For Brits and other Northern Europeans looking to escape dreary winter weather, the Algarve region of Portugal, on the southern coast of the country, has become a byword for sunny vacations with beautiful scenery, pristine beaches, perfect weather, and delicious just-pulled-from-the-ocean seafood. Then again, the area has long been prized by outsiders, going back to Roman times, not to mention when it was part of the Arabic Empire in the early Middle Ages. Moors settled here and established fruit orchards that are still extant in the local foothills.
The area’s deep-rooted Arabic influence is obvious throughout the region, including in an amazing house that stands right on the beach in tourist-friendly Praia de Luz, just an hour from Faro International Airport. Most striking within the 5,900-square-foot home are the ten different kinds and colors of marble, sourced not only from Portugal but also from Argentina, Brazil, India, and Russia.
But of course, it wouldn’t be Moroccan- or Arabic-inspired without a boatload of beautiful tiles. And indeed, they are used lavishly here. One of the wonderful things about natural stone floors and tiled walls, besides their beauty, is how easy it is to keep them looking gorgeous over decades and centuries, even in an unforgiving environment such as right off the ocean.
Beyond the majestic handcrafted front door, which is from Morocco and weighs a hefty 1,100 pounds, a decadently tiled double-height entrance hall has a fountain at its center beneath a soaring tiled rotunda. (Gotta love a house with the peaceful sound of running water!)
The public reception rooms are large and extravagantly embellished. Lapis-accented columns stand between the massive living room and the capacious dining room, while the kitchen is more understated despite its soaring ceiling and mosaic tile floor. Bedroom walls are covered in pastel damask silk, including the doors to the built-in wardrobes, which are fabulous!
There are four en-suite bedrooms, most of which have marble chosen to complement the silk wall coverings. The primary suite boasts a walk-in closet, while another bathroom offers a hammam-style sunken bathtub. There is also an annex for staff, guests, or perhaps an Airbnb that comprises a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and two bathrooms. All shutters and windows are made of African Kambala wood, known for its durability, and solar panels keep monthly bills reasonable.
Outside, anyone able to tear their eyes away from the ocean view can enjoy the beautiful garden, koi pond, and arrow-shaped swimming pool. A few steps away is the beach, and just a few more are the restaurants and shops of Praia da Luz, sometimes known as Little Britain for all the English tourists. Local golf courses are just five minutes away, and the house is just an hour from Faro International Airport.
The house, which sits on half an acre of land, is asking $13.5 million via Manuela Carvalho at NestSeekers.