Ready to tee off in the Algarve
have a tendency to end in a field while the infrastructure takes shape. This is the rural, rugged, peaceful version of a luxury golf resort where currently just a few clusters of villas and the hilltop clubhouse (which is only a decade old but has the traditional elegance of a century-old Portuguese quinta) dot landscape.
“Even when the entire master plan is complete in the next 10 to 15 years, only eight per cent of the land will be built upon,” says Salvador Lucena, the general manager, who has big plans for Monte Rei, including a second Jack Nicklaus championship course (building work starts next year), a high-end boutique hotel of 60 to 70 suites and a luxury beach club a few miles away.
So far, only villas or plots have been available on the resort, but this month the first off-plan apartments go on sale, due for completion in the spring of 2019. The 32 clubhouse apartments, a mix of two and three-bedroom homes on a fairway-facing spot next to the clubhouse, cost from around €825,000 to €1.3million (£738,000 to £1.2million) through Sphere Estates.
The resort also has Miradouro Village, with three-bedroom semi-detached villas cost from €1.25million, and there are new-build four-bedroom detached villas with private pools from €2.1million. There are plots for sale too, from €700,000. Expect to spend a further €1million to build a villa, says Lucena. the
These are big figures, indeed, though still about a third of what you would pay at the central Algarve’s high-end golf resorts. Alternatively, head off-resort. A modern three-bedroom house with a communal pool on a small complex in Tavira costs €220,000 with Fine & Country, or you could buy a large four-bedroom detached villa with a pool in nearby Vila Nova de Cacela for €325,000.
However, resorts offer the ease, luxury and amenities that owning a local village house can’t. “Many of our owners know Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo well but feel that these resorts have become too crowded,” says Lucena. “People who come here are wealthy but discreet. They love the sense of space and the lack of flashiness.”
This is core to the eastern Algarve’s appeal. There are no five-star hotels this side of Faro – but Monte Rei is earning itself a gastronomic reputation with its Vistas restaurant under chef Albano Lourenço. Proximity to Spain is another attraction. The Spanish town Ayamonte is across the Guadiaro river, and Seville is 1.5 hours away. “This region is a great base to explore Spain and the Portugal that relatively few tourists see,” says Robert Green, director of Sphere Estates.
But what makes the eastern Algarve unmissable is the beautiful Ria Formosa natural park, a 50-mile golden stretch of beaches, separated from the mainland by a narrow lagoon, that runs from the tiny Moorish village of Cacela Vehla to the millionaires’ playground of Quinta do Lago. It’s here that Monte Rei (which is about five miles inland) is building its beach club – a spot to sip sunset G&Ts while watching the kayakers and clam-pickers at low tide on the estuary. It’s a classic scene in this laid-back side of the Algarve – and it doesn’t stop when summer’s over.
The clubhouse next to the golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, main; villas, below, start from €1.25 million; Vistas restaurant, bottom, is run by Albano Lourenço