Nestled among orange groves and a few olive trees for company is the country house hotel Quinta Da Cebola Vermelha, or Red Onion Farm.
This fabulous century-old farmhouse has been sympathetically restored by the Yssel de Schepper family and is a little gem, way-off the beaten track. Located just outside of Boliqueime in the Algarve, and a short drive from Faro Airport.
Ard and his Sons Bas and Charlie are our hosts during our late-October visit, cooking, fetching and pampering to our every whim.
We arrive late in the day, and Ard takes us to our room. Immediately, we’re told we don’t have to check-out by midday, in fact we can keep the room until we need to leave for Faro Airport around 6pm the next day. There are 9 rooms here and ours is Room 8 which is 100sq feet of Elle Decoration-inspired loveliness. All rooms have under-floor heating and air conditioning and there’s also has a fridge and small hob.
The bathroom has a shower and a toilet.
For families, there’s a small one-bedroom cottage just outside the main house. Beds can be made up in the living area and there are baby cots available. Whilst QDCV isn’t set up for kids, the guests with a toddler on our visit were very aware of that and respectful of others and the swimming pool was a massive distraction.
During our time here, the weather is incredible, the saltwater pool is close-by and like a warm bath.
Who’d want to venture to the tourist-hub of Albufeira when there are fabulous facilities here, the offer of an amazing wine list, snacks and a place to chill out and totally relax.
That said, QDCV is a mere 5 minutes away from the nearest beach, in a car, and the town of Silves with its stunning Moorish castle is about 45 minutes away.
Back at QDVC their covered sun terrace takes its inspiration from the Moors and it’s here you can eat your meals and enjoy the glorious Portuguese sunshine.
What a vista, the sun setting right outside our French doors and with a lovely glass of chilled wine from the choice on sale here, makes it a very pleasant pre-dinner experience indeed.
This hotel is painfully chic without trying too hard, the atmosphere relaxed, and the service uncompromised.
There’s a fire that burns during the winter and great paintings and portraits of the family hang around the main house.
There are no televisions but free wi-fi throughout if you need it.
Everything is excellent, the food is local, simple and cooked incredibly well. Dinner is on offer three times a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, served at 8pm, and a bargain €29.50 for a three course meal. All Ard needs to know is if you have any food intolerance and have your reservation before midday. He tells me the family used to run a restaurant in Amsterdam and it shows. Absolutely nothing disappointed, even the wine was pretty special.
The resident cats love the place as much as the guests, there are a couple of well-trained dogs who know the lovers from the haters.
After the perfect rest, the next morning and breakfast is as good as supper, unlimited cappuccino fresh breads, fruit and fried bacon and eggs, the scene incomplete without the regulation freshly squeezed orange juice.
The scent of Lavender, most of which has died back at home, leads guests to a lovely seating area for an escape from the midday sun or post-dinner drinks.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is just how gorgeous this place is. Ultimately, nothing is too much of a problem here and if you come to the Algarve make QDCV one of the places to rest your head for a night or three.