The lowdown This five-star luxury resort may be just an hour and a half away from Faro, the Algarve’s principal city, but it may as well be another world away from its bustling bars and teeming beaches. Nestled in 54 acres of lush subtropical gardens and overlooking the sparkling Atlantic Ocean, this really is paradise on earth. Those of you with children will love how the hotel caters for them and those of you who prefer your holidays without the screaming and splashing will be pleasantly surprised by how easily you can sneak away to tranquillity on the private beach, tennis courts, golf course, spa or adult-only Michelin-starred restaurant.

The rooms Picture your perfect holiday home – all rattan furniture and sprawling marble bathrooms – and you’ll get an idea of the haven that awaits. Suites overlooking the manicured gardens or pools are spacious and luxurious while the private villas, each with its own mini pool, are positively sprawling and decadent.

Eating and drinking You’re spoiled for choice with seven restaurants and five bars on or near the grounds. Our two faves are the Portuguese Adega (try the chargrilled langoustines and the clams in white wine sauce) and the delectable Michelin-star gourmet restaurant, Ocean, headed up by Austrian executive chef Hans Neuner, named Portugal’s Chef of the Year 2009. Wine lovers will delight in the spectacular wine cellar located 26 feet under ground, boasting an impressive 11,000 bottles and special tasting courses.

What to do Where to start? On site you can - and should - take full advantage of the golf course, tennis courts and spa (we highly recommend the 90-minute Thai massage), as well as the four swimming pools (two for the grown-ups, two for the kiddies). If you’re in the mood for a bit of culture, check out the medieval fortresses of Silves and Sagres, the School of Navigation built by Prince Henry the Navigator, where Columbus was educated. It’s the stuff legends are made of.

The details Vila Vita Parc, Rua Anneliese Pohl, Alporchinhos, P-8400 - 450 Porches. Tel: + 351 / 282 / 31 01 00. Visit for more details.

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By Maria Milano