Vila Joya literally means ‘jewellery box’ which is appropriate, given that the boutique hotel is one of Portugal’s hidden gems. Blissfully exclusive, the oriental palazzo overlooks the Albuferia coastline, and as some of the world’s finest golf courses are within eyeshot, if you’re heading there to improve your game you’ve picked the right place. Golf is the main diversion here and head pro Jose Ferriera masterfully fronts the resort’s Academy.


With its Joy Jung spa, two Michelin-starred restaurant and tranquil gardens, at Vila Joya you’re not only guaranteed privacy but also a calming spot in which to fully enjoy it. Each one of the twelve rooms and eight suites has been individually decorated in an elegant combination of traditional Moorish and Portuguese architecture. Beyond your room’s scenic view of the private swimming pool and garden, the Atlantic Ocean is effortlessly close.

Joya’s gourmet restaurant has struck lucky with Austrian-born star chef Dieter Koscina at the helm. He combines local produce with northern European cooking techniques that have propelled Vila Joya into the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. There’s also a fully loaded 12,000 bottle wine cellar to make your very own (significant) dent in.

Located half an hour drive from Faro International Airport and two hours from Lisbon, rates start at €280 per night including breakfast.