Pros

  • Luxury villa-style palazzo set in manicured gardens
  • Peaceful hilltop setting overlooking a sandy beach
  • Michelin-rated restaurant open for lunch and dinner
  • Excellent wine cellar plus a chef's table for prix-fixe meals
  • Room amenities include iPod docks and premium toiletries
  • Gorgeous classic-modern suites with chic furniture and artsy details
  • Excellent breakfast with cooked-to-order eggs included in rate
  • Deluxe spa with sauna, steam room, and hot tub
  • Two outdoor pools (one heated), tennis courts, and shops on-site
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
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Cons

  • Beds a little firm for some
  • Some entry-level rooms are compact
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Bottom Line

The 20-room Vila Joya is a luxury boutique hotel that begs for superlatives. The palatial hilltop villa overlooks a sandy Atlantic Ocean beach, creating a peaceful, refined setting west of Albufeira, with a few restaurants within walking distance. Elegant rooms and suites blend classic and modern details, and all but one feature sea views. The big bathrooms (some with soaking tubs) and large furnished terraces or balconies are impressive as well. Even though there are two outdoor pools, a premium spa, tennis courts, and on-site shops, it's the Michelin-star dining that really steals the show. For those seeking high-end style at slightly less eye-watering prices, EPIC SANA Algarve Hotel is a contemporary pick on the other side of Albufeira, though it's far less intimate and lacks the excellent dining.

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Oyster Hotel Review

Vila Joya – Home, Restaurant & Spa

Scene

Chic, luxury boutique hotel set in an elegant villa with manicured gardens

This large villa-style palazzo is approached via a tree-lined private driveway, with the building looking out over the beautiful manicured gardens and pool area towards the ocean and the beach below. Stepping inside this luxury hotel, a small reception area with a domed, exposed-brick ceiling leads through to a large, double-height lobby area with terra-cotta tiled floor and a sweeping white staircase. Contemporary furnishings combine with carefully chosen objects d'art -- including antique bird cages, rustic lanterns, and carved wooden screens -- to create a simple yet sophisticated atmosphere with plenty of personality.

Outside, cobbled pathways lead through well-tended lawns with palms and cypress trees; attractive flower beds add color. Sun loungers are strategically placed amongst the trees on the grass and steps that lead down to the beach, which although technically public has a very private feel thanks to the rocky outcrops at either end, making access from anywhere other than the hotel difficult. This elegant, refined, and peaceful retreat tends to attract well-heeled senior travelers, keen golfers, and couples on romantic breaks (there are no child-friendly facilities here).

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Location

Peaceful hilltop setting overlooking the gorgeous Algarve coastline

This hotel is perched on a hill in a quiet and mainly residential neighborhood overlooking Praia da Gale beach on the Algarve coast. While the beach is public, rocky outcrops at either end give it a private feel. There are a few beachfront restaurants within a five-minute walk, though Albufeira -- with its many shops, restaurants, and busy nightlife -- is 10 to 15 minutes away by car. There are many golf courses in easy reach, with the closest being Salgados Golf Course which is a five-minute drive away. Of course, the region is famous for its many beaches and it may be worth exploring some nearby, including Praia Sao Rafael (a 10-minute drive) and Praia Olhos de Agua (a 25-minute drive). The nearest airport is Faro International, around 30 minutes away by car. 

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Rooms

Elegant rooms and suites with garden-access terraces or sea-view balconies

This luxury property has 12 rooms and eight suites, all of which are individually decorated in a fresh and elegant blend of traditional and contemporary styles. Expect to see handsome solid wood furniture in dark tones and with clean lines plus creamy white walls. Tastefully deployed details really set this hotel apart and give everything a classic, timeless look -- the carved wooden headboard in the Deluxe Royal Suite that we visited was particularly eye catching. Other choices -- like the sleek four-poster bed in the Junior Suite -- are just sexy enough to make help this resort's style live up to its luxury reputation. The marble flooring in the suites and thoughtful extras fresh-cut flowers don't hurt, either.

Standard amenities include free Wi-Fi, Bose iPod docks, and flat-screen TVs with cable channels and DVD players. It's worth noting that while suites are huge, some of the entry-level rooms are compact, and the Double Room has only 18 square meters of space (194 square feet). Bathrooms are delightful as well. Some feature hand-painted, vibrant tile-work and fittings, while bathrooms in suites are spacious and include walk-in showers and Molton Brown products -- many also have soaking tubs. The combination of dark marble and granite in suite bathrooms looks elegant and refined.

Some of the ground floor rooms and suites have terraces with direct access to the gardens, while most of those on higher floors have large, furnished balconies with sea views (the only exception being the Coachman's Room). The Master Royal Suite features a private sea-view pool, while other suites add luxurious touches such as big whirlpool tubs and working fireplaces. Reports suggest beds are generally on the firm side. 

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Features

Michelin-rated dining, beach, outdoor pools, deluxe spa with, and tennis courts

Dining is certainly a highlight at the Vila Joya, starting with an excellent breakfast service (included in the rate) which features plenty of local products and cooked-to-order eggs served on a lovely lawned terrace overlooking the sea. It's lunch and dinner, however, where the Michelin-rated restaurant really shines. In fact, the restaurant is so famous that many people only know of Vila Joya for its dining, and visitors come from all around for meals here. The chef crafts Northern European-influenced dishes from local products in ways that fuse varied regional flavors, and the restaurant has an extensive wine cellar as well. A prix-fixe chef's table can also be reserved. Additionally, there's an indoor bar and a pool bar for drinks.  

Of course, the hotel's prime spot right on the beach is a major plus. There aren't any beach services, but the white sand feels private enough given the rocky outcroppings at either end. Leisure facilities are also good, with two outdoor swimming pools (one heated) surrounded by lounge chairs and daybeds; neither ever feels busy. A deluxe spa provides a sauna, steam bath, and outdoor hot tub, as well as massage, scrub, and wrap treatments alongside New Age "Sound Healing" sessions. It's a sleek space that employs rustic architectural details in a smart way to create a tranquil, refined setting. Tennis courts are available, but there's no proper fitness center. Shops on-site feature tasteful items such as local pottery. Wi-Fi is free throughout. 

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Best Rates

Amenities

  • Air Conditioner

  • Airport Transportation

  • Babysitting Services

  • Balcony / Terrace / Patio

  • Basic Television

  • Beach

  • Beauty / Hair Salon

  • Business Center

  • Cable

  • Concierge

  • Cribs

  • Dry Cleaning

  • Fitness Center

  • Free Breakfast

  • Full Kitchen

  • Internet

  • Jacuzzi

  • Kids Allowed

  • Laundry

  • Meeting / Conference Rooms

  • Mini Bar (with liquor)

  • Pool

  • Rental Car Service Desk Onsite

  • Room Service

  • Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space

  • Smoking Rooms Available

  • Spa

  • Supervised Kids Activities

  • Tennis Court

Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.