Private villas have plunge pools and rooftop terraces
Outdoor pool and kids' pool, as well as an indoor pool and hot tub
Spa with a sauna and Turkish bath
Restaurant and bar with an outdoor terrace
Jogging trail, tennis courts, multi-use court, and nine-hole putting green
Playground, kids' club, and game room
Free parking and area shuttle
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Not on the beach or within walking distance of dining and attractions
Housekeeping only on a weekly basis
Room decor is modern, but plain
Tiny fitness room
The three-and-a-half-pearl Vale da Lapa Resort & SPA has the benefit of wide open landscaping on the edge of Carvoeiro, with pleasant views of the gardens and mountains in the distance. It's too far from attractions in Carvoeiro to walk to anything, but the resort does have plenty to do on-site, including a nine-hole putting green, a full-service spa, and a kids' club. The 85 suites and Villas are modern and sharp, and include full kitchens, making them ideal for those looking for an upscale but affordable stay. All-inclusive rates are available, too. Travelers may want to also consider the nearby Monte Santo Resort, which is a little pricier but has more impressive amenities. Rooms there are a bit jazzier, though have some dated elements.
Polished but relaxed family-friendly resort with a secluded vibe
Set in a sleepy residential area, with mostly vacant lots as neighbors, the resort has a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Like many of the off-beach resorts in the area, its grounds are brimming with lush gardens watered by streams that meander between two-story buildings with terra-cotta rooftops. It feels very much like a residential community of condos, a nice departure from the busier resorts along the coast and closer to town. Red paved footpaths stretch across the property, connecting the Villas with noticeably older public spaces -- we did spot some broken tiles and faded patches of walls. Overall, interiors are modern and simple, continuing the unpretentious ambience. It's popular mostly with families and older couples along with some golfing groups due to the highly acclaimed courses nearby.
Outside Carvoeiro's town center in a quiet residential neighborhood
Located on the edge of Carvoeiro in a residential area, the resort is too far away to walk to most of the dining and attractions in Carvoeiro. It's a popular spot for golf lovers, just a four-minute drive to the Gramacho Golf Course or a seven-minute drive to Vale Da Pinta Golf Course. Several beaches are also within a seven-minute drive of the hotel, including Praia da Cama da Vaca, Praia do Vale da Lapa, and -- of course -- Praia de Carvoeiro at the end of the town's main drag. Expect a 45-minute drive to Faro Airport.
Large apartment-style suites and Villas with private balconies and full kitchens
All of the resort's 85 suites and Villas are situated in two-story buildings that are connected by footpaths across the garden grounds. Decor is contemporary and spartan, consisting of a neutral palette accented with pink or purple throw rugs, couches, and lampshades. Large living rooms have sofa beds and a mix of light- and dark-wood furnishings, along with flat-screen TVs. Sliding glass doors lead out to furnished patios. The kitchens include refrigerators, coffeemakers, microwaves, ovens, and stovetops. There are even washer/dryers inside cabinet doors beside the dishwashers. Each unit has an upstairs bedroom and a furnished balcony (above the patio), and the larger Family Suites add second bedrooms. Bathrooms have bidets, walk-in showers, and separate soaking tubs with handheld showerheads. The three-bedroom Villas are in their own detached two-story buildings with private yards and plunge pools. They also add second bathrooms and large rooftop terraces. Unfortunately, housekeeping is only offered weekly.
Indoor and outdoor pools, full spa, putting green, kids' club, restaurant and bar with outdoor terrace
Though the resort touts its spa, it's not as big or impressive as might be expected of a hotel that claims luxury status. The treatment rooms are more functional than posh, but there's a sauna and a Turkish bath, as well as a connected indoor pool and hot tub in a glass atrium (that opens to the outside). The attached fitness center is tiny, with just three pieces of equipment. Active guests would be better off making use of the jogging trail or the pair of tennis courts. There's also a multi-use AstroTurf court with soccer nets and basketball hoops.
For more leisurely pursuits, there's a nine-hole putting green. The outdoor pool is on the small side, but ringed by a wide sundeck with plenty of lounge chairs. A kids' pool has its own section with a smaller sundeck area. There's also a kids' club and an outdoor playground. A small game room has a pool table and foosball along with an Internet corner with a single computer.
For dining, the Club House Lapa Patio Restaurant and bar has a simple dining room and a large outdoor terrace under a reed awning. It serves regional cuisine, with all-inclusive rates available. There's also a small poolside bar with cocktails and ice cream. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, and there's also free parking and a free shuttle service into town.
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