I arrived on Portugal’s sun-drenched Algarve coast at the end of a 12-day group trip, eager to kick up my heels after walking all over the calcadas (footpaths) and hillsides of Porto, Sintra and Lisbon.
Relaxation mode began as soon as I stepped inside W Algarve. I was greeted with a complimentary glass of Murganheira sparkling wine and big smiles. The pulsing beats of international music echoed in the background.
Opened in June as Portugal’s first W brand property, the 134-room W Algarve brings urban flair to one of the most stunning beach destinations in Europe. Embodying W’s signature style and luxury, the property features an impressive entrance inspired by ocean waves and the Algarve’s surf culture. Interior spaces showcase a futuristic nautical theme, with white walls accented by oceanic hues, curved furnishings, and glass and mirrored decor.
Checking Into a W-Branded Residence
After checking in, I was whisked away via buggy to one of the resort’s 83 W-branded residences, a portion of which are available for stays. Housed in a separate building than the hotel rooms, residences range from one to four bedrooms and are ideal for families and groups.
My three-bedroom residence felt like much more than a hotel room — it felt like a place I could call home. The open-concept floor plan featured a full modern kitchen and a large living-dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows that flooded the space with natural light. Each bedroom was equipped with a smart television and a signature W bed with a pillowtop mattress, Egyptian cotton sheets, and colorful accent pillows. The residence also contained a spacious outdoor terrace, which served as my personal lounge for sitting and soaking up the sun.
The hotel’s rooms and suites, meanwhile, incorporate the same luxury standard and modern aesthetic of the residences, with all rooms facing the sunset. Among the hotel’s most lavish rooms are its 10 WOW suites, a two-story presidential E WOW suite and 12 hotel residences, all of which have rooftop terraces.
Activities and Amenities at W Algarve
The heart of the property is its bilevel pool, Wet Deck, a swanky spot for sunbathing and swimming — and partying, too, as it regularly hosts international DJ events. The pool cafe, SIP @ Wet, has a hip bar menu with fare such as sushi burritos and cocktails like the Kacharita — the W’s unique version of a margarita that includes tequila, triple sec, agave and kombucha.
W Lounge — which includes the Lounge Bar and Lounge Terrace — is the place to go for socializing and quick, tantalizing cocktails, while the rooftop patio, Sea Sky, is a great place to sip on pre- or post-dinner drinks overlooking the bay of Armacao de Pera.
Adjacent to Sea Sky is the property’s flagship restaurant, Paper Moon. Part of a global chain of Italian restaurants, Paper Moon offers a sophisticated setting with contemporary black-and-white decor and boasts an extensive wine list and a four-course gourmet menu composed primarily of pizza, pasta and seafood.
Starting the day with breakfast at Market Kitchen was simple and satisfying: The buffet provides a broad selection of hot and cold items such as yogurt, fruit, juices, pastries, cereal, pancakes, deli meats, hash browns and smoked salmon. There’s even an omelet station and a mimosa station. Market Kitchen also serves delicious southern Portuguese-inspired cuisine for dinner.
Each of the property’s six restaurants and bars are overseen by renowned Portuguese chef Nuno Goncalves. (Unfortunately, Air, the W’s Champagne sunset deck, was not open during my stay.)
One W Algarve amenity not to miss: Away Spa, a bright and airy two-level facility that houses six treatment rooms, a beauty bar, a hair salon and an outdoor area with a steam room, sauna, fire tub and ice tub. During my stay, I enjoyed the most relaxing 60-minute detox massage.
Next to the spa is Fit, the property’s 24-hour fitness center, which is outfitted with the latest TechnoGym equipment and an Olympic Power Rack. Fit also offers sunrise yoga, high-intensity workouts and boot camps.
For guests who would like to access nearby beaches, a paved walking path connects W Algarve with Evaristo Beach, where beach services will be added in the future. The property also operates a free five-minute shuttle to Castelo Beach, a small cove with beautiful golden sands backed by limestone cliffs. Here, guests can rent chairs and umbrellas for a fee and dine at Castelo Beach Club.
Overall, W Algarve provides a relaxing and sophisticated stay without being too far from the action of Albufeira and iconic attractions including Ponta da Piedade and Benagil Cave. While the property’s opening was postponed for two years due to the pandemic, the delays were definitely worth the wait. And, like a bottle of port wine, W Algarve will only get better with time.