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Bijou Quinta Bonita, my new jewel in the Algarve

I encountered his wines during a visit to the Algarve region of southern Portugal. The main reason for the trip was to stay in a new hotel near Praia da Luz, but when the owner mentioned that the red she had poured to accompany my lunch had come from the Adega do Cantor - the Winery of the Singer - she had my full attention.

John Carter raises a glass with Chantelle Kortekaas and her partner Fraser, who run the Quinta Bonita hotel

Personal service: John Carter raises a glass with Chantelle Kortekaas and her partner Fraser, who run the Quinta Bonita hotel

Having been a visitor to the Algarve for close to 50 years, I recall when the young Cliff could be spotted in and around Albufeira, which had the advantage back then of having very few British visitors. However, I had no idea he had put down real roots in the region, planting the first vines at his Quinta do Moinho farm in 1997.

'Not only is he producing good wine,' explained my hostess, 'but his winery has become something of a tourist attraction. You should pay a visit.' It seemed a good suggestion, but at that moment I was concentrating on getting to know Quinta Bonita, the hotel that had brought me to my old stamping ground. A friend recommended I try it, claiming it was out of the ordinary. And he was absolutely right. Quinta Bonita is extraordinary.

Built as a family home in 1972, it was bought by its present owners nine years later. Work to transform it started at the end of 2009 and it opened as a sparkling hotel in June 2010.

Wine lover Sir Cliff Richard pours himself a glass of wine

Cheers: Wine lover Sir Cliff Richard

Quinta Bonita is run superbly by the owner's daughter, Chantelle Kortekaas, and her Australian partner Fraser, who is a brilliant cook. The house and its extensive grounds are on a hillside a little way inland from the resort of Praia da Luz, and to get there I collected a hire car at Faro airport and headed west along the A22 motorway.

And so began a memorable few days in a region I have known and appreciated for many years.

I first visited the Algarve before the airport and the motorway were built. I knew the area when beaches were used only for drying out fishing nets and when people came to their cottage doors to stare at the unaccustomed sight of a car - and a mad Englishman taking photographs of the scenery.

This is a region crammed with memories from working trips and many family holidays and, inevitably, my travels this time took me to old haunts, including the historic fortress at Sagres, originally constructed in the 15th Century, destroyed by Francis Drake in 1587 and rebuilt in 1793. 

It was here that Prince Henry - Henry the Navigator - is said to have established his school of navigation around 1415, and a huge circle of stones, a 'wind compass', laid out in the grounds of the fortress is cited as evidence of this.

The Portuguese call this bleak headland, towering above the Atlantic, 'o fim du mundo' - the end of the world - and it can seem especially so when the weather is blustery and overcast. Even when the sky is clear and the sun warm, as it was that day, the place has a special feel to it.

But this did not affect the seemingly suicidal fishermen, standing precariously on narrow ledges and casting their lines into the sea that raged over the rocks far below.

I also went to Armacao de Pera, where my late wife and I spent our last holiday together in 2006 - and there was, too, the enjoyment of new discoveries, including a pair of excellent restaurants. The first, Sitio do Forno, near Carrapateira on Portugal's east coast, was recommended by Chantelle and Fraser. The second, the Ancora at Burgau, I found myself.

Both provided superb food that was amazingly inexpensive. The quality was high, and the portions large.

The Quinta Bonita hotel's outdoor pool area

Take a dip: The Quinta Bonita hotel's outdoor pool area

Located among the dunes a little way from Carrapateira, Sitio do Forno provided a magnificent view, and would be best as a lunch location.

The Ancora was very busy the evening I was there (a large and jolly group of English golfers rather dominated the proceedings, to everyone's amusement) but service was brisk and friendly.

Restaurants are important when you are staying at Quinta Bonita, for the hotel provides only breakfast and lunch.

I suggested that, given Fraser's culinary skills, an occasional evening meal might be offered. As the hotel has only eight rooms, it would not be too difficult for everyone to dine in once, or possibly twice, a week.



I was invited to do so, and relish the memory of one of Fraser's specialities, slow-roasted pork, and the company of two pleasant people working hard to make their mark in the Algarve.

Quinta Bonita shows all the signs of becoming a firm favourite with people looking for personal service in an establishment that the hotel industry might describe as 'boutique'.

I prefer bijou because it is, truly, a jewel of a place.

Getting there

Seven nights at Quinta Bonita ( costs from £330 per person including car hire, breakfast, afternoon tea and a complimentary bottle of wine and gourmet fruit platter on arrival. The price excludes flights.

Flights to Faro cost from £142pp through British Airways ( and from £64pp with Monarch (

You can find details of Sir Cliff Richard's vineyard, Adega do Cantor at Quinta do Moinho, and its opening hours at

The Sitio do Forno restaurant is at Praia do Amado, Carrapateira. The Ancora is at 8650 Vila do Bispo, Burgau. 

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Lei nº. 144/2015, de 8 de Setembro

Em caso de litígio o consumidor pode recorrer ao:
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