Other Event Venues
 
 
 
10 things you will need to know if you are planning an event in The Algarve

Discover the Algarve: Europe newest meetings and events destination
A quick scan across the passenger profile aboard the aircraft I was travelling on from London Gatwick to Faro and you will think that all doting British parents and freelance grannies were escaping from a plague in London to seek refuge in the Algarve. This was my first visit to the region and despite the company I was keeping, I was also heading the same way but with a different mission. The Algarve is taking business meetings and events very seriously indeed. The destination has plans to compete with other European MICE destinations in order to gain a fair slice of the business.

Trip in, and I will not argue with anyone who tells me that this is a popular family and an over 50s destination. However, the scenery from the airport assured me that the Algarve will live up to its reputation as a beach and golf destination; I was immediately excited to see what it had to offer in terms of business meetings and events.

As soon as I got myself into a conversation with the locals, I quickly worked out that the Algarvians cannot quite agree among themselves about the number of days that the sun shines yearly in the Algarve; but whatever the exact number of days it was that the sun shines in the Algarve, I was not going to let that hamper my mission. The fact is that Portugal’s most popular and cosmopolitan region is going business meetings and events crazy and I was there to explore what it had to offer. One thing for sure is that although the Atlantic may look inviting, its temperatures aren’t, so pack some lightweight sweaters and scarves they would come in handy.

Eurozone Algarve has a wealth of natural and man-made attractions, from superb beaches and dramatic scenery to some of the best golf courses and marinas in Europe. The region's capital is the City of Faro, and other main cities include Albufeira, Lagoa, Lagos, Loulé, Olhão, Portimão, Quateita, Silves, Tavira, and Vila Real de Santo António. Smaller summer retreats are Vilamoura, Praia da Rocha, Armação de Pêra, Alvor, Monto Gordo, Tavira and Sagres.

For the purpose of my MICE adventure, I stayed in Vilamoura near the City of Faro, explored the Algarve by sea while visiting Lagoa, Lagos and Sagres.

The City of Faro is the gateway to the Algarve. It has about 200km of dramatic golden coastline, protected natural parkland, and a whole host of historical, archaeological and architectural gems together with some of the best recreational facilities available in Western Europe

Lagoa is an ideal holiday destination. If you like sunny beaches, it has Praia Grande, Praia do Carvalho or Praia Nova. There are also cultural tours to the Iglesia Matriz do Lagoa (a historic Church) or the Convent of Nuestra Señora do Carmo.

Lagos, on the other hand, is one of the most visited cities in the Algarve and Portugal, due to its variety of tourist-friendly beaches, bars, restaurants, and hotels, renowned for its vibrant summer nightlife and parties. Historically, Lagos is the centre of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, frequent home of Henry the Navigator, historical shipyard and, at one time, centre of the European slave trade. Lagos is also home to some Algarve’s friendliest dolphins! Every visitor must drop by to say hello to them.

Sagres is a small town located in the municipality of Vila do Bispo. It has a surface of 34.28 km² and a population of about 2000 in habitants. The Portuguese Age of Discovery is located at Sagres Point. Prince Henry the Navigator (1934-1460) also lived and died in Sagres.

By the end of my visit, I think it would be fair to say that the Algarve has a predominantly Mediterranean climate, influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. Spring arrives early, long hot summers are tempered by cooling sea breezes, autumn lingers late into the year and even in winter, and sunny days are the norm rather than the exception.

Nevertheless, please bear in mind that it does actually rain in the Algarve and it rained throughout my stay during late September. The good thing is that I was not visiting the Algarve to assess its climate but to see how MICE gurus can benefit from their facilities and services and I must say that was pretty successful. Here are some choices to consider:

Europe’s Newest Meetings and Events Destination
A business meetings professional arrives in the Algarve, a region most famous for its golf and beaches with a different mission from its fame…
Lyssiemay Annoh explores the facilities it has on offer for its latest aims.

PLEASE NOTE:
A selection of Meetings and Events Destinations in the Algarve
While we have visited and seen their events facilities as adequate, events organisers are advised to agree the level of customer service they expect for their specific events as these may vary and do not come as standard.

City of Faro
Pestana Vila Sol Golf and Resort Hotel*****
The very spacious Pestana Vila Sol hotel is situated only 5 minutes from Vilamoura, one of the noblest areas in the Algarve. It has ample facilities and it is set within 20 minutes driving distance from the Faro International Airport and 10 minutes from the elegant Marina de Vilamoura and the famous Vilamoura casino. The resort is home to the world-renowned 27-hole golf course was ingeniously designed by British architect Donald Steel in order to preserve the local vegetation and topographic features.

