The British have long had an affection for the Algarve, particularly the southern coast around Albufeira and Vilamoura. The long sandy beaches sit at the foot of rugged cliffs, and bathing is safe for all the family. The Pine Cliffs Resort opened in 1992 and combines hotel accommodation, luxury suites and apartments on a 72-hectare site, tastefully linked by cobbled pathways among green lawns surrounded by pines.
It’s a franchise of Marriott International under The Luxury Collection brand, and, as you’d expect, the rooms are spacious, furnished to a high standard, with bed linen to die for. It has its own iconic nine-hole clifftop golf course, floodlit tennis courts and eight swimming pools. The sea is always close, and a panoramic lift whisks you down to the beach where you can dine at the Maré Restaurant while watching the bathers. There’s also a choice of 11 other restaurants and bars.
Families, couples and keen golfers who come to enjoy the year-round sunshine.
The Pine Cliffs Hotel has 217 spacious rooms and suites in five categories with views across either the ocean or the gardens from the privacy of a balcony or terrace. As well as the hotel there’s also accommodation in luxury apartments including the Ocean Suites, Pines Cliffs Residence and Pine Cliffs Gardens.
We stayed in in a Deluxe Room Resort View with a large open air terrace. Terracotta tiled floors and fresh white walls enhanced the sense of space. An electric kettle, complimentary bottles of water and chocolates on the pillow at turndown added to the sense of luxury.
The super large bed, with its Portuguese-tiled headboard, was extremely comfortable, and all light switches are built into the bedside tables, so no last-minute panic late at night. Also, a motion sensor activates the floor light on your way to the bathroom. Here, there’s a deep bathtub and walk-in rain shower, plus a wash basin with a large illuminated mirror.
Food & Drink
Diverse cuisine is on offer at Pine Cliffs Resort’s ten restaurants ranging from seafood to speciality steaks and including Japanese cuisine.
Breakfast is served in Jardim Colonial, a classically decorated spacious restaurant that opens to an outside terrace. The Piri Piri Steakhouse offers a wide selection of prime meat from all over the world, grilled to perfection and paired with the best Portuguese wines. Located in the heart of the resort, Corda Café provides a more casual experience and serves international dishes.
Fish is definitely on the menu at O Pescador in its elegant setting overlooking the cliffs and Maré, right down by the beach. The emphasis is on fresh food from the sea, particularly the local catch. Yakuza by Olivier Algarve is one of the finest Japanese Restaurants in the Algarve but is only open seasonably.
MIMO Algarve offers a variety of gastronomic experiences. During the day, it works as an espresso bar, gourmet shop and cooking school. I particularly enjoyed learning how to make Cataplana, an Algarve seafood stew and then sitting down to eat it with my teachers. In the late afternoon, there are tastings of delicious tapas and wine on the outside terrace. Every Saturday, a special menu with wine pairing is offered at the Chef’s Table.
Located in the hotel lobby, Portulano is a great place to try local drinks such as Amarguinha, a liqueur made from sour almonds, or a glass of the renowned Port wines. For that late afternoon cocktail, try the Mirador Champagne Bar, a terrace perched at the edge of the cliffs where you can enjoy the sun going down over the ocean.
There are seven outdoor pools dotted around the gardens: the main pool, which has a swim-up bar, next to the children’s pool; a tucked-away, peaceful infinity pool at the Terraces; one at the Residences, another by the Ocean Suites, and one by the golf course. There is also a heated indoor pool at the health club.
Various activities to suit all age ranges are available to guests, including competitive tennis or padel at the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy, with its floodlit courts. For the youngest, there is the Porto Pirata Kids Club, while up-to-teens are catered for at the Junior Club.
The immaculate Pine Cliffs Golf Course sits 200 feet above the golden sands, and blue water of the Atlantic Ocean and its 9 holes extend across 168 acres. The Golf Academy and Pro Shop offer everything the hobby golfer or tournament player might need, including a landscaped driving range and a large putting green.
There are two health clubs, one inside the Pine Cliffs Hotel, and the other at Pine Cliffs Residences. Both are equipped with the latest Technogym equipment, including treadmills and elliptical machines. Water aerobics and personal trainer are available, and both have a sauna and steam room.
Serenity Spa The Art of Well Being has been awarded “Europe’s Best Wellness Spa”. A luxurious 1,100m2 state-of-the-art facility features 13 treatment rooms, a comprehensive Serenity Thermal Oasis, and the signature Serenity Aurum Suite. The spa also offers authentic signature treatments that draw inspiration from the indigenous cultures, healing traditions and ingredients of the Algarve.
Whether for meetings or lifetime celebrations, 13 function rooms can be configured for up to 700 guests. There are also many flexible outdoor settings for bespoke functions and events, such as the cliff-top Sunset Deck, the Tabu Garden Lounge and extensive garden areas.
Prices for a night at Pine Cliffs start from £189.00 (€216.00) based on two adults sharing a deluxe room resort view, including breakfast.
Ten minutes away is Albufeira, one of the most renowned fishing and maritime ports in Portugal, with its beaches some of the best in Europe. 30 minutes away is Faro, the capital of the Algarve with its stunning market and boat trips to the offshore islands.
Pine Cliffs Resort ticks every box to make your holiday that little bit special. The seafood is outstanding, with an emphasis on local products, and they’ll even teach you how to cook. Unforgettable are the glorious sunsets over the orange cliffs, best enjoyed with a glass of champagne.
Pine Cliffs, a Luxury Collection Resort
FLY: EasyJet flies direct from Gatwick to Faro from £65.00 return.
MORE INFO: Algarve Tourism has information about the region.