W Algarve Is Breathing New Life Into Portugal’s Gold Coast

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The last time I visited Portugal’s Algarve region was in 2001. I was studying abroad in Spain and during the program’s spring break, 12 of us hopped into three rental cars and caravanned over the border to soak up the sun along the country’s Southern coast.

We stayed at a bare bones hotel in Lagos that hadn’t been touched since its 1950’s heyday. The rooms were basic, the amenities, nil, but what it did have was access to one of the most beautiful beaches I’d ever seen, filled with grottos and caves, turquoise waters and soft sand.

Now, with the recent opening of W Algarve, this low-key beach region is planting itself on the global map and luring a new set of luxury travelers seeking modern accommodations, resort offerings, and serious vibes.

Located on one of Portugal’s most coveted coastlines two-and-a-half hours south of Lisbon, W Algarve offers a playful spin on the traditional resort experience with a sense of irreverence and whimsy layered atop the classic indulgences and amenities we’ve come to expect from the W brand. Think live DJs at the pool, sound baths along the beach, and Ibiza-esque dance parties going down nightly at the hotel bar.

“The arrival of W Hotels in the Algarve with our latest W Escape promises to inject a new energy into the region.” said Candice D’Cruz, Marriott International’s vice president, luxury brands, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “W Algarve will entwine the region’s striking natural scenery and rich Portuguese history with the W brand’s signature style, inclusive programming and social scene.”

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Perched above the beach in the town of Albufiera, W Algarve features 134 hotel rooms and suites as well as 83 residences, complete with azure views and spacious balconies.​ The guest rooms showcase the Algarve through the W lens, where beachy hues and asymmetrical forms mimic the nearby cliffs, set against a series of tile work that pays homage to the destination’s Moorish heritage.

The W’s 10 WOW suites demonstrate next-level luxury, each providing two floors of resort living. Downstairs, the living areas feature ultramodern BOSE entertainment systems allowing guests to set the scene of their choice. Upstairs, guests can soak up the Algarve sun on the rooftop terrace, with eye-popping coastal views and private plunge pools available in selected suites.

The Extreme WOW Suite, the W brand’s modern interpretation of a traditional presidential suite, hosts an expansive bedroom inspired by the beautiful Benagili cave and picturesque Algarve fishing villages. Stairs lead up to a panoramic rooftop terrace where gardens surround an elevated lounge with a DJ booth, dining, and bar area.

Down below, a sweeping infinity plunge pool overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, while gastronomic offerings span from a poolside bar with Mediterranean-inspired lunch fare to Market Kitchen, which serves relaxed, modern interpretations of international and regional cuisine that’s farm and ocean fresh. Perched atop the hotel is Paper Moon, the sister to the renowned Milanese restaurant serving unfussy Italian cuisine like fish, pasta and pizza.

W Algarve takes pride in its cocktail program. At the lobby lounge, guests can select drinks from a biblical tome filled with concoctions sourced from local distilleries. For champagne with a view, Sea Sky is located on the rooftop of the hotel overlooking the bay of Armação de Pera. It marks the perfect setting to sip and mingle to DJ-strewn beats before or after dinner.

In keeping with W brand’s ethos of detox to re-tox, The Away Spa features six treatment rooms including one couples room, hair salon, manicure bar, facial LED mask treatments and express booths for pre-dinner touch ups. The spa also offers a wet area with sauna, steam and jacuzzi just in case you need to sweat out the champagne from the night before. The FIT program at the hotel gym offers indoor and outdoor workout space, equipped with TechnoGym equipment alongside an Olympic Power Rack to offer maximum workout capabilities with a view.

The W Algarve is the latest W property to embody the brand’s philosophy centered around play, party and wellness in all its many forms. Hopefully, I’ll make it back sooner this time.