Meetings and Events Features:
480m2 Ballroom (divisible into 6 private rooms, with natural light and 5 meter height ceiling)
5 smaller meetings rooms
195m2 Foyer
500m2 covered terrace

Accommodation
189 large rooms comprising of 10 classic rooms, 37 superior rooms, 24 classic garden rooms, 69 superior garden rooms, 45 garden suites, 3 Vila Sol suites and one very adequate presidential suite.

The hotel has adequate meetings and events space and facilities to cater for most activities whatever the style, ranging from banqueting through to conferences and product launches.
Nevertheless, I was particularly mesmerized by the exquisite private events space at the Club House with its drop down glass doors allowing nature to marry with the room. The particular events space with add a touch of glamour to exclusive events such as corporate dinners, weddings and other deluxe private events.

The grounds of the hotel are spectacular with an outdoor and indoor swimming pool. There is a small gym/fitness centre. Internet access is however not free in the rooms.

The luxurious 18th Century Pousada de Estoi

For something more intimate and quaint, from the Pestana Hotels management; the luxurious 18th Century Pousada de Estoi could be ideal. Located 10 km from Faro, Estoi is a small village situated between São Brás de Alportel and Faro.

There is a story behind the picturesque Pousada de Faro, Palácio de Estoi which adds to its charm of hosting special events. As it goes, the Palace which once belonged to José Francisco da Silva, Viscount of Estoi was opened in 1909. It was later purchased by the Town Hall of Faro in 1977 and in 1987, it was considered a property of public Interest.

Home to a health club where guests can enjoy a Turkish bath, sauna, tropical showers and heated indoor pool with a whirlpool, the Pousada is designed to offer guests an environment of high quality in the most incandescent area of the country.

Accommodation
Each room is spacious and equipped with modern facilities like LCD TV, internet and satellite TV. The rooms on the higher level have their own private balconies from where you can see the Faro city and the ocean.
Facilities for meetings and Events
The biggest room can host up to 200 persons in theatre style and wedding organizers would be delighted to know that the Palácio de Estoi has its own private chapel. The property also hosts lunches, dinners and wedding breakfasts on its terrace and poolside.

The Brand New Conrad Algarve
Tel: + 351 289 350 762

There is a brand new Conrad Hotel & Resort in the Algarve designed for the savvy and sophisticated traveller.

“We are extremely proud of this landmark resort, where the Conrad brand’s signature style and service standards have been combined to create an exceptional guest experience” - John T A Vanderslice, Global Head of Luxury and Lifestyle brands for Hilton Worldwide

Set in the Ria Formasa National Park, the hotel also offers event organizers natural surroundings, innovative facilities and flawless service, with the versatility of a ballroom and meeting rooms to accommodate a range of different event set-ups. The Conrad Algarve’s event spaces are dynamic and flexible, making them ideal for hosting a memorable event.

The hotel will appoint a personal meeting host to ensure that your event runs smoothly and provide catering services in the gardens or in the pool area and terraces if you desire. A customized menu will be tailored for you and your particular event.

There is a private parking area, with 128 parking spaces, available to all hotel guests and visitors.

Meetings and Events facilities available:
Ballroom with:
• Panoramic view and private access to the lush gardens.
• Natural daylight and comfortably accommodates up to 300 guests. I
• Flexible and adaptable to individual events, it can be split into two rooms.
Oliveira room, the largest single space after the Ballroom with
• Total area of 120 m2, can be transformed into 3 independent rooms.

Six spacious meeting rooms all with natural light and modern design

All meeting rooms come equipped with state-of-the art audio visual technology and are flexible and adaptable. They are large enough to host a major launch, suitable for intimate meetings too. Other areas of the hotel, including the pleasant, extensive grounds, can be effortlessly transformed for your event, from social to business spaces, and back again.

The hotel offers a collection of suites, the pinnacle being the Roof Garden Suite. The Roof Garden Suite features, amongst many other luxurious features, a plunge pool in the lounge, as well as direct private access to the spa and your own private host also ideal for exclusive events.

Location
Unspoilt Quinta da Lago, renowned for its internationally famous golf courses, and fine dining restaurants, many of which have been awarded Michelin stars. There are charming shopping arcades, with the finest in international designer wear, and many unique pieces by local craftsmen and designers.
The area has golden sandy beaches and a short distance away from the Ria Formosa Park. The wildlife reserve is home to a range of bird species; some of them endangered, and is one of the natural wonders of Portugal.

Accommodation
154 equally-spaced guestrooms; all of which feature bright and airy balconies, a separate bath and rain shower, and seductive views of the destination and the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

Airport transfer and beach shuttle services are available at the hotel.

