The coastal Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, is a great value destination on the Continent. But that's not the only reason to visit.
• The Algarve delights lovers of sun, sand, and seafood
• Add a rich history dating back to the early Middle Ages
• Add panoramic coastal golf courses
• And one of shortest transatlantic flights
• Here on Luxury Travel, my reasons you must visit the Algarve
Where to Stay Frugally in the Algarve? Pousada Palácio de Estoi
Pousada Palácio de Estoi is a majestic pink castle. This estate was built in the late 1800s in Baroque style by the local aristocrat, Visconde de Estoi.
The property has been a member of Portugal's pousada hotel association since 2003.
• Find out more about the 40 historic pousadas of Portugal
• Pousada Palácio de Estoi is a member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World
• And it is a remarkable bargain, considering the quality of the guest experience
The Palácio's Setting: Estoi, a Jewel of a Town
The estate is grandly set in the hilltop village of Estoi, steps from the village square.
• Estoi is not frequented by tourists
• It is full of winding cobblestone streets that are a pleasure to explore
• A short drive from the village are the ruins of Milreu, an excavated Roman villa noted for its well-preserved mosaics (see photos here)
• The property is just 20 miles from the major airport of the Algarve, in Faro
• And it's a scenic 15-minute drive down to a glorious beach
Handsome Rooms at Pousada Palácio de Estoi
The Palácio, a Baroque-style gem, caresses the eye in shades of salmon-pink and sand-beige. Its 60 contemporary rooms are annexed to the original building, which is dedicated to lounging and dining.
• Light, airy room furnishings contrast with rich, dark wood walls
• All rooms overlook the rolling Algarvian hills with a sea view on the horizon
Beautiful Gardens with Slightly Naughty Décor
Pousada Palácio de Estoi is noted for its park-like surroundings.
• Its impeccably manicured, French-style gardens are built around a three-tiered stone fountain
• A pair of small teahouses in the courtyard are a must-see; the one for men features a series of Azulejo tiles of the naked-lady variety
• Another lovely garden at the Palácio, visited by appointment (ask the concierge), flaunts abundant fruit trees, monumental fountains, and a cascading staircase with azulejo walls
Restoration of the Palácio’s Noble Origins
Palácio de Estoi is being painstakingly restored to its original grandeur. Tiles, frescoes, and small details like doorknobs and moldings have been lovingly repaired.
• Pastel-colored angels once again hover on the ceilings’ frescoes
• Guests can lounge, read, and socialize in several wood-paneled living rooms
• A private stone chapel inside the palace hosts destination weddings
• A salon overlooking the gardens can be reserved for receptions and private events
• For an inside look atthe Palácio, introduce yourself to front desk director Monica, who is eager to share her passion for the Palácio’s heritage
Food Worthy of Royalty at Pousada Palácio de Estoi
The property serves refined Portuguese fare strong on local seafood.
• There is one restaurant, serving three meals a day
• Guests may dine on the scenic outdoor terrace or in two interior dining rooms
• The original palace kitchen, with its beautiful azulejo-tiled walls, is visible to the dining rooms
• In addition to an a la carte menu, the Palácio features a prix fixe Portuguese menu which varies monthly (Chickpeas were the theme during my visit)
• Recommendation: the quality and portion size of the grilled octopus is impressive
• The breakfast buffet overflows with charcuterie, fresh fruit and juice, cereal, bread, pastry
A Huge Pool at the Palácio...
An unusual guest amenity at the Pousada Palácio de Estoi is its 150-foot outdoor pool.
• The pool overlooks a wild grass meadow, the hills, and the sea in the distance
Guests can relish a massage or facial in the hotel's cozy spa.
• Hotel guests who can use the spa's sauna and steam room without a spa appointment
Find Out More More About Pousada Palácio de Estoi
As is common in the travel industry, the Guest Author was provided with a complimentary visit for the purpose of describing the resort. For details, see our site's Ethics Policy.