What We Love
- A charming stay on the southern coast of Portugal, with extras and a gourmet-dining optionStaying in one of Portugal's most beautiful destinations, a short stroll from the beach
- Going with the "gastronomic experience" option and enjoying a seven-course dinner
- Being one of the first to stay at a brand-new hotel
What To Know
- The house is just 5-minutes from the beach
- Rooms on the first and second floors of Jogo da Bola have views of either the garden, city, or sea (plus all have terraces)
- Orta, the onsite restaurant, serves a mix of healthy options (and 24/7 breakfast) including fresh smoothies, pressed juices, and farm-to-table dishes
Tucked away behind the old city walls of the charming Algarve town of Lagos, a uniquely special retreat is emerging. Rising with elegance and grace from the ruins of a former 19th-century family estate, new boutique design hotel Casa Mãe has the feel of an exclusive private village, comprising three separate parts and 30 rooms spread across the Jogo de Bola building, Casa Mãe building and Cabanas. It’s a true hideaway you may never feel the need to leave, despite being only minutes away from some breathtaking beaches.
With orange tree, oleander and fig tree scents set to waft through 7,000 square metres of terraced gardens from December 2016 onwards, this property is certainly designed to please on the outside. When it comes to the interiors, owner Veronique let her creative juices flow, with a showcase of some of the very best of contemporary Portuguese design. Bespoke furniture by French designer Martin Blanchard has been specially made for the hotel, accessorised with handmade ceramics and locally woven textiles.
Even in the winter months the secluded terracotta-tiled patio, complete with marble tables and carefully placed planters, is a real suntrap. Head to the serene minimalist surrounds of your room, housed in a brand new dazzling white building, for dreamy siestas in your very own hammock. Throughout the day and evening you can sample super fresh creations (sourced from Casa Mãe’s organic garden and out-of-town farm) in the restaurant. Add to this an alfresco cinema (open in spring and summer), plus on-site yoga and cooking classes, and you have the recipe for a perfectly magical stay.
Good to know
Please note that this is a new property; the five luxury suites in the 19th-century renovated estate house, as well as the three Cabanas, the swimming pool and gardens, are set to open in December 2016.
How to Get There
My husband and I didn’t like this hotel at all. Here are our complaints: 1. Driving to the hotel is harrowing...and I’ve driven all over the world. 2. Using the hotel’s map to find the off-site parking is virtually impossible and you can’t use your GPS because there is no street address since it’s just a dirt lot outside the city wall. 3. When we asked staff for help with the parking situation, they were very snarky. 4. The shower and bath are (literally) right in front of the bed with nothing but a small folding screen to give you any privacy. 5. Food in the lobby restaurant was mediocre and expensive. I usually try to say something positive, but for this place I couldn’t think of anything until my husband reminded me that the bar had a good Portuguese IPA.
I would have thought a room almost totally decorated with white would have felt very clinical but it was absolutely beautiful. The huge bath in within the bedroom, massive bed and large shower was all very luxurious. The balcony was very private and had the sun from first thing in the morning (rooms facing the street - rooms at the back are likely to be sun in the evening). Despite facing the street, it was very quiet and peaceful.
We ate in the restaurant the first evening. It was a bit pricy but absolutely excellent food. We had booked breakfast included and that was well worth it. The food was freshly cooked and very tasty. You were limited to a set number of dishes for the breakfast included option and just one coffee but could buy more. We loved our breakfast, although it was a bit random as to when you got your separate dishes - sometimes having the bacon first then later the eggs, once having the yogurt along with the bacon and eggs all at once. Not the fastest service but we were on holiday so no rush and the surroundings were lovely.
The staff were very friendly and the welcome drink and helpful advice on arrival was a nice touch.
The gardens where some of the food was grown were nice to walk in. We didn’t use the small pool because it was a bit cold in February but it looked pleasant. It was very easy to walk to the shops, restaurants and beaches.
All in all it was one of the nicest hotels we have stayed in. It does have a different concept and I really hope it proves to be successful.
Anyone staying at Casa Mae should be aware of certain facts:
--the parking is not near the hotel but outside the city walls and not within luggage toting distance
--the breakfast included in the room price is not a buffet like all the other hotels offer in Portugal, but a limited number of choices you can make within categories
--there is expensive pottery in the room—if you break it, you pay for it
When we arrived at Casa Mae we were presented with a document to sign. I assumed we were giving permission for them to charge the credit card. (We signed this in other places.) But no, it was a release form that if anything was broken in the room, we had to pay for it. Alas, I did break a vase quite by accident. I was getting my jacket from the small alcove that served as a clothes closet and turned around quickly. My jacket hit the top of artificial flowers that were in a vase that sat on a low shelf near the alcove. It didn’t help that it was over a stone floor. When we were shown our room, no one pointed out that expensive pottery was in the room. If someone had, we would have taken notice and moved the vase.
You can imagine our shock when we paid the bill and found an extra charge on it. My unintentional accident cost us 100 euros! No amount of explaining would convince the manager. He even threatened to call the police if we refused to pay. We left as soon as we could.
The Casa Mae is such a beautiful hotel, in all the details as in the architecture. The staff were amaizing and authentic. We had a great family time here and you will too. Recommended. The beaches of Lagos are beautiful and the city still authentic.
Dear reader. If you are reading this that means you are interested in staying at Casa Mae. Do not think any longer and do so! That place is in my top 3 of all times. Everybody has different experiences, but mine at Casa Mãe was flawless. Maybe that is because i was there in the winter, late January, so it was extremely chill! Depends what kind of traveler you are and what you need. I was aiming for peace and relaxation and thats what i got. From the moment we arrived, untill the moment we left we were treated with kindness.
Rodrigo welcomed us with an amazing Portugese white wine, set with us to explain us about the surroundings and what is nice to see. Not many people do that. We stayed in the premium double room, which was heaven. We had a bath in the room and a balcony with a hammock!!! Everything was minimal, clean and tastefully decorated with design decor from local Portugese artists, so the room was fantastic!!! The whole concept of this place is very artistic and stylish, but still layedback. There is even a concept store /shop where you can buy the design products! Do not expect cheapness, since this place is all about heaven for the eyes, and that never comes cheap. As for the restaurant, everything they make is made with local products feom their own garden!! If you appreciate all the things i mentioned and its within your budget, you should not think twice about staying at Casa Mãe.
Last but not least, with check out, Rodrigo gaves a list with recommendations what to see and where to eat in Lisbon too, devided in categories by style of dining, traditional stuff, even hotel recommendations. We actually followed his advices and it was amazing. I am grateful for meeting him and staying in this amazingly stylish and friendly place! Thank you Casa Mãe for the mind blowing experience. We felt like home from the first day!