movie area, arts and crafts and the ever-present soft play area. Little ones also have their own pool and a small outdoor play area.
Feeling in the mood for something a bit more active? The attentive customer care team and reception staff can organise trips for guests. Both the 2-hour hike along the cliffs and cave tour by boat came highly recommended. We decided to do both. The boat trip to the caves could not be beaten. Hidden caves with beaches, sometimes only accessible from the sea, were enchanting and it was fascinating to see the coastline from a different viewpoint. The Seven Hanging Valleys walking tour was very informative with the guide talking us through the fauna and flora on the way.
For those of a less active disposition, it’s still pretty tempting, however, to simply lounge by the pool, have a spa treatment or unwind with a cocktail in the Sky Bar.
Fly into Faro with Ryanair, British Airways or TAP Airlines. Nightly rates at Tivoli Carvoeiro start from 120€ / £106 for a double room on B&B basis. For more information, please visit: https://www.tivolihotels.com/en/tivoli-carvoeiro Hotel Tivoli Carvoeiro, Apartado 1299, Vale Covo Praia do Carvoeiro, 8401-911 Carvoeiro, Portugal.