Short stay: Magnolia Hotel, Quinta do Lago, The Algarve, Portugal

Step back into 1950s Miami glamour at the Magnolia Hotel. Where it is easy to imagine Audrey Hepburn and Rock Hudson skipping through the neon time-warp of pastel pinks and turquoise hues.

Tall palms vie with the Magnolia’s neon sign of an elegant swim-capped diver. Miami comes to the Algarve on the fringe of Quinta do Lago. The Magnolia Hotel recreates the informal ambience of the great American motel but with the first class service associated with Quinta do Lago. Hire a car, to make the most of Quinta’s extensive sports and leisure facilities, then park-up right in front of your room.

Alternatively, there is a veritable pelaton of Dutch bikes available to get you around Quinta do Lago’s extensive 2,000 hectares and to head for the beach.

The welcome

“And what’s your shoe size please?” is a question guests are rarely asked at check-in. Vibrant red flip-flops are issued.

It is an invitation to throw off your everyday shoes and head for the beach, pool and relaxation.

The room

Every room has a veranda with chairs and table – either warmed by sunrise or sunset. This is the sun-kissed Algarve.

The air-con breezing across the white linens of a wide double bed is almost a necessity. A small fridge is essential for much of the year. A wide-screen TV caters for British visitors with BBC and ITV amongst the many channels.

As well as the 74 rooms there are three suites. In addition, seven elegant cottages can sleep up to four.

The bathroom

Exceptionally well-designed, with shower but no bath, there is space for toiletries and drying.


Breakfast at the restaurant mixes both buffet and cooked to order. It satisfies the fruit-muesli-yogurt healthy contingent as well as those stoking up on a cooked breakfast and pastries before the day’s physical exertions. Lunch and dinner menus offer local specialities: prawns, sea bass, Portuguese steak and a fish cataplana which is a selection of locally caught fish and shellfish.

Burgers, tacos and salads are also available. Across Quinto do Lago, restaurants cater for all tastes. The Shack is ideal for a lagoon-side lunch, Danos is the ultimate sports bar, Bovino is a classic steak house whilst Umami specialises in sophisticated Asian cuisine. This is just the beginning of Quinta do Lago’s extensive catalogue of restaurants …

Although the Magnolia Hotel is on the doorstep of Quinta do Lago’s world-class sports facilities, including The Campus, there is plenty onsite at the Magnolia for active guests.

A swimming pool, heated to around 29 centigrade, is a focal point. Waiting staff are on hand to take drinks and snacks orders. Magnolia’s guests are an energetic crowd and make frequent use of a well-equipped gym and sauna. Pull a muscle on Magnolia’s fast-paced tennis court and you can arrange a massage. Cocktails under the stars, on movie nights, suggests that you have slipped back to 1950s California or Florida.


Quinta do Lago is 20 minutes from both Faro airport and Faro’s railway station. Quinta do Lago has everything for the perfect holiday. Surrounded by the Formosa National Park, this is an idyllic location leading onto mile after mile of soft sand beach.

Few guests find a reason to leave this contemporary garden of Eden during their stay. Though the cyclists often head out onto the Algarve’s roads.

For endurance cycling aficionados, The Campus offers testing treks through Eastern Portugal and another that takes in the three highest points of The Algarve.

Other nice touches

As the Magnolia’s guests are early risers for a golf tee-off time or a bike ride before the heat of the day, they can pick-up “breakfast in a box”. Hot and cold drinks are also available from the 24 hour reception desk.