I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to go away last week. My husband had holiday he needed to use up at work and I desperately wanted some more sunshine after the on set of Autumn here in England. We had no one to watch the children so that we could go away together so I decided I would just have to go without my husband! I put a request out on facebook to see if any friends fancied coming along but knew there was probably no one who would be able to because of family commitments. So there was only one option left for me, I would have to go alone!
Now I could have taken myself off to visit friends, I have done this is the past, but the craving for some sunshine was overwhelming and the thought of not having to talk to anyone and not disturbing any ones sleep (I appear to have a terrible snoring problem - so my husband tells me) was too appealing. So I spent a whole afternoon and evening doing some research.
I started off by looking at some big tour operators at last minute package holiday deals. Most of these were to Turkey and Bulgaria, these are longish flights for a short holiday and from airports some distance away mostly in the middle of the night! So after a while I got disillusioned with this idea and decided to start looking at where I could go from our local airport - Southampton, it is a very small airport and one I know that with my reduced mobility I would be able to get around. The only place that sounded appealing was Faro in Portugal. Now I have been there before (about 20 years ago!) and knew the airport was small there also. The flight is only 2 1/2 hours and I could get a return flight for under £200, this looked promising. I looked at the 10 day weather forecast which went right up to the time I would be going and that also looked ideal. Next I searched on www.booking.com for accommodation. I have used this website lots of times, including for our big trips over the last few years and have never yet had a problem with anywhere we have stayed.
I love the ocean and so began my search along the coastline, but to no avail, either there were no vacancies or the accommodation had a low satisfaction score and the reviews were not great. So I started to look in land a little, still near to the airport. I needed somewhere small where I was going to feel safe. I found a lovely little B&B in a small village called Estoi, this seemed to fit the bill and there was a very nice review from a lady who had stayed there on her own. So as it had free cancellation available I booked my flight and then booked this accommodation after my hubby had come in from work and given his approval.
I was so excited that night, I couldn't sleep and decided to switch my kindle on and look at the village where I was going to be. It sounded and looked on the map very small and compact, quite perfect. There was an old Palace which I researched a little more and discovered that it had been turned into a hotel - oh my, it looked beautiful! I saved the page, turned off and finally got to sleep.
The following morning I looked again at this palace, I looked for it on booking.com, it was quite pricey but then I had got my flight much cheaper than hubby thought I would. The reviews were great, I looked at trip adviser, here again the reviews were great. I then checked out the prices on some other sites including the hotels own and decided this was where I was meant to go. The small B&B's only downsides had been it only had a small plunge pool and I would have to find somewhere in the village to eat. This other place had a lovely big swimming pool (plus a small indoor one to!) and a spa, bar and restaurant! I was convinced so the Pousada Estoi was booked, the B&B cancelled, and I only had a week to wait before I set off!
Do you want to see some pictures?
That evening I booked myself into the restaurant and had the most gorgeous view, watching the sunset. The service was the only thing that I would say let the hotel down at all, it was terribly slow. Even that was not so big a deal when you were in such beautiful surroundings though.
I too, myself off on a little walk around the village a couple of times. It has been a very long hot summer and there was very little colour around, but I did snap these beautiful trees and flowers, scattered around.
This would have been the main entrance to the Palace....
There is still a lot of work to be done and you cannot walk around a lot of the grounds you just get these glimpses....
This orange grove is what I had outside the balcony of my room....
This the smaller TV lounge/bar..
These tea rooms at either side of the finished garden were full of beautiful fresco's and the colour of the glass was breathtaking.....
So would I do this again - you betcha! I will let you know what I got up to with my 4 nights away (other than take these photo's) in my next post xxxxxxxxxx