By Roger Cox, Editor
Pine Cliffs, A Luxury Collection Resort, spreads through a stand of pine trees bordering a cliff high above one of the Algarve's most photogenic beaches. At its heart is an elegant 217-room hotel, architecturally inspired by Portugal's Arab heritage with white walls, terra-cotta floors, and elaborate tile work. Walkways wind through the property, one of them leading to a glass-walled elevator that descends to Praia de Falesia beach, a lengthy boulevard of golden sand dramatically bordered by towering sandstone cliffs.
That magnificent strand alone might be enough for many visitors, but the resort adds indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a spa and fitness center, a five-court tennis complex, a 9-hole-golf course, a culinary school, high-end retail, a large kids' club with its own swimming pool, and 11 restaurants and bars.
Adult Tennis Camp Special. Book a Saddlebrook Adult Tennis Camp, which offers five hours a day of instruction, and a regular deluxe guest room at Saddlebrook Resort and they'll upgrade you to a one-bedroom suite (provided one is available at check in) at no extra cost (two-night minimum) and include a complimentary Saddlebrook Amenity basket. To get it, phone toll-free 800-729-8383, x4200 and ask for the Tennis Resorts Online Upgrade. saddlebrook.com
Pro Shop: +351 289 500 100 x3580
Annabel Croft Tennis Academy manages the center, which consists of the three hard and two red-clay courts, all with lights, and a padel court. Gonçalo Salles Portas directs the programs. Born in Lisbon, he is a personable and highly animated figure whose lengthy resume includes almost two decades as a traveling coach with IMG Academy and work with a number of top-ranked players, among them Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniaki, and Kei Nishikori. Here he spearheads a year-round program of holiday camps, for adults and juniors. In summer, the courts are busy from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., when as many as eight other pros join Portas to handle the demand for lessons and clinics. There's a pleasant patio beneath some trees between the red-clay and hard courts, a padel court, and a tiny pro shop with little more than a desk and some accessories (other merchandise is available at the golf pro shop). Much of the activity consists of holiday camps—with sessions for both adults and kids—and private lessons. In addition, each week from March to October, there is a spacial tournament (including a junior division if enough sign up) unusual for its prizes. Everyone plays everyone else in a timed competition and the ultimate winner is invited back to the resort for a playoff in February and the chance to win such prizes as a week and the Luxury Collection hotel in Dubai or four days at the one in Paris.
Beach. Praia da Falesia is one of the most stunning beaches along this coast: a broad boulevard of golden sand stretched out beneath red-sandstone cliffs. It's reached from the hotel via a glass-walled elevator down the face of the cliff.
Golf Courses. The 9-hole Pine Cliffs Golf Course winds through the old pine and out to the edge of the cliff, where a "Devil's Parlour" par 3 famously demands a challenging ravine-traversing tee shot, from one clifftop to the next, while gazing at the Atlantic and beach below. There is also a golf academy, pro shop, driving range, short-game area, and large putting green. Instruction is available from the resident pros.
And ... Pine Cliffs hosts Mimo Algarve, the largest culinary school in Portugal centered on a with a 300-square-meter, state-of-the-art Miele kitchen. Guests can sample local produce at the on-site gourmet food shop and enjoy a host of year-round gastronomic experiences, from seasonally-themed Portuguese cookery classes with a Michelin-trained chef to supper club feasts and wine tasting.
Spa & Fitness Center. Dubbed Serenity â€“ The Art of Well Being at Pine Cliffs, the spa comprises 13 treatment rooms, whose signature therapies draw inspiration from the indigenous cultures, healing traditions, and ingredients of the Algarve. It is complemented by a spacious fitness center, called Pine Cliffsâ€™ Goes Active, bathed in natural light and well furnished with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment, free weights, a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, that indoor heated pool, and a range of daily activities and personal training.
Two life-sized, multi-functional wooden pirate ships are the centerpiece of a supervised children's village, called Porto Pirata, whose facilities also include a dedicated kids' swimming pool, a basketball court, a "racetrack" for toys on wheels, a bouncy castle, and mini-golf. Open seasonally for children aged 6 months to 8 years, Porto Pirata organizes a daily program of activities. Kids aged 8 to 12 years can take part in such activities as football (soccer), archery, arts &s; crafts, cricket and aqua-gym. Youth golf lessons, both group and private, are also available.
There are three options: the hotel, which has 217 rooms and suites with private terraces and stylish Portuguese-tiled headboards; Ocean Suites, which consist of 148 spacious, one- and two-bedroom apartments; and Ocean Residences, made up of 154 two- and three-bedroom luxury apartments with a fully-equipped kitchenette and laundry.
There are 11 cafes, restaurants, and bars, some open only seasonally, but offering everything from light fare to steaks and local seafood.
If you're looking for other resorts resorts in this region, check out our Tennis Map of Europeand for comparison's sake, also take a look at:
The hotel has 217 rooms and suites supplemented by 104 villas, apartments and townhouses within the resort. Rates vary seasonally. See web site for details.
Visit the website for current rates
Travel Instructions. The nearest airport is Faro Airport (FAO).
General Tourist Information. For general information about travel to Portugal, visit Tourism Portugal's Visit Portugal website.