Tivoli Collection - Victoria
The imposing 5 Star Tivoli Hotel Victoria is the newest hotel addition to the Vilamoura area of the Algarve. Set within a prime location overlooking the sweep of the championship golf course also named Victoria; this luxury hotel has 280 rooms and suites, five restaurants and bars, and a special Spa for treatments and general relaxation.

Conference and Events Facilities:
Total 900m2 of 8 rooms equipped with latest technology
Reception facilities for groups
Direct access for coaches
Exclusive area for secretarial services
Support for large scale events
WiFi in public areas and meeting rooms
Business Centre with free ADSL line
Digital signposting to guide delegates
Valet Parking

Location:
Overlooking the fairways of the Victoria Golf Course, approximately 3 km north of Vila moura Marina and 20 km from Faro International Airport.

Other Services:
Banyan Tree Gallery
Valet Parking Service
Underground parking for 173 vehicles
24 Hour Medical Assistance

Lagoa

Quinta dos Vales

Award winning Quinta dos Vales offers a unique rustic venue with vineyards spread over 30 hectares.
Located in Estômbar, within driving distance to the beach, concerts, exhibitions and some of the best golf courses, it makes an ideal location for any team building or team fun event which includes wine-tasting.

They offer "The 4 Seasons" where private executive meetings can be held or the Sala de Prova for conference use and meetings may range from a single day event to a five day event with Farmhouses available for overnight accommodation for guests.

More about Quintos dos Vales in our Food and Drink section

If you opt for Sagres, you would be delighted with its unspoilt rural location. Sagres is part of a dramatic coastline once explored by Christopher Columbus and Henry the Navigator, two key players in the Age of Discovery. Henry’s legacy encompasses a maritime school out on the promontory of this rugged shore, lined with whitewashed houses, hilltop villages and sleepy fishing towns. The beachy backdrop makes it heaven of the watersports variety; some of Europe’s best surf washes up on these sands. The rest of the Algarve is more developed, but this remote corner has a national park to protect it – the Costa Vincentina runs up the West Coast and not much gets in its way. In Sagres itself, the Moors left their mark and there’s lots of architecture to admire.

MICE places of interest in Sagres:

Memmo – Baleeira Hotel – Vila de Sagres

Design hotel Memmo Baleeira has two meeting rooms Memmo Scape room and Memmo Land Room with capacities of 130 and 140 persons respectively. Both rooms have natural light and wireless broadband internet and overlook the ocean.

The hotel describes itself as the place where comfort lies in the small details and the sea fades into the horizon.
Facts:
105 standard rooms
33 Memmo Suites
5 Duplex Suites
1 junior suite
3 treatment and massage rooms
Heated indoor pool
Turkish bath
Sauna
Gym
The Martinhal Beach Resort and Hotel
Sagres’ finest luxury family resort is also opening its doors to the MICE business. Martinhal has the advantage of being cleverly positioned overlooking the Martinhal beach. Close to the historic town of Sagres, it is also set within the protected natural park. It is primarily a luxury family resort with a hotel, apartments, villas and luxury mansions for anyone who needs the extra space.

However, it is in its 38-bedrom five star hotel, all with sea views that it intends to host business and leisure events. It is anticipated that guests or delegates will occupy all the 38 rooms and use the beautifully appointed lounge and restaurant space with fabulous sea views to host their events.

Executive Traveller is of the view that the Martinhal Beach Resort and hotel would be ideal for weddings, corporate retreats and small functions involving leisure activities.

Fun and thrill
Autódromo International Algarve – Tel: +351 927 244 694
For very large outdoor or fun and thrill events, the Kartódromo international Algarve in Lagos is your answer. Boasting the best karting circuit in Europe, they can host car launches and offer corporate events such as driving experience, hot laps, track days and races.

Tips from around the web

Faro Airport Information

How to get to Faro

Learn about The Algarve and Portuguese wine history

 

1. The Algarve is in Portugal
2. Most people speak English
3. The Climate is favourable
4. Nature comes naturally
5. The sea is your biggest host
6. Golf is the biggest leisure activity in the region
7. Most hotels have an in-house spa
8. Good food and wine come as standard
9. The destination offers a wide range of incentive programmes
10. Business is how you plan it to be

Airlines travelling from London to the Faro (Algarve)
British Airways from London City/London Heathrow
British Midlands from London Heathrow
Brussels Airlines from London Heathrow
Easyjet from London Gatwick
Germanwings from London Heathrow
Lufthansa from London Heathrow
Monarch Airlines from London Gatwick
Ryan Air from London Gatwick or Stansted
Tap Portugal from London Heathrow/Gatwick
Thomson Airways
First Choice Holidays

Read about other destinations

How to plan a successful event – Things you need to know

Abu Dhabi Business Essentials

Danish Meetovation for inspiration

Other MICE Destinations

< back

Executive Traveller 2003