Only 40 mins from Faro airport is the luxury accommodation of Pine Cliffs Resort. As you would expect from a resort with ‘luxury’ in its name, Pine Cliffs Resort, part of The Luxury Collection, oozes premium quality from the moment you enter the lobby. It has a traditional Portuguese theme, mixed with Arabic touches dotted around in the shape of beautifully detailed tiles. These have been mixed with modern tones to blend beautifully together and leave quite an impression. Even our 2-year-old was entertained by the large, mahogany table which welcomed us in the lobby. Check-in was smooth and the staff were remarkably friendly, interacting with big and little guests - expect colouring books and pencils for the kiddies upon arrival.
There are five accommodation options to choose from; the Hotel, Ocean Suites, Residence, Villas & Golf Suite and Pine Cliffs Gardens. With all this choice, the accommodations are spread out in a way that makes you feel you are staying in a home-away-from-home. There is a real sense of community and you can easily see how people visit every year.
Where will I sleep?
We had the pleasure of staying at Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites, in a two-bedroom apartment, with two bathrooms and a large balcony brightening up each room and overlooking one of the eight swimming pools and gardens. It was kitted out with a washing machine, microwave, dishwasher, fridge-freezer, oven and hob, and coffee machine. There was also a six-person dining table, three-seater sofa and armchair which made for a cosy living/dining room feel. In addition to this we were given two full-sized cots, a bottle steriliser and bottle warmer to use during our stay.
The Ocean Suite was really impressive, the master bedroom had an ensuite with a freestanding bathtub in the middle of the room, double sink and extra shower. Our toddler enjoyed using the bathtub as a pretend pirate ship. The apartment was bright with balcony doors that run from ceiling to floor. In fact, the balcony itself runs across the entire apartment length, and every room has an exit to the balcony. Having the two bedroom apartment, as opposed to the one-bedroom Ocean Suite was beneficial at bedtime - meaning our toddler had their own space to sleep, much like at home, without any distractions. Our 8-month-old slept in the master bedroom with us, using the cot provided. We made sure to bring our portable white noise machine to help her sleep.
What is there to do at Pine Cliffs Resort?
The 148 apartments on this part of the site are eligible to use some of the facilities integrated in this building free of charge. The facilities include the SPA, sauna and indoor hydro pool (although children are not allowed here so we weren’t able to reap these benefits). These facilities are part of the Serenity, The Art of Well Being,SPA.
Spread across 72 acres, the resort is covered with plush lawns laden with pine trees, giving a fresh smell following you around. The three receptions were not in full use, as our February visit was generally a quiet one in comparison to the high peak summer holiday season.
Pine Cliffs Resort has an ample amount of activities available. You can book to use one of the five tennis courts, a paddle court, basketball court, or mini golf. Other amenities include eight swimming pools and eleven restaurants. There is literally no need to leave the complex. Although we did venture out of the resort, as most of the eleven restaurants were closed during our low-season visit.
During our pre-dinner excursions, we would spend time at the Porto Pirata, two large wooden pirate ships, and the playground area, where scooters and carts were dotted around a mini track. All gated off, this play area is within walking distance from all accommodation locations and is a bright, fun, safe, open space for the kids to run around.
Renovated in 2016, The Health Club ACTIVE by Serenity includes a full size gym overlooking the gardens and includes a sauna, steam room. Additionally there is a Bootcamp and group classes available. There is also a Studio next to the golf course entrance, which is also used for classes.
There are a lot of wellbeing activities and the theme of ‘wellbeing’ runs throughout the entire resort. There is a garden called Tabu which can be hired for private yoga sessions or weddings. A festival called Just also runs annually and is one of Europe’s most sought out soul, funk and jazz parties. Pine Cliffs also runs a Detox weight management programme for those interested. Perhaps not just for families, but a good choice for mum getaways, too.
As we were travelling with a small toddler, it’s worth mentioning everything is within walking distance and even things like toilets were easily accessible. There’s also a cute little toy shop on site.
Located next to the SPA is a barber shop and hairdresser, all very modern looking with hints of traditional Portuguese life in the decor. The essence of heritage is cleverly embraced in the resort and modern accents add to the luxurious feel of Pine Cliffs Resort.
The main site was built in 1992 and the Ocean Suites and SPA were added in 2016, but you could honestly not tell the difference between buildings and designs. A lot of thought and love has been put into the bricks and staff members to make the stay here a pleasant, family-friendly resort for all.
Another restaurant here is called Zest. Open at peak times, the food and drink here is all created with well being and health in mind.
Step outside of the Ocean Suites building, and you step in a courtyard filled with lemon trees. This picturesque courtyard houses a cooking school, which was revamped in 2020/2021, called Mimo. Right next door lives an Espresso bar, serving coffees and small pastries.
Every part of Pine Cliffs Resort is idyllic and well looked after. Within this courtyard, there is also a wine and tapas bar, with all food and drink proudly sourced within the region of the Algarve.
During peak season the pirate ship is transformed into a nursery, supporting families, if they choose, during the day with childcare; suitable for children from six months to eight years old. Children are in the care of qualified staff members and can spend the day having their own adventures either on a bouncy castle, basketball court, the mini-track with the scooters and karts, in the swimming pool area or on the 18-hole mini golf course.
