Casa Mae: Malibu meets Portugal. This place oozes with California cool vibes. But the design is all local --the French hotelier partnered with hip Portuguese artisans to create custom furniture, pinterest-worthy fabrics, and iconic jungalow plants peppered throughout. A dreamy palette of white with millennial pink, cornflower blue, and saffron yellow offers décor inspo from day to night. The drinks and food also reference surfer chic, with inventive cocktails and pretty plating. The hotel was built on Lagos’ old orchard; the vegetable garden is still going strong and supplies the chef with fresh, organic goodies. This place is perfectly located near downtown Lagos yet right inside the medieval city walls. It’s a little oasis to serve as your home-base to explore the best of Algarve’s beaches, with rocky formations and small coves.
Casa Modesta: A sleek, whitewashed retreat near the Ria Formosa Park in Olhao. This is a fun place to book with friends and live la vida villa.
Casa Luum: Brand new, an architect’s dream. Bright white, sharp lines, minimal design, maximum impact. Pops of color and geometry play for a highly photogenic space. Stay here and daydream of living in a house like this one day.
Vila Monte Farmhouse: conveniently located near Faro, where the region’s main airport is located, this is a large property spread over lush, landscaped grounds. The hotel rooms vary by building, with several different styles of rooms. This hotel is very appropriate for families, with a dedicated pool, children’s activities, attentive staff. Their concierge has an excellent menu of excursions and set calendar of events. The nightly outdoor cinema is fun with popcorn and all – just remember mosquito repellent!
Orta at Casa Mae - Lagos: garden-fresh, California and Australia-inspired dishes. They occassionaly hold pop-ups with other chefs (like Carbon Paris), and bring in live music (bohemian bossa nova) to fire up the Churrascaria grill in the patio.
Mar D’Astorias - Lagos: this concept store also has a little mezzanine tavern great for lunch or snacks, and a rooftop for pre-dinner drinks.
Calhou – Lagos: teeny tiny restaurant, this feels more like a little chalet. Home cooking and great fish, located in a residential area. This is a fun place for dinner when you want to dine like a local.
Coffee & Waves – Lagos: a surfer café serving up hip travelers, good breakfast or lunch option
A Terra at Vila Monte – Faro: charcuterie and cheese plates to start, followed by grilled meats and fish - the name of the restaurant derives from the earth so think simple, hearty seasonal cuisine. But save room for the dessert: their signature chocolate mousse is divine!
Casa Tella – Tavira: inventive takes on local cuisine, in a charming square. Casa Tella is also a boutique hotel. One of the smarter places to eat in Tavira.
Dgusta – Tavira: along the riverfront, a casual tapas place
Brisas do Rio – Tavira: local fish in a casual, low-key setting. On a nice day dine up on the rooftop terrace, or take cover down in the cozy dining room.
Lagos: busy enough to have a scene, but small enough to feel like you're in a vacation village.
Tavira: beautifully preserved Algarve town, fairly unspoilt by tourism in the way many of the other seaside towns have along this coast. It’s particularly pretty with a river running through it, lovely squares and outdoor café scenes all around.
Olhao Farmer’s and Fish Market: one of the most bustling markets in the region, come by on Saturday morning to see neighboring villagers sell their harvest alongside the fishermen’s bounty.
Ilha Culatra: rent a boat with Salt & Sea docking at Olhao port; you can choose the hop on/hop off option to visit a few of the islands and deserted beaches, or rent their pristine catamaran for a private tour of the isles. The staff is top notch and gets you access to unique, authentic spots in Ria Formosa Park area.