West Algarve has happy memories for me. Not only is it where I spent a heady summer working abroad, it is where I recklessly jumped from lagoons, rode my first segway and mischievously went midnight skinny dipping…
So, to return to Faro brought a cheeky smile as I mulled over my adventures on the short flight. However, I was quite looking forward to this trip, as I had a much more luxurious visit planned.
The Robinson Club, Quinta Da Ria was my home for the week, and promised everything for the discerning, adventure seeker. (Apart from grape crushing, but that’s another tale!!)
If you’re not one to lounge on the beach, and like meeting people, the ‘Robinson Club’ brand should certainly be on your radar. A German chain of resorts offering an all-inclusive package was certainly something I had never experienced before, and was keen to see what all the fuss was about.
The Algarve is an ideal destination for vacationers who are seeking adventure, or are just happy to fly n flop, and the Club in Quinta da Ria is only 45km away from Faro airport, and 16km away from the Spanish border. Tempted as I was, to flop and sup as many cocktails as I could manage, restlessness got the better of me. My first foray was to the beach bar- a mere 15-minute stroll across the golf course. More laid back than the buzzy open air pool, all the drinks are on tap, with added cocktail umbrellas, chill out tunes and hammocks! And if you’ve had one too many shandies, jump on the golf buggy which leaves every half hour to transport you back to buzz of the hotel gardens in no time.
However, you might need more stimulation than a day filled with endless drinking, and there are lots of activities to tempt you. A full programme of water sports, beach volleyball, soccer, tennis, table tennis, darts, aqua fit, step and aerobics is on offer (check the Daily Bulletin for times) and you can join in whatever you fancy on the day. The Club also hires mountain bikes and snorkels, and a Robins Club is available for kids from 3-15, so everyone can socialise!
Golf is a major pull for clients, as the Club is situated in the middle of two 18 hole courses which as you can imagine are super popular over the winter months and are designed by renowned golf course architect Rocky Roquemore. For the non-players (like me) the Club has a team of pro-golfers on hand, offering tricks and techniques and lessons, and there are even classes for kids! In retrospect, perhaps I should have joined one of those! But I embraced my golf taster session with vigour, and after three hours, I am proud to say I managed to put and drive. But I can assure you, I need quite a bit more coaching to get any kind of technique!!
Other facilities at the Club, include two adult pools (one indoor), and a fully equipped gym, beach volleyball court, miniature football pitch and WellFit® Spa. For research purposes, I tried out the Algarve Massage, a full body skin softener using honey, which made me so smooth and fragrant, I felt like I would be bitten to death by mosquitoes that night. (Thankfully I wasn’t). I also embraced the (nude) sauna, which was very liberating at the end of yet another scorching day. I couldn’t quite bring myself to sunbathe naked in the private gardens, but they are available if that floats your boat. The icing on the cake for a gym bunny like me was the ariel yoga sesh- I’ve been meaning to try this for ages in the UK, so joining a beginners’ class at the Club was the taster I needed to get me hooked!
If you do have the inclination to venture out, the nearest town is Tavira, about 20 minutes and a 15-euro taxi drive away; A small, pretty village with plenty of restaurants and bars it doesn’t have too much going on, but it is worth a look. However, there is no real reason to eat out! The food at Robinson is buffet style, and changes on a ten-day rota; There are plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans and those on calorie control, and breakfast is a leisurely three hours, as is lunch and dinner, and the wine is served by the bottle! The all-inclusive bar serves branded spirits like Gordons, Jim Bean, Grants too, so you can only blame drinking one too many, rather than any dubious local spirits, for your hangover!
In spite of all the social activities, Quinta is also perfect if you are looking for a touch of peace and quiet. All rooms have a private balcony or terrace, along with views of the golf course or sea. Set in the nature reserve means the buildings are strategically spread out, and you don’t have to be in the midst of the Club life (should you not want to be!) But if you do have the urge to socialise, there are plenty of day time, and nightly activities, centred around the pool bar, beach bar or theatre for those who like to mingle. Mostly consisting of a performance by the multi-talented, bi-lingual staff- who might be teaching you Tai-chi one day, and frying your eggs for breakfast the next!
Without even realising that I have grown up a bit, I truly appreciated the luxury of the Robinson Club, and can now see the appeal of the Algarve from a totally new perspective! I’m not sure if it was the Club the staff, or the location, but with resorts in Germany, the Maldives, Greece, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Spain, Morocco, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, and Italy, I wouldn’t hesitate to book in again, and would recommend it for a return visit, especially to improve my golf swing!
Flights from Luton to Faro with Ryanair start at £80 during August. 7 nights for 2 adults all inclusive, staying at Robinson Club Quinta Da Ria, start from £ 846 per person during Peak Season.
Robinson Club Quinta Da Ria
Vila Nova De Cacela
Vila Nova de Cacela