Welcome to the Algarve!
What springs to mind when you think of the Algarve? Let me guess; sun, beaches, golf and fun nights out?! You’re not wrong, but having just had the privilege of experiencing the destination first-hand, I’ve discovered that the Algarve has so much more to offer (as an incentive destination) than meets the eye!
XPTO Events & DMC are experts in the Algarve. It is refreshing to visit hotels where they know many of the staff personally and it’s great to see that they have a fantastic relationship with all suppliers; built on great friendships.
On arrival I met with Anabela and Isabel from XPTO Events & DMC and enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Akavit which accommodates groups up to 120 pax. The restaurant specialises in international cuisine and it is situated at Vilamoura Marina.
I was fortunate to stay at the Anantara Hotel which was refurbished in April 2017; it is a beautiful resort with a personal touch, you are welcomed by your name when you arrive and taken to a private lounge for check-in. Breakfast was amazing! You are given a hand towel and fresh juice when you arrive and the resort is right next to Victoria golf course which is used for the Portugal Masters.
The Anantara has 280 rooms and suites, 5 swimming pools and our DMC can arrange cooking workshops on resort for smaller groups at the Spicy Spoon (up to 10 pax) or a tile painting experience can be set up in at the hotel. Their signature restaurant is Emo, specialising in gourmet cuisine and the Ria restaurant has just opened specialising in seafood. On departure the hotel presented me with dried flowers (similar to lucky heather) to bring me fortune and good luck, which was a lovely gesture!
Best places to stay?
You are very lucky in the Algarve as the hotels are all of a very high standard and you have a fantastic choice of 5* hotels. 4* properties are more difficult to come by.
Part of Leading Hotels of the World and set on 54 acres, the resort is great for small incentive groups as it offers an array of possibilities and things to do. Situated in a relaxing area, and away from the hustle and bustle, it’s ideal if you want to do everything in-house as there are no bars / restaurants in walking distance of the resort. The nearest town is Armação de Pera which is a 5 minute drive. Groups tend to stay in the main building area which has 74 bedrooms. They have a clubhouse with restaurants and bars and a ballroom with meeting space up to 350 theatre / 250 gala.
The resort also own their own farm which is 1 hour and 30 minutes away, where they grow their own vegetables and make their own wine which they use in-house.
The Tivoli Marina Vilamoura is a great choice as it has 383 rooms, set right on Vilamoura Marina. I didn’t get a chance to visit the meeting facilities as they are currently refurbishing their event space, but it will certainly look amazing when finished (later in the year). The hotel also has a dock for boats to pick guests up for fun at sea; ideal for those who enjoy boat parties!
I loved the Conrad Hotel based in Quinta Lago, which is very high-end with 154 rooms. You can privatise wings of the hotel for groups and the property is a short distance from the golf resorts. The food and cocktails in Gustos are to die for and the making of each cocktail is explained to you by an expert. The presidential suite and its accompanying terrace can be used for meetings / dinner / BBQs and drinks.
Recently renovated, this is an amazing resort which was refurbished last year in a modern / classical style, and has 217 rooms. The main meeting room can hold 200 people theatre-style and has a terrace outside for coffee breaks. There are many private areas to host an event; Tabu is a large open-air space which the hotel is very popular for and Lemon Square is great as an outdoors space for lunch / dinners and cocktail receptions. Aldar is also a great venue with a Moroccan theme in which you can arrange a band, disco, or whatever you fancy. Also popular is the beach party option with DJ, BBQ or buffet till 3 am.
Places to eat?
I had lunch at Buzios which is located on the Marina Beach in Vilamoura; Búzios Beach Club is a restaurant / bar with fabulous sea views and specialising in meat and fish. Capacity pax 45 inside / 65 pax outside
Bovino brings the best in steakhouse dining to Quinta do Lago. In a bespoke setting, created by one of Europe's most acclaimed interior designers, Bovino combines striking décor with prime beef cooked to perfection. Capacity 350 pax
Specialising in fine French cuisine and coloured with delicious Mediterranean influences for a memorable fine dining experience. The restaurant also has a beautiful outside terrace with a pool which can be used for cocktails for groups. Capacity 60 pax
I had the pleasure to eat at Paixa - a cool and trendy restaurant in Vale do Lobo, it seats 70 comfortably inside and specialises in Portuguese Tapas. The main restaurant is open-plan and has a small outside seating area. Capacity 70 pax
Need a venue with a difference?
Great concept similar to Nikki Beach which is used for groups; it offers 2 venues under the same name. The Beach side on the Vilamoura Beach that creates a perfect relaxing atmosphere combined with Puro’s offering and its live music from the resident DJs. It has a capacity for 50 inside and 150 outside. Another option is the Lakeside in the gardens of the Tivoli Marina Vilamoura where guests can experiment with a more social-oriented offer during the night and this can hold up to 3000 people for cocktail parties and 480 people for dining.
Situated in Quinta Lago by the lake, Casa do Lago is a great restaurant to take over exclusively. It has an outside pool and the restaurant has a fisherman’s theme. The venue can accommodate 200 inside and 200 outside. This is a great option for drinks on the balcony area beside the pool after visiting the water sport centre for groups, as it is next door and can be used exclusively.
Also in Quinta Lago you can enjoy a bike ride through the Nature Reserve “Ria Formosa”, it is made up of 18,000 hectares of tidal marshes protected by a spectacular 60km long system of sand-dune islands that separate the land from the ocean. Bike ride groups up to 200 pax. Watersports which include wind surfing, paddle boarding, sailing, canoeing. Groups up to 120 pax. After water sports you can take over the balcony area at Casa do Lago.
Other options for your next Incentive trip:-
Sunset party on catamaran
Please get in touch to find out how XPTO Events & DMC can create your next and BEST incentive!
This visit was brought to you by our DMC, XPTO Events & DMC