W Algarve breathes new life into Portugal’s gold coast

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The last time I visited the Algarve in Portugal was in 2001. I was studying abroad in Spain and during the spring break of the program 12 of us got into three rental cars and moved their caravan across the border to enjoy the sun along the south coast of the country.

We stayed in a bare hotel in Lagos that hadn’t been touched since the heyday of the 1950s. The rooms were basic, the amenities, nil, but what it did have was access to one of the most beautiful beaches I’d ever seen, filled with caves and grottoes, turquoise waters and soft sand.

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Now, with the recent opening of W Algarve, this tranquil beachfront region is planting itself on the world map, luring a new roster of luxury travelers seeking modern accommodations, resort offerings and serious vibes.

Located on one of Portugal’s most coveted coasts, two and a half hours south of Lisbon, W Algarve offers a playful twist on the traditional resort experience with a sense of irreverence and quirkiness layered on top of the classic indulgences and amenities we flock to have come to expect from the W brand. Think live DJs by the pool, sound baths along the beach and Ibiza-style dance parties that take place in the evenings in the hotel bar.

“The arrival of W Hotels in the Algarve with our latest W Escape promises to inject new energy into the region.” said Candice D’Cruz, vice president of luxury brands Europe, Middle East and Africa at Marriott International. “W Algarve will intertwine the region’s striking natural landscape and rich Portuguese history with the W brand’s signature style, inclusive programming and social scene.”

Located above the beach in the town of Albufiera, W Algarve features 134 hotel rooms and suites and 83 residences, complete with azure views and spacious balconies.​ The rooms show the Algarve through the W lens, where beach-like hues and asymmetrical shapes mimic the nearby cliffs set against a series of tile work that pays tribute to the destination’s Moorish heritage.

The W’s 10 WOW suites showcase next-level luxury, each featuring two floors of resort living. Downstairs, the living areas feature state-of-the-art BOSE entertainment systems that allow guests to set the scene of their choice. Upstairs, guests can soak up the Algarve sun on the rooftop terrace, with dazzling coastal views and private plunge pools available in select suites.

The Extreme WOW Suite, the W brand’s modern interpretation of a traditional presidential suite, houses a master bedroom inspired by the beautiful Benagili Cave and picturesque fishing villages in the Algarve. Stairs lead to a panoramic roof terrace where gardens surround an elevated lounge with a DJ booth, dining area and bar.

Downstairs, a sweeping infinity pool overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, while the gastronomic offerings include a poolside bar serving Mediterranean-inspired lunch dishes, as well as Market Kitchen, serving relaxed interpretations of international and regional dishes fresh from the farm and the ocean. On top of the hotel is Paper Moon, the sister of the famous Milanese restaurant that serves simple Italian dishes such as fish, pasta and pizza.

W Algarve is proud of its cocktail program. In the lobby lounge, guests can select drinks from a biblical tome filled with brews sourced from local distilleries. For champagne with a view, Sea Sky is located on the roof of the hotel overlooking the bay of Armação de Pera. It’s the perfect setting to sip before or after dinner and mingle with DJ-studded beats.

In keeping with W brand’s ethos from detox to re-tox, The Away Spa features six treatment rooms, including a couples room, hair salon, manicure bar, facials with LED masks and express booths for pre-dinner touch-ups. The spa also offers a wet room with sauna, steam room and jacuzzi in case you need to sweat out the champagne from the night before. The FIT program in the hotel gym offers indoor and outdoor workout space, equipped with TechnoGym equipment and an Olympic Power Rack for maximum workout options with a view.

The W Algarve is W’s newest property that embodies the brand’s philosophy of play, party and wellness in all its many forms. Hopefully I’ll be back sooner this time.

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