Tavira House Hotel

The lounge with its extraordinary ceiling

The ballroom, with its extraordinary ceiling

Having a home in Tavira, in the Eastern Algarve, I don’t normally devote space to local hotel reviews.  But there’s always an exception, isn’t there, and this is it.

I was leafing through the East Algarve Magazine when an article on Tavira House Hotel caught my eye.  I didn’t recollect seeing it and no address was supplied, but it was stated to be within the old castle walls of the town.  It looked very beautiful and my curiosity was piqued.  A stroll through Tavira is never a hardship, especially one with a purpose, and the hotel wasn’t too very difficult to find.

The front door was closed and I stood gazing up at the balcony, trying to get some impression of the inside.  Rather taking me by surprise, a young man appeared at the window.  “Would you like to come up?” he enquired.  I couldn’t have been more delighted!

The reality was beautiful

The reality was beautiful

And the gilded swans, a complete masterpiece

And the gilded swans, a complete masterpiece

Casa Alice, as the house was originally called, was built in 1860 for a high-ranking Portuguese army officer.  It was a maze of corridors and false walls, allegedly for hiding his many mistresses. When it was purchased by the present owner it had been uninhabited for 20 years and was in a poor state of repair.  By 2006 permission had been obtained to renovate this listed and protected building.  The work, over 8 years, was laborious but the finished result is a triumph.

Nuno Reis, the young hotel manager, was extremely pleasant and happy for me to look around and take photos.  The only exception was the bedrooms, because the hotel was fully occupied, but an offer was extended for me to come and view one the following week.  The Mediterranean Diet Fair was in full swing in the town, and the 9 bedrooms were all needed.

The folk troupe, in 'full swing'

The folk troupe, in ‘full swing’!

Being fully engaged in the fair, I never managed a return, but the website gives a very good impression of the bedrooms, and I’m sure they’ll be of a standard with the rest of this immaculate building.  They are named for flowers that grow locally and range from a small double, accented in gold, the Mimosa, to the Geranium suite at the top of the house.  Beamed ceilings and a view over the rooftops of Tavira makes the latter rather special.

Spend a little time on the website.  It will tell you about the preservation of the Algarvian arched walls and the painstaking reconstruction of the unique ballroom ceiling.  In the ‘Explore Tavira’ section, there’s also a link to an engaging Daily Telegraph article about the town.  You don’t just have to take my word for it- it’s a beautiful place!  And I would be more than happy to stay at Tavira House Hotel.

75 comments

  1. Looks like a lovely place to stay, Jo. I thought the room rates would be really high, but it seems they range from 70-90 euros, not too terribly high for a restored property in a good location. Maybe I’ll stay there next time I come to Tavira and save you and Mick from having to put me up. 🙂

  2. Hi Johanna, I have just seen your review of our hotel and I must say, what an amazing blog entry! It took Kerry and I 8 hard years to renovate Casa Alice into Tavira House and I can tell you, it wasn’t without issues! But, we got there and we are so proud of the transformation from derelict town house to boutique hotel. We are so glad you liked the building and are so grateful to you for writing up about it – every little bit helps as they say! It would be great to meet you in person when we are next in Tavira. Martin & Kerry (owners of Tavira House).

    1. Hello Martin 🙂 Many thanks for stopping by. I could not fail to be impressed with your achievements at Tavira House. I’ve never seen a lovelier renovation, and on my visits to the Algarve over the last 10 years I’ve seen a few! I wish you every success and will do what I can to help.

  3. Adding Tavira to the bucket list. And this hotel is amazingly reasonable, much to my surprise. I paid that much for a room in the ‘Cheap Sleep Motel’ this summer. The room was clean and serviceable, but I can assure you it had absolutely no character whatsoever – apart from its 70’s style décor! 🙂

  4. What a lovely building and how beautifully the owners have restored it. I love the character of old places such as this and it’s so wonderful when people invest energy in bringing them back to their former glory. Just beautiful! 🙂

  5. lovely, charming hotel Jo 🙂 I have yet to enter the home of a Portuguese person and find it dirty or in disarray so am not surprised at the cleanliness (yes I am a wee bit biased). Read the above comment and have to empathize as I know how difficult Portuguese is to master. Spanish is much easier.

    1. Isn’t it, though!!! The style to which I would love to become accustomed. 🙂 Nah- I couldn’t be posh all the time, but I’d love one of the old style houses with vaulted brick ceilings. 🙂

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