Algarve Destination magazine March 2003.
SPREAD YOUR WINGS
Holiday amongst the king of the butterflies
Beautiful gardens, stocked with gorgeous flowers and shrubs such as bougainvillea and hibiscus provide the setting for Villa Borboleta. This peaceful villa, built in typical Portuguese style, truly lives up to its name since the gardens attract the King of the Borboletas – the Monarch Butterfly. Although not originally native to Portugal, Monarch Butterflies breed here abundantly and can be admired all year round. In the quiet residential area of quinta do Sol, close to the choice of restaurants and bars, beautiful white sandy beaches surrounded by spectacular cliffs and three outstanding golf courses – Gramacho, Pinta and Vale de Milho. The Algarve stretches from Vila Real de Santo António, on the Spanish border, to the most westerly point of Europe – Cabo St Vincente - with its impressive lighthouse. Along the 150km coastal road (EN125) or the recently completed motorway (A22) there are lots of small towns and interesting places. With its wonderful climate (3,200 sunny hours per heart of the popular old fishermen’s village of Carvoeiro , Villa Borboleta has recently been transformed to offer large comfortable bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. The villa offers a splendid ocean view, nice pool and satellite TV. Carvoeiro is more or less central on the Algarve’s southern coast and boasts a wide year), the ocean, fine beaches, unspoiled nature, breathtaking cliffs, friendly locals, a multitude of typical restaurants and excellent golf courses and other sport and leisure facilities, the Algarve can truly be described as next to ‘paradise on earth’ in all seasons. Doctors send patients with respiratory problems to the Algarve because the air is so pure. Even Sir Cliff Richard cannot resist the Algarve’s charms; he has become one of the region’s wine makers; his ‘Vida Nova’ wines are already very well-known in the UK.
Inside magazine June 2009.
KING AND QUEEN FOR A WEEK
QUALITY AND SERVICE
The Algarve is indeed a paradise for holidaymakers who can be split into four main groups in terms of their accommodation requirements – hotel andbed & breakfast, apartment or villa rentals and others such as campers or those who rent private rooms. All tourists have their own specific reasons for choosing the type of accommodation they prefer in relation to price, privacy, dates and availability, their social status and the kind of holiday they desire. With thousands of nice villas available in the Algarve the region attracts more and more people are opting for a selfcatering holiday in a private villa and the demand is increasing in this sector in the last couple of years.
The Sacred Privacy
The main reason why tourists prefer to rent a villa instead of staying in a hotel is the privacy they can enjoy. They have their own living space, their own swimming pool etc and nobody can interfere with their peace and privacy while they enjoy the good life under the Algarvian sun. Furthermore, when they want to entertain friends or family it is far more pleasant to be together in one villa than spread among hotel rooms, not to forget the pleasure of organizing a barbecue in a picturesque garden setting. The majority of villas are T2 (for four guests) and T3 (for six guests) but far bigger villas are also available.
More and more families or groups of friends like to spend their holidays together, especially the English, Germans, Spanish, Dutch, Americans, and Scandinavians who are in favour of this type of holiday as opposed to the French, Belgians and Italians. There are many good reasons for group holidays: an anniversary, a birthday, annual reunion, marriage celebration, golfing holidays. An example which illustrates this point was a mother who decided to gather together all her children and grandchildren “maybe for the last time” for her 85th birthday. A second example is a large family scattered in different places throughout the world who decided to meet once every five years so they rent a villa for a week of fun and celebrations. Golf clubs also have the option to rent a villa and bring their wives with them. While they are on the course the ladies can enjoy the good life around the pool, sightseeing or shopping. Parties of between 14 and 18 are nowadays the rule rather than the exception.
Most of the villas offer a high level of luxury so you can live like prices and princesses for your stay. Of course they need to tend to their daily chores such as shopping, cooking and some cleaning and then be free to tour the region and enjoy the regional cuisine at Algarvian restaurants. As most of the villas are under a management contract the villas are cleaned once a week, sheets and towels changed, the garden maintained and the pool cleaned. One could conclude that this type of holiday is the closest you can get to “living in paradise” and in that context some villas are appropriately named – Vila 7 Ceu, Vila Paraiso and Vila Cloud Nine.
Flexibility – The Magic Word
As guests become more and more demanding in recent years a brand new product has been developed in the villa rental sector – the self-catering large villa with hotel style service. Clients of various nationalities are willing to pay for the luxury of extra services to make life easier and their holiday more enjoyable. In other words they live like King and Queen in their own kingdom for a week or more. These extra services include a daily maid service, daily towel change and bathroom cleaning, poolside cleaning, regular changing of bed linen, garden and pool maintenance, practical and technical help from villa management to organize transport, sightseeing, watersports, horseriding, restaurant visits, choice of fine Portuguese wines and, last bit not least, co-ordinating banquets and buffets with the region’s top chefs. And this is not forgetting the birthday cake with candles and the chilled champagne! The logical outcome of increased services offered and the higher degree of flexibility the higher is the occupancy rate of the villa. For most of the villas offering these types of services bookings are normally between one and two years in advance and the demand is increasing every years. Unfortunately there is not a glut of top luxury villas in the Algarve. A few dozen are concentrated in the “Golden Tri-angle” and a few others elsewhere. You can, of course, find all this on the internet and it is worth remembering that all villas for rental in Portugal must be licensed under new laws.
