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An Algarvean gem

PUBLISHED: 14:40 05 June 2014

EXG JUN 14

EXG JUN 14

Archant

John Carter, long-time presenter of ITV’s Wish You Were Here, shares the many delights of Quinta Bonita, one of his favourite hotels in the glorious Algarve

The Algarve in southern Portugal is a place I first visited when there was no airport, no motorway and very few decent roads. When beaches were used for drying fishing nets and people came to their doors at the unaccustomed sound and sight of a car.

I’ve seen that region grow and prosper, adapt to a seismic change of lifestyle and welcome visitors to its beach resorts and the Monchique Mountains which lie beyond them.

I have enjoyed some splendid family holidays, usually in rented apartments or villas, and after all that, I thought the Algarve would hold no more surprises after more than 50 years. I was wrong. I had not experienced Quinta Bonita. ‘Quinta’ is the Portuguese for farm, though today the word applies to the farmhouse which has been converted into a smart property for rent or sale.

Quinta Bonita was converted in 1972 and purchased by the Kortekaas family nine years later. It was used by them for several years until they had to decide whether to rent it, sell it or find some other use for it. Fortunately they did find that third way and converted the place into a small hotel — the kind the travel trade calls boutique.

Run by Chantelle Kortekaas and her partner, Fraser, it is located in its own extensive grounds a little distance above the main road near the resort of Praia da Luz. It has eight suites, each furnished in a beautifully distinctive style with en suite bathrooms and such amenities as hair dryers, free wifi, coffee and tea making facilities, a mini bar, a television and a DVD player.

Chantelle is an excellent hostess while Fraser is a magnificent chef. It follows that guests are soon relaxing into a ‘home away from home’ mood and enjoying sumptuous breakfasts.

The hotel is a perfect base for touring the region by hire-car with fascinating sites like Lagos, Silves, Monchique and Sagres (famed for Henry the Navigator) within easy striking distance. Noticing such an accomplished chef when I stayed there shortly after the hotel opened, I suggested he might occasionally provide an evening meal. Others were of the same opinion and this is now done, once a week. Guests can also order antipasto if they choose to relax on their terrace or balcony after a day’s sightseeing.

The hotel serves light lunches and provides a picnic meal for any guests who prefer to eat al fresco during their sightseeing trips.

Having extended their already sizeable terrace, Chantelle and Fraser are now able to cater for non-residents, with groups of up to 60 gathering for celebrations — including weddings.

Quinta Bonita certainly lives up to its name ‘beautiful farm’ with its rustic but sophisticated charm complemented by superb, convivial hosts.

Rates start from £85 per room including breakfast and afternoon tea with cake daily.

Visit www.boutiquehotelalgarve.com for further information or call +35128 2762135

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