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- Karen Brown's Recommendation:
As you explore the Algarve, it seems that massive high-rise condominiums have sprung up along every stretch of oceanfront, but fortunately, you can still find a few secret, intimate little resorts. A prime example is the idyllic Boutique Hotel Vivenda Miranda, nestled on a bluff above the sea to the west of Lagos. You enter into a reception area decorated in tones of pastel-peach colors, a color scheme repeated in the lounge and dining room, which has picture windows looking out to the terrace, swimming pool, and beyond to the sea. You will be captivated by the view from the terrace—it is gorgeous. A foreground of green shrubbery, tidy pathways lined with rocks, colorful beds of flowers, carefully planted trees, and lush green lawn enhance the blue of the water even further. A path along the bluffs brings you to a trail that leads down to a wide, white-sand beach. Every spacious, nicely decorated guestroom has an ocean view and a private deck or terrace from which to enjoy it. The hotel will give you a map for walking into Lagos along the bluffs. Owner Urs Wild, who grew up in Switzerland and worked for many years for Sheraton, bought this property from a British lord who had let it fall into disrepair.