Macdonald Monchique Resort & Spa – Portugal Honeymoon in the Hills

February 3, 2017
  • our review
  • the property
  • SPA
  • restaurants
  • location & Amenities

At First Glance

​Travel down the A2 freeway from Lisbon, passing through the beautiful cork groves of the Alentejo, and in about two hours time you will climb the interior mountain range of Serra de Monchique. The changes of the beautiful Portuguese landscape are quite noticeable, even within that short time span.

Chasing the last rays of sunlight around each twisting bend, dim headlights managed to find our ultimate path to MacDonald Monchique Resort & Spa. Needless to say, we were excited to begin three days of relaxation in the hills.

Entering the lobby in an exhausted and disheveled state, we were greeted by a surprisingly monolithic structure, monotone in color, and devoid of what one thinks of classical elegant touches at a 5 star resort. Fine by us, we actually enjoy a modern design aesthetic with clean lines!

aerial view of MacDonald Monchique

The resort's outer shell holds onto its original design heritage - it was once a medical wellness facility, now transformed into a mountain spa retreat.

foyer of MacDonald Monchique Resort

Although tired from a long drive, we were happy to indulge the enthusiastic bellman, Figaro, as he escorted us to our room and described the intricate layout of the hotel. It's a sprawling complex seemingly built into the mountain side. Hide and go seek anyone?

The hotel is broken up into 3 connected blocks. To enter one block from the next, you must traverse using either the stairs or elevator. Needless to say, using two elevators, passing through two foyers, and five stories later, we reached our room. It sounds like a giant labrynth, but only takes a few laps of the hotel to become acquainted and get a sense for where each amenity is located. 

Getting Acquainted

December in the Algarve means relatively empty hotels and resorts. Unfortunate for us, as the electric lock to our door had run out of batteries and we were locked out of our room! The staff dealt with the problem very efficiently, and the mishap turned a planned night of 'rest from a long day driving' into an enjoyable evening of drinking MON-jito cocktails in the Mezzanine bar with the night manager.

We've always held the philosophy: to get a true sense of any hotel one must chat with all levels of employees from management on down.

Monjito - A Must Try!

One specialty from the bar is the Monjito, an obvious play on words from mojito. They use local Monchique water, known for its higher 9.5 pH level compared to normal tap water and said to have healing properties.

The Verdict

Outdoor nature enthusiasts seeking the tranquility of a mountain resort will find solace at MacDonald Monchique. Accessible hiking trails along with stunning Algarve beaches a short 20 minute drive south means you have the best of both worlds - sun & sand along with stunning views. Monchique is about relaxation and indulgence rather than trying to cram as much busy tourist activities as possible into your vacation.

Each suite is outfitted with a fridge, kettle and coffee machine, making it feel more like a well equipped apartment than a typical hotel room. We think its the perfect opportunity to head down to the nearby town of Monchique, and hit up their local market for some olives, bread, cheese, and a bottle of wine! Take in the panoramic views from your suite while soaking in the Algarve sun.   

Overall, time spent at MacDonald Monchique Resort & Spa was relaxing, and we found few faults at this mountain spa retreat in Portugal.

Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this hotel review, believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

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