If you choose to, and are visiting outside of peak times when this nursery isn’t available, there is the option of hiring a babysitter. This is one-on-one care for your child(ren), set up at your accommodation and is available all year round. As I’m breastfeeding, and generally have no interest in babysitting services while abroad, we didn’t opt for any childcare services.
Connectivity and Rentals
To help with booking restaurants, contacting reception, or arranging childcare or room service, there is a Pine Cliffs app. Having used it ourselves, it’s quite user-friendly, and makes it easier to arrange wants and needs without lugging the kids out of the room. Be aware some of these services have extra fees, for example room service has an additional 5 euro fee each time this service is used.
Outside of the immediate resort bookings, Pine Cliffs also has a partnership with Europcar, so rent a car or motorbike directly on site to take your adventures further. And lastly there is also a COVID-19 lab, to help with any testing required.
Serenity SPA, the Art of Wellbeing is situated in the Ocean Suites building. This modern SPA has several treatments available, each incorporating some sort of Portuguese influence.
The SPA is very proud of their products, which have been hand selected. Some of the experiences available at the SPA include, well being programmes, a dry flotation bed treatment, a hydro-bath with over 30 treatments, hammam, several facials, massages, an ice therapy shower, and plenty more.
It is here, as we mentioned earlier, that the use of the two saunas, indoor pool, outdoor Jacuzzi and experience showers can be used free of charge when staying at Ocean Suites or after booking a treatment.
If you are travelling with slightly older children, there are also some junior treatments available for up to 14 years old, there is no minimum age for treatments, it is up to the digression of parents.
The SPA has been well thought-out with rooms appropriately lit to cater for different treatments, and SPA rooms named after fruit, and flowers, which are also spread across the resort.
We were lucky enough to have a moment away from the kiddies and experience one of the most traditional experiences available at the SPA, the Senses of the Algarve. This was an immensely relaxing experience where an exfoliating scrub is first applied. We then rinsed off in the experience shower (a fully immersive shower with water jets from top and sides to help soothe and relax).
Afterwards, with ambient music playing, we were covered with a sweet, chocolate smelling lotion and wrapped up for around 15 mins, then left to relax.
After embracing a private moment of peace, it was then time to rinse off in the experience shower again. The therapist then seals off the treatment with a full body massage. The entire treatment lasts about 1 hour and 20 mins long and costs 180 euros.
The facilities are kept in pristine condition, and the entire SPA setting is a haven of relaxation. Once again staff are extremely friendly and the use of the sauna and indoor pool are available after any treatment.
What is there to eat?
Starting off with breakfast was always fun. It was a breakfast buffet, including fruit, pastries, a good fry up, porridge and other cereals, yogurts… breakfast was top notch. Breakfast time was also our first encounter with the staff at Pine Cliffs Resort. We were always welcomed with our drinks order taken from the moment we sat down, and promptly brought over to us.
The staff always made us feel welcome and were extremely attentive. Juggling two young children’s needs can be tricky at the best of times, so when a staff member would see a toy on the floor, or a napkin misplaced, they helped out quicker than I would notice. In fact, seeing the same staff members around the complex was one of the highlights of our trip - they all added to the ambience and community, family-friendly vibe of the resort.
Restaurants in service during our stay were Corda Cafe and O Pescador. Corda Cafe - the oldest restaurant at the resort - is open all year around. Food includes international dishes, burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, breakfast options, and fish and meat options. The kids' options are a good ol’ spag bol, fish sticks (fingers) and chicken fillet. The cafe was so accommodating with food that they would even make things not on the menu, for example, a side of boiled veg to give to our 8-month-old. This meant we could continue the weaning journey for our little one with no changes in this new setting. Our toddler some days would eat off the kids’ menu, or would have part of our food with veg and roasted potatoes on the side.
We also ate at O Pescador, which serves fresh seafood caught that day, and cooked on an open fire at the entrance of the restaurant. While the tiger prawns were 78 euros per portion, the food was worth it. However, for a family of four, we saved this restaurant for one visit during our stay, and ate the rest of the time at Corda, which had a more reasonable price for daily meals.
When you venture out, just on the outskirts of the resort, there is a small supermarket and cafe, where you can grab those fun, kiddy, Peppa Pig shaped ice-creams that kids love. In the resort the ice-cream is mostly of the sorbet sort and is not a fan with my kiddies, however the chocolate cake went down a treat. As you can see, a little treat is important when my family is aboard.
Once breakfast was consumed each day, or mid-morning naps were taken, we would head to the lawns for a little run around, then grab some complimentary towels at the Towel Hut and head to the beach. Situated just below the gorgeous cliffs, which the resort is built on, you can use stairs or lifts to head to the bottom.
You then have to ditch the pushchair to continue to walk across stairs spread out, leading to Praia da Falesia. The beach is covered in golden sand and even in late February is warm enough to spend an entire afternoon there, building sand castles, digging for pirate treasure and dipping toes in the cool North Atlantic sea. Adjacent to this beachfront is the restaurant Mare, which was closed during our visit. Although, we can imagine a day at the beach, then off for some lunch at the Mare, with the gorgeous sea view, would be ideal.
How much does it cost to visit?
Prices start from £272 per night for a two bedroom townhouse at Pine Cliffs Resort. Based on 2 adults and 2 children. Find out more and book your stay at pinecliffs.com.
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