Vila Borboleta in Carvoeiro
Vila Borboleta is a splendid villa offering breathtaking sea views. The villa is situated in a pleasant residential area only an 8-minute walk from the beaches of Praia Paraiso and Praia Carvoeiro. The villa has six large double rooms with en-suite bathroom. Two of the rooms have an adjacent bedroom which is ideal for families with children. The villa, which is fully licensed, sleeps a maximum of 15 people.
THE WELCOME “FOOD PACK” or “GROCERY PACK” STORY
A Spanish invention
When we went to Spain for holidaying at the end of the seventies, I remember we each time took an extra suitcase with us stuffed with what we called “elementary foodstuff” for surviving at least a couple of days. That was absolutely necessary as: a. we each time rented a villa in Palamos (Costa Brava) and as there was no grocery shop in the village we had to organise an expedition to the next village; b. as the shop was only open for a couple of hours per day we had to plan the visits very carefully. However that was not always possible as the one and only taxi available in the village was definitely not available all the time and c. the most important reason was that very often the most basic and elementary food products were simply not available !!!! Frequently there was no butter (manteiga); no sugar and no coffee on the shelves…. As we just entered “the golden age” (after the dark world war and after-world war period) at that time tourism became popular and Spain was a very beloved destination as there was plenty of sun and everything was quite cheap there at that time. So, in order to better organise things tourists looking ahead insisted the villa owners should “help” them by providing at the time of arrival the more elementary foodstuff (like milk, butter, sugar, coffee, bread, jam, etc.). And as such the “food pack” was invented ! Later on – but for about the same reasons – the food-pack was “imitated” in other holiday destinations as Portugal, Greece and Turkey.
The supermarket explosion
In the eighties and in the nineties all European countries had their “supermarket explosion”. That had everything to do with the after-war industrial revolution and consequently the better earnings and living conditions of the population. At the end of the nineties the mondialisation or globalisation became so important that about in every country one could find all existing products. And as a consequence “competition” between all brands and products became so important that prices came down together with the cost of living. That was the time that each country had its “supermarkets boom” based on 2 principles: the erection of large super and hypermarkets at the outskirts of the towns and the Installation of convenient stores in the centres of the towns and villages. Where in the beginning the expansion was only realised by the countries national chains later on a real international supermarket war started when foreign chains tried to conquer other countries’ markets. Big examples are the French chains (like Carrefour, Jumbo, Continente), the Germans (like Aldi and Lidl), the Americans (like Penney), the Swiss (like Makro and Metro), the English (like Iceland Overseas and Tasco) the Dutch with Albert Heijn, Zeeman, Kruitvat e.o. As a result of that impulsive evolution “shopping” became very normal and easy for everybody ! and consequently … food packs lost their interest and were no more needed.
Modern tourism requires modern approach
As society more and more “organised and structured” itself an avowed “segmentation” of the population appeared and each “segment” having its own needs and requirements. As such one can say that today society theoretically splitted up in
- very rich people (very high spenders
- prosperous people (high spenders)
- middle class people (average spenders)
- lower class people (low spenders)
In relation to that “spending behaviour” the accommodation and leisure sectors also splitted up and each of them specialised in their specific sector or niche. In practice we see the following phenomens in the sector:
- very rich and rich people: they rent spacious and extremely luxurious villas with all staff services included. Very often even the “chef” is hired and is taking care of the full catering organisation, waiter services included
- middle class people very often choose for external catering services, which can mean that a specialised catering company provides and serves the meals or the families prefer to explore the better and good restaurants in the area.
- low budget vacationers very often visit the typical local restaurants and like to organise BBQ’s.
For “exceptional” or “special” occasions it often happens that the accommodation owners foresee “appropriated services” like it is the case in our place
- in case of delay of the plane and as such provoquing a late arrival, automatically (free of charge) we foresee some snacks and a choice of beverages
- in case of a planned late arrival – and specially when there are children involved – we foresee (free of charges) some snacks and a choice of beverages.
- In case of a marriage party: at arrival time a champagne drink is offered by the house
About another Spanish story
Long time ago in every Spanish bar every consumer received automatically (and included in the consumption price) some “typical and local tapas” like olives, cheese, jamon, sausage, fish, etc. Everybody enjoyed and was very happy with that, Including the Dutch tourists who “confused” tapas with “a full meal” and insisted all the time for receiving more and more tapas…for free. Everybody knows the tale of the wine-jar: it went under and under till it broke…. And eventually the Spanish decided (25 years ago) that from now on tapas should be paid for. And that was the end of the free-tapas-story!