A Mediterranean beach and gourmet escape to Algarve with stay at Bela Vista Hotel & Spa  |  Algarve, Portugal | After a week in Portugal exploring the country from North to South, it was the last night of my visit, and the best way to say farewell, was by an overnight beach and gourmet escape to the Algarve region, to indulge over Portuguese Mediterranean lifestyle. Off I went from Cascais to Algarve, a 3-hours drive connecting this two lovely – mind very different beach resorts. As we arrived to the Algarve, we checked in at the grande dame of Algarve, the Bela Vista Hotel & Spa. After my week in Portugal, I am confident to say I have become an expert in the destination and curated a portfolio of amazing local suppliers. You may see all my photos and videos at my Instagram @carlosmeliablog  

A few weeks ago, I joined a week trip by Relais & Chateaux Hotels & Restaurants, to visit all their current properties in Galicia, Spain and all over Portugal. After lovely stays in Santiago de Compostela at A Quinta da Auga Hotel & Spa, crossing to Portugal to Amarante with stay at Casa da Calçada, and The Yeatman Wine Hotel & Spa in Porto, we continued journey onwards to Lisbon and Cascais with a stay at Fortaleza do Guincho, to end over a lovely beach and gourmet escape to the Algarve and stay at Bela Vista Hotel & Spa…  This is my report on the fifth night.

After a very easy drive, midday we arrive to Algarve and to our hotel for the night Bela Vista Hotel & Spa, by the gorgeous Praia da Rocha. The Algarve, is Portugal’s southernmost region, known for its Mediterranean beaches and golf resorts. Praia da Rocha, a bustling resort town, which during the summer, is one of the liveliest towns of the Algarve coastline. A few kilometers away, you can enjoy the world’s most prestigious golf clubs, placed in landscapes of breathtaking view and with an absolutely unique climate.

Bela Vista Hotel & Spa, grande dame of Algarve, is surrounded by a breathtaking scenery, combining refinement with hospitality in a historical space. The mansion which houses the Bela Vista Hotel is dated of 1918 and preserves the romantic aesthetic that inspired it. Bela Vista Hotel is within walking distance of the most prestigious Algarve Golf Clubs; Marina of Portimão, and no more than 10 kilometers from the Algarve International Circuit. We had a very special and private stay, given that during the cold season, both the hotel and the Vista Restaurant remain closed during the week, opening only on the weekends. So literally the hotel and restaurant were open exclusively for us.

Eclectic in style, deployed on the cliffs of Praia da Rocha, some say it was the first hotel in the Algarve. Having hosted distinguished personalities, still has in its guest books, registration of signatures and comments from Sidónio Pais, the King of Italy Umberto di Savoia, Fulgêncio Baptista, among others.

After a quick tour of the property, which consists in the original house, and a new wing, we were escorted to our suites, in time to get get settled and ready for lunch. This was my way to my suite, located at the original house dated of 1918. I was in love at first sight.

This was my Junior Suite with breathtaking views over Praia da Rocha. Junior Suite with sizes between 33 and 50m2. Located in the ‘Palace’ or ‘Blue House’. They overlook the sea or the main avenue of Praia da Rocha. Optional balcony. Mar Vista or Vista Avenue.

Was time for lunch, and this was our setting Al Fresco at One-Michelin star Vista Restaurant, with this stunning views. The weather was just perfection. Vista Restaurant, a place where the refinement and the excellence meet the nature’s tranquility.  A place with an inspiring setting, where the serenity should be experienced in all its splendor. We enjoyed an amazing lunch, where the highlights were the traditional ” Cataplana ” and of course the local Portuguese wines. Cataplana is a Portuguese seafood dish originating in the southern region of Portugal in Algarve, and it is about as traditional a Portuguese dish as you can get. A dish of Moorish influence which uses a clam shaped copper pan to cook clams, or a mix of fish and seafood, with spicy sausage, tomatoes, wine, garlic and herbs.

After our lunch, I took an hour to enjoy a cup of tea and take in the beauty before my eyes, at the terraces of Bela Vista Hotel & Spa. I am sure you would have done the same.

Done with my tea, way time to roll on to the Pool area and back to the cocktails. It wasn’t Summer time during my visit, so it was a bit chilly though. Now during the warm season, if you’d rather a stroll along the beach or a swim in the ocean, the Bela Vista Hotel has a private and direct beach access, so that you can enjoy your summer in a full commodity mode. The hotel also offers a full Spa by L’Occitane.

After a very relaxing day, as the sun was setting over the Algarve and Praia da Rocha, I decided to take a long walk by the beach onwards to the Marina de Portimão, while enjoying the breathtaking sunset.

Off I went, down the cliff and right into Praia da Rocha and along the beach board walk to Marina de Portimão and back, just in time for cocktails time and a very special private dinner, hosted by Michelin acclaimed Chef João Oliveira, at Vista Restaurant.

The evening of course began over my traditional Filthy Vodka Martini at the Bar of Bela Vista Hotel. Such an experience to have this private stay and experience at Bela Vista Hotel & Spa, and Michelin star restaurant and staff all to our selves. Chapeau and THANK YOU to Relais & Chateaux for this honor.

This was our last dinning experience in Portugal, and it was indeed a memorable one. And yes… we did use all this glasses over amazing local Portuguese wines and Portos. As mentioned above, the restaurant was opened exclusively for us. One Michelin star Vista Restaurant, offered us , both for lunch and dinner, an outstanding gourmet experience. The inspirations of their cuisine are from the North of the country along with Mediterranean cuisine, seeking above all to respect all the original flavors of each ingredient as well as a high degree of freshness.

Our five steps menu led by Chef João Oliveira – who got through the most award-winning restaurants, including one we tried over our week exploration of Portugal, Largo do Paço Restaurant, the Yeatman, showed a kitchen that is creative and sophisticated. The menu was inspired in a perfect combination of the national cuisine and the Mediterranean, respecting the original flavors and the freshness of the ingredients.

Early morning breakfast with a view at the terraces of Vista Restaurant at the Bela Vista Hotel & Spa. Such a lovely way to conclude my week experience of Portugal. Time to head back to Lisbon and take my flight onwards to Barcelona on my way back home to New York. You may see all my photos and videos at my Instagram @carlosmeliablog . Hope you have enjoyed my report and blog posts on Portugal. After my week in Portugal, I am confident to say I have become an expert in the destination and curated a portfolio of amazing local suppliers. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com

(*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email carlos@carlosmelia.com or phone # 917.754.5515. Bespoke Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of VIRTUOSO, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network. www.carlosmelia.com

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