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!
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.
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.