I was very excited when I received an email from a small B&B where we had stayed last spring and it said that they had just hosted “in December [for] a four day stay a significant European Royal couple who expressed great pleasure at their quiet stay.” I wonder if it was William and Kate. How cool is that?
I don’t stay in fancy places, instead I look for small places with character. But I guess the new Royals are also looking for character and seclusion. This they did find at Rio Arade Manor House in Mexilhoeira da Carregacao in Algarve, Portugal. It is a lovely and small B&B run by a very nice Irishman, John O’Neil and his Portuguese staff.
The rooms are cozy and private. We were given a room with a private balcony which was completely sheltered from the outside world by a beautiful bougainvillea. The bathroom was a plain older style bathroom. There is a lovely small pool and places to sit and relax around it. The living room has a very comfortable couch and the big screen TV has about a million channels. The breakfast was generous and varied. Once you are inside, the outside world is shut off.
We also appreciated how we became friends as soon as we entered their establishment. They were willing to talk to us whenever we wanted to strike up a conversation and leave us alone when we wanted to come and go. John even loaned my husband his left handed golf clubs so he could go golfing, which is a must do in Algarve. They also gave us great suggestions to see the beautiful beaches. And because it is in a small village, there are two small convenience stores nearby where I was able to get drinks, fruit and snacks to take with us to the beach.
We ate at a wonderful restaurant in the village just a couple blocks away from the inn. I am so glad the staff at Rio Arade recommended that we eat at the O Alentejano Restaurant. It looks like a regular bar but the food was fantastic and Senhor Miguel soon became our friend. We ate their house specialty Grelhada Mista de Porco Preto- Mixed Grilled Black Pork Meat with Migas. It is the largest tray of all different cuts of pork chops I’ve ever seen. There must have been at least a dozen of them. Migas are a type of bread souffle. The food was so good, I wish my stomach was big enough to eat it all. One suggestion is that you don’t order for two people, only order 1 portion because it’s a lot of food. It could have easily fed our whole family.
Because we were there during the clasico- Real Madrid vs Barcelona, we soon became friends with the owner who actually sat down to watch the game with us. It seems to be the type of place where you become part of the family.
The funny thing was that I saw the Royal Wedding at the Rio Arade. So I think it is fitting that Will and Kate came there.