Teresa Machan checks into the Martinhal Beach Resort, an eco-friendly hotel in a wind-whipped corner of the Algarve.
By Teresa Machan
Overlooking a wild sweep of beach on the south-west tip of the Algarve, within Costa Vicentina national park. The fishing port of Sagres is nearby and Faro airport is a 90-minute drive away.
Recycled materials and a low-rise design help the hotel buildings blend into the rugged landscape. Natural timber, local cane and stone and recycled cork, teamed with warm furnishings, lend Martinhal a “homespun contemporary” feel. Everywhere you look there is snooze-on-me furniture inviting you to do just that.
My timber-clad “beach room” had a decked, bay-facing balcony and the bathroom came with separate shower and oversized tub. Artisan skills are rekindled in the cute cork tables and stools, and cane-woven lamps made from Algarvian reeds.
Not so keen
Although sheltered by Algarve standards, wind-whipped Martinhal Bay won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Some of the newly planted foliage has yet to take hold, but a coastal path to the wild-flower-strewn headland is seconds away.
The food and drink
Lunch on the terrace at the chic As Dunas can slip languorously into cocktail hour. Line-caught fish, fleshy hoops of grilled squid, just-landed oysters and clams, and a peculiar delicacy called perceves, a goose-necked barnacle resembling dinosaur toes, were accompanied by a crisp Portuguese white. O Terraco serves breakfast and gourmet fare, including the chef’s sublime starter of sea urchin with scrambled egg served in a half-urchin shell (at €49/£40 the six-course tasting menu is excellent value for money). The lounge area doubles as a bar. The 112-strong wine selection is exclusively Portuguese.
The Finisterra Spa opens on July 1. Martinhal is a great walking and jogging beach. Also available are surfing, scuba diving, windsurfing, riding, jeep safaris, nature walks, gourmet picnics and (at preferential rates) golf.
The other guests
A sophisticated crowd of British and Continentals. Many locals visit O Terraco.
Access for guests with disabilities
One adapted terrace room. All public areas including As Dunas and the Beach Club are wheelchair-accessible.
The bottom line
Terrace room doubles from £105 with breakfast.
Martinhal Beach Resort and Hotel, Apartado 54, Sagres, 8650-908, Portugal. (00351 282 620 026; http://www.martinhal.com)