Ready to tee off in the Al­garve

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

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

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