Spacious apartments with full kitchens and terraces
Huge villas with private pools and garages
Restaurant, coffee shop, and supermarket
Three outdoor pools, one of which is covered and heated in winter
Outdoor playground and seasonal kids' club
Game room with pool table and foosball
Spa and nail salon
Free shuttle to Carvoeiro Beach
Free on-site parking
Free basic Wi-Fi
Well outside of Carvoeiro
Fee for fitness center and the four tennis courts
Wi-Fi is patchy and unreliable
Limited housekeeping (towels changed twice a week)
Decor varies widely and some units appear dated
The three-pearl Rocha Brava Village Resort is located far outside of Carvoeiro, but has fabulous views above the cliffs overlooking the ocean. The 100 units here include apartments featuring full kitchens and room to spread out away from the bustle of Carvoeiro, though the look can sometimes be dated. There are also huge private villas with their own pools and garages. Guests have access to three different outdoor pools, and there's a seasonal kids' club and a playground. The main trade-off for the condo-complex stay is that standard hotel services are thin -- housekeeping is limited, the Wi-Fi is unreliable, and some amenities such as the fitness center and tennis courts cost extra. The Pestana Palm Gardens nearby also has private villas, but in a more traditional beachfront hotel setting.
Hilltop resort spread across vast garden grounds ideal for independent families
The Rocha Brava Village Resort feels like a self-contained village, with dozens of buildings spread over 57 acres of gorgeous manicured grounds on a hill above the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps not surprisingly given its size, this feels far more like a residential community than a busy resort, and the style is fairly simple. The individual buildings display classic Mediterranean architecture, with bright white facades, terra-cotta rooftops, and pergola-covered balconies and terraces. It's a family-friendly resort, as relaxed as they come, popular with large families and groups making use of the big apartments and the privacy they afford. Still, there's a great sense of community too, with recycling centers for every building and bulletin boards with restaurant suggestions and tourist destinations from past guests. This is a destination that has independent travelers in mind, the majority of which are families drawn by the spacious rooms, self-catering option, and casual communal vibe.
Outside of Carvoeiro, on a hill overlooking the sea
Apart from a few restaurants, there isn't much around the resort in this residential area. Most dining and attractions are down the winding road toward Carvoeiro, which is out of walking distance, about a five-minute drive away. Alternatively, the resort offers a free daily shuttle to and from Carvoeiro Beach. The town is a popular regional spot for dining, shopping, and lots of local outdoor entertainment. About 15 minutes' drive farther, the charming fishing village of Ferragudo has outdoor cafes and music bars. The closest beach is Praia do Vale de Centianes, which can be reached on foot within 15 minutes, though the walk back is uphill. The Gramacho Golf Course and Vale Da Pinta Golf Course, both among Europe's best courses, are each under a 15-minute drive away. Expect a 45 to 50-minute drive to Faro Airport.
Large apartments and villas with multiple bedrooms and full kitchens, though decor varies
The resort offers 100 one- to three-bedroom apartments and villas. Decor and layout varies widely from one unit to the next, but they all tend to be bright and pleasant. Many are done with contemporary furnishings, white stone or terra-cotta floors, and bright colors in the soft furnishings. However, some are far more dated, with rattan furniture and details, and abundance of pastel colors, and generic landscape paintings on the walls. All have full kitchens with refrigerators, microwaves, coffeemakers, ovens, and stovetops complete with exhaust hoods. Dishwashers are also included and some units have washer/dryers. Living rooms include flat-screen TVs and sofabeds, along with dining areas that vary in size. Some also have fireplaces. Each unit has a furnished balcony or terrace, and some have sea views. Semi-detached two- or three-bedroom bungalows have two-story options that are ideal for families. Bathrooms tend to be dated across the board, with old tiles, bidets and unremarkable shower/tub combos. There are also huge detached three- and four-bedroom villas, with private pools and gardens plus their own parking garages. As the resort has an independent-vacation ethos, services like housekeeping are limited.
Three outdoor pools, restaurant and coffee shop, live entertainment, kids' club, spa, free shuttle
Each of the resort's three pools has a sundeck surrounded by garden lawns with plenty of lounge chairs for all. There's a kids' pool attached to the largest, and though all three are open year-round, one is also covered and heated during winter. With a view of the main pool, the O Farol Restaurant serves Portuguese and international cuisine with a breakfast buffet (not included). It has regular weekly entertainment, including live music and a kids disco. Attached to the restaurant, there's a coffee shop and bar that serves snacks and cocktails. The interior has a lofted seating area, but most of the table seating is on an outdoor terrace. Guests cooking for themselves have access to a substantial on-site supermarket, complete with fresh produce and a wine section.
There's an outdoor playground with swings and slides set on soft AstroTurf tiles, and the kids' club is open seasonally with activities like painting and supervised games. There's also a game room with foosball and a pool table in a cool space with exposed stone walls. The spa has the usual range of massages and facial treatments, along with a nail salon. The fitness center has cardio machines, weight-training equipment, and free weights, but costs an extra fee to access. There are also four outdoor tennis courts that can be used for an extra fee. A free shuttle runs three times a day to Carvoeiro Beach. Wi-Fi is also free throughout the resort, but can be spotty.
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