Easy Escapes: Faro, Portugal

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  • Dreaming of escaping? The perfect weekend beach break is just 3 hours away

    Marie Claire’s Features Director Andrea Thompson gets some weekend rays at Martinhal Sagres, on Portugal’s famous Algarve

    Why go?

    Located on the unspoiled Western Algarve, Martinhal Sagres sits in the middle of the beautiful Costa Vicentina Natural Park, overlooking a golden sandy beach and just over an hour from Faro airport. At just two and a half hours from London, it’s totally do-able as a long weekend break, although there is loads to do if you’ve got a week.

    The 37 stylish boutique rooms in the main hotel are perfect for couples, but with a collection of spacious two bedroom villas complete with sleek Conran interiors and your own giant kitchen diner overlooking the ocean, it’s a great place for a girl’s holiday or family break.

    The hotel occupies a staggering 25 hectares of beautifully landscaped land and one of the first things you’ll notice after checking in is the sense of serenity (without that familiar hum of cars passing by outside). Did we mention that it also has four swimming pools, a spa and a host of water sports?


    Faro has good weather all year around with temperatures pretty mild throughout the year. Winter days (October to January) can mean temperatures of between 50 and 60 degrees F with occasional rain, while summer highs (May to October) average in the mid 80s, and are warm and sunny. To miss the crowds, avoid July and August. September and October are perfect times to visit when temperatures remain in the 70s; days are sunny and bright, and it’s still bikini weather.

    You really must…

    Head down to the hotel’s water sports centre directly on the beach to hire equipment for windsurfing, skimming and Kayaking. The infamous offshore breeze and mild weather mean it’s the perfect place for amateurs to learn or brush up on their skills. You can also hire bikes, grab a map from the activity centre and head off on one of the pretty coastal cycle routes.

    If all this sounds too hectic, park yourself in a comfy day bed by one of the fabulous four pools with a Mojito , or check out the Finesterra spa. We strongly recommend the Herbal Compress Massage featuring fresh organic seaweed, lavender and fennel, and the Salt Glow exfoliation body scrub.

    Dine at..

    Any of the three restaurants, from the authentic Italian pasta and pizzeria, to the main formal restaurant-serving award winning traditional Portuguese fare with a modern European twist. The real gem here though, is the hotel’s specialist fresh fish and seafood restaurant As Dunas overlooking the ocean where the fish is truly exceptional. Each morning, the chef goes to the local market to buy up the best of the latest local catch. Stop by at 11am before the lunchtime rush to find out what’s just come in and put it aside for lunchtime. After one meal here, you’ll never want to eat supermarket fish again. Cooked in the local Algarve fashion, with just a sprinkle of seasoning, butter and a simple adornment of fresh vegetables it’s quite simply divine.

    Take home

    A deep tan and enviable photos on your Instagram. It’s not somewhere to come if you’re looking to shop. Beyond the buzz of the resort, the local town has a sprinkling of local restaurants but little else.

    Book now

    Beach Rooms for two people on a bed and breakfast basis start from £183 per room per night with villas sleeping 2 adults and 2 children from £255 per night in September.

    British Airways fly to Faro from £51each way, while Easy Jet offers flights from £19 each way.

    The hotel can arrange taxis from Faro airport whichis 1hr 30 minutes away.

    Info: For information on Martinhal Sagres and sister hotels across Portugal visit www.martinhal.com

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