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Monte do Casal
Monte do Casal
Faro, Portugal receives
4 Stars and Stripes
4 Stars & Stripes
Hotel & Service

The Ultimate Award:
Seven Stars and Stripes™
The landing went smoothly in Faro, Portugal an international airport in the capitol of the famous Algarve region. With every thousand feet lower in altitude, we were able to see long stretches of white sandy beach beckoning, tempting our senses like an oasis shimmering on the horizon. The weather was perfect, a radiant blue sky celebrating our winter-white skin with temperatures above 70 degrees in March, assaulting our eager, sun-starved faces. Friendly people welcomed us, most fluent in English. The city and surrounding area is littered with Moorish, Carthaginian, Phoenician and Roman ruins many built earlier then 1535 AD. Particularly attractive and to be discovered in the older parts of the city is the part that is still surrounded by the Roman walls. The Moors who occupied the town in the 8th Century originally called it Ossónoba and developed it into a trading port until 1249 when they were defeated by the forces of Dom Afonso III. Close to Faro is the small historic 13th century village of Estói with its notable Roman ruins of Milreu. Interestingly enough there is a striking French style palace which makes Estoi the most significant manifestation of Romanticism in the Algarve. The cobble stoned charming market place there turns into a large bazaar every 2nd Sunday. There one may witness tourists and locals alike bartering for everything from traditional cataplana copper pans to their addictive local wines. The square is surrounded by orange trees, a cathedral and a museum. Here amongst precious tropical gardens is the rustic 200-year-old small hotel castle, Monte do Casal.
Owner Bill Hawkins is a man used to hands-on management; 'he'll roll up his sleeves and clean the pool' kind of patriarch of his picture-perfect postcard estate. It is clear that for him it is as if he is having company all the time with many guests returning year after year. Many guest from Great Britain treasure this hidden Mediterranean pearl; Bill had been trained at London's Savoy and Claridges. Hawkin's cuisine is Michelin approved. Most of the dramatic interior was designed and collected by the owner Bill Hawkins, and some dating back a couple of centuries. And sure enough he is now in process of building a helicopter landing place, Bill is famous for putting together the most interesting excursions for his guests. Bill Hawkins & Thorsten Piosczyk
Bill Hawkins & Thorsten Piosczyk
Monte do Casal is an 18th century, casually elegant and un-pretentious country estate with great attention to detail that offers a lot of privacy. A place that time has forgotten, but equipped with twenty-century modern amenities and a cuisine "to die for". Check -inn was like coming home; we were not only expected but also welcomed like old friends. As we entered the park-like resort setting, we stepped onto casually manicured lawns, surrounded by sun-drenched porches, sparkling pools and fountains. The pleasant scent of exotic eucalyptus, oleander and honeysuckle transferred us into a relaxed, aroma-therapeutic state of mind. For nature lovers, there is also the Ria Formosa Natural Park, which has an abundance of rare species of birds, of which many migratory varieties often appear overhead.
Monte do Casal Our comfortable accommodations were recently refurbished with warm mahogany and fine marble. Simone adored the effects of ‘her’ rain-forest shower head … this gave me extra time I could spend at the pool, where I had a drink with a couple of executives from New York (the castle definitely has conference capability, though these folks were there on leisure). Most rooms allow incomparable views over the sea and / or overlooking the lit pool, surrounded by palm trees and other exotic plants like bougainvillea.
This is the kind of place that I would like to have all to myself, I thought. When I asked Bill Hawkins about that, he said “Why not?” It seems Monte do Casal is available for private, exclusive bookings, which means that it can become your own little “Shangri-la.”
"Does thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that's the stuff life is made of."
- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Simone insisted that it was impossible for her to resist a late evening stroll through the maze-like sub tropical gardens, which ended-up with an impromptu and refreshing immersion in one of the luxury whirlpools for a thorough hydro-massage. While relaxing in the pool, the sound of splashing water brought my attention in the direction of two waterfalls with rock pools, creatively lit in the darkness revealing a small lake well stocked with Japanese Koi fish. For those who desire a little gentle sport relaxation there is croquet and a golf putting green. The best was still to come, a romantic dinner with Simone …
by Simone Buehrmann & Thorsten Piosczyk

Editor-in-Chief: John Lomitola

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Although the above information was accurate at the time of publication, it can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all pertinent information with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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