Walk through the impressive reception area of the 5-star Tivoli Carvoeiro, and you’re suddenly met by a beautiful vista: the picturesque Algarve coast rolling away below you. It’s an exciting welcome to a wonderful holiday destination – one that’s made even more enticing as you progress to the terrace, which looks over the interlinked double-ring shaped swimming pool. You’ll be counting the minutes to your first dip.
The 248-room hotel has been recently refurbished and it has a chic, light contemporary feel throughout. It’s situated in a breathtaking position, perched on the curve of a small bay, with many rooms looking out onto a gorgeous sea view. There are family rooms, with a double bed and sofa bed, which sleep four. There are also triple rooms, with a double and one single, or three single beds. Cots and a babysitting service can also be arranged.
Just 40 minutes drive from Faro airport, the hotel is set just outside the town of Carvoeiro. There are a couple of lovely family beaches (Praia do Vale Centeanes and Praia de Carvoeiro) within 15 minutes’ walk, both of which can be reached by walking along buggy-friendly pavements, as well as the rugged cliff-top walks. The hotel will also order cabs for you, so there’s no need to hire a car unless you want to do a lot of travelling around the Algarve. The hotel also offers free parking.
There is also a small cove beach below the hotel. However, the way down involves a steep and rocky path and when we went in early June, the path ends quite a distance from the sand below, with a large drop down. Over the summer, the sand rises to a higher level and the beach will become more accessible.
The rooms are good-sized with comfy beds, a mini-bar fridge, free wifi, large TV screen and a wardrobe with ample hanging space, hairdryer and an easy-to-use safe. The ensuites are also roomy and have walk-in showers with powerful ceiling shower heads and low toilets – so easy for little ones to use. The free-standing sinks are positioned quite high on the sink top, so smaller children might need a little help.
The bathroom is separated by a glass wall rather than a solid partition – it’s a great-looking feature but older, more body-sensitive children may want more privacy, so there are blinds that can be drawn down. Many rooms have a balcony, with plenty of space for all to sit and take in the view while some rooms on the ground floor have small gardens. The only confusing element is the floor numbering. Because the hotel nestles into a hillside, reception is on the fourth rather than the ground floor and different lifts and stairwells take you to alternative parts of the hotel. Cue some confused looking guests emerging from lifts until you get your bearings.
THE BATHROOM SHELF:
A selection of Portugese luxury skincare brand Portus Cale offers the usual body lotions and hair care, plus dental, vanity and shower cap extras. Soft robes and slippers are also provided for adults.
The pool area is one of the highlights. There are lots of sunbeds, fresh towels available and sturdy sun umbrellas providing lots of shade and sun spots. The unheated pool felt slightly chilly when we visited but this was early in the season and during a cooler-than-normal June. There are two circular pools, one of which is a lovely low-depth baby and toddler pool, so you can keep little ones happily and safely playing away from other more guests who may be looking for a quieter swim.
There are also a couple of larger double sunloungers – perfect for family groups – which are freely available.
There’s a bar café by the pool, offering salads and Portugese light dishes as well as classic snacks such as burgers and fries.
All through the summer, there’s a daily kids’ club situated inside a large play room right by the swimming pool. Run by bilingual childcarers, the club offers a range of activities including a number of different crafts and games.
There’s also a small playground area around the side of the hotel. It’s a quiet area and perfect as an alternative to the pool.
ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES:
There’s a diving and water-sports centre within the grounds of the hotel, plus opportunities for kayaking and other water sports at local beaches. The Algarve is known for its beautiful beaches, and there are plenty beyond the two walkable beaches mentioned earlier. These include Praia de Benagil (2 miles away) and Praia da Marinha (2.6 miles).
If your children love water parks, just 3.2 miles away there’s Slide & Splash – one of the biggest water parks in Portugal, with fast slides, drops and laguna. The hotel organised two excursions for us. We had a guided clifftop walk, which offered both spectacular views and fascinating information about the geography and flora and fauna of the Algarve.
We also spent a delightful morning in a local vineyard, Quinta da Cabrita, where we were treated to a wine-tasting session complete with local cheese, breads and meats. Delicious. If you’re looking to get some golf in, the Vale do Milho Golf Course is just half a mile from the hotel and finally, the hotel offers a well-equipped gym and indoor pool.
We have to start with the sensational breakfast. Each morning, Tivoli Carvoeiro offers a huge self-serve hall of fresh breads and pastries, fruits, meats, cheese, yogurts, and a range of hot choices including eggs, bacon, omelettes, beans and more. If you need a little pep up, there’s even champagne.
The food and wine is one of the delights of the hotel, particularly the fish and seafood. There are three restaurants: the One, which offers fine dining from locally sourced food and the most delicious Portugese wines.
The Mare is a help-yourself buffet (always good for both adventurous and more tentative young eaters), featuring a tasty range of dishes, both Portugese and global. You can choose from fresh seafood and local meats to salads plus a riot of puddings.
The Med bistro is set on the terrace and serves delightful smaller meal and snacks.
A visit to the Sky Bar, on the top of the hotel, is a spectacular way to finish the day and the best spot to watch incredible sunsets over the sea. Slouch on comfy sofas, enjoy a drink in glass balconies that seem to hang almost precariously over the edge, and Instagram those views.
If you have the chance, find the special set of steps near reception that take you down to the Tivoli Spa. After busy beach days and the whirl of excited kids, this is where the relaxation can really start. There are several wellness rooms, a steam room, sauna, indoor swimming pool and a rest room. And then the most peaceful and calming treatment rooms. The staff are incredibly attentive, skilfully delivering Eastern-infused massages to rejuvenate and relax at the same time, culminating in a deliciously light herbal tea to refresh those chilled senses. And then float through the rest of your holiday…
Thinking of visiting Portugal’s amazing capital city Lisbon? See our review of Tivoli Avenida Liberdade hotel Lisbon
Address: Apartado 1299 – Vale do Covo – Praia do Carvoeiro 8401-911 Lagoa, Portugal
Prices start at 120€ / £106 for a double room – for bed and breakfast