CHRISTMAS IS just around the corner and now is the time to start making arrangements for your festive celebrations.
Does preparing Christmas Day lunch conjure up feelings of stress and represent your worst nightmare? Even when the lunch itself goes to plan, what about all the clearing up afterwards?
Well, if it all seems like just too much hard work and all that Christmas shopping has worn you out, why not check into a hotel over Christmas, enjoy a well earned break and have someone else do the cooking and cleaning up?
This Christmas, many quality hotels and restaurants in the Algarve are organising celebrations, special menus and mini-breaks: here are some of The Resident’s favourites:
Monte do Casal hotel in Cerro do Lobo, near Estoi
The hotel is offering a three-night Christmas mini-break, including a Christmas tree and gift in every suit and junior suit, stockings filled with goodies outside each door on Christmas Day, a five course Christmas lunch and a Boxing Day feast. The three-night stay is priced at 390 euros per person or 785 euros per couple. Bookings for Christmas lunch only are priced at 95 euros per person.
For more information call 289 990 140.
The Sheraton Algarve hotel in Albufeira
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner will be served at the Sheraton Algarve, each priced at 55 euros per person. You can choose from a selection of starters, including salmon, mackerel and mussels or steaming pumpkin and chestnut soup, followed by a wide selection of main courses, including, of course traditional turkey roast with all the trimmings.
For more information call 289 500 102.
Vila Vita Parc in Porches
Santa will be visiting Vila Vita Parc on Christmas Eve to hand out pressies to the children and there will be mulled wine and Christmas cookies for the parents to enjoy by the fireside in the hotel lobby at 4pm, followed by a gala dinner at 7pm. On Christmas Day there will be a traditional Christmas lunch at 1.30pm and, if you still have room, a festive dinner at 7pm.
* For more information call 282 310 161/2/3.
Vila Monte resort near Faro
Christmas Eve dinner will be served at 7.30pm (65 euros per person) and Christmas Day lunch (40 euros per person) at 12.30pm.
For more information call 289 790 790.
Estrela da Luz in Praia da Luz
At the Calabaza restaurant, within the Estrela da Luz resort, Oceânico will be hosting a Christmas Day buffet lunch with a welcome drink and selection of canapés. Included in the 60 euro price per person will be your welcome drink, house wine, water, soft drinks, Port and coffee during dinner – traditional roast turkey, leg of lamb or baked cod – as well as live music. Vegetarian options are also available on request.
However, if you fancy hosting your own Christmas party, but don’t have the facilities to do so, the Calabaza, Destino or Estrela do Mar restaurants from Oceânico are the perfect answer. Oceânico leisure will take the stress out of Christmas for you, closely working with you to produce a fabulous Christmas party.
For more information call 962 076 506.
Fantasia Bar in Boliqueime
For a traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings, head down to the Fantasia Bar in Boliqueime, where all are welcome to join in the festivities. The Fantasia Bar will also be hosting a Christmas fete on December 3.
For more information call 917 575 609.
The Hotel Garbe in Armação de Pêra
The Garbe will be hosting a 358 euro Christmas programme from December 23 to December 27, including carol singing, breakfast buffet with Bucks Fizz on Christmas Day and Bloody Marys on Boxing Day, special appearance from Father Christmas, a Boxing Day quiz and a Gala dinner on December 25.
The hotel is also offering vouchers for weekend breaks, activity courses, the Raj restaurant and beauty treatments if you are still at a loss as to what to by that special someone in your life.
For more information call 282 320 260.
QJ’s restaurant, at the Estalagem Quinta Jacintina between Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo
If you are thinking about a special lunch or dinner for your staff and friends, QJ’s five star luxury boutique hotel in the golden triangle is offering three Christmas menus for either lunch or dinner, priced at 35, 45 or 55 euros per person.
For more information call 289 350 090.
Monty’s Restaurant and Bar in Vale do Lobo
In December, Monty’s will be open for Christmas parties, with a special three course festive menu, priced at 23.50 euros per person, including many homemade delights and entertainment, provided by resident DJ Krazy Joe. Closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, open Boxing Day.
For more information call 289 356 079.
Rumours bar in Almancil
Rumours bar will be open every day except Christmas Day, from noon until 3pm over the festive period for lunches and 6pm until 9pm for dinner. The bar will be open all day. Rumours Christmas party will be held on Friday, December 22, at 7.30pm. Entry is free and there will be food, music and prizes for everyone.
For more information call 289 395 601.
There are also a number of charity Christmas events planned, including:
Second annual shoebox drive for the elderly
All you need to be Santa’s little helper is a shoebox, lots of goodies, festive wrapping paper and a little imagination. Fill an empty shoebox with individually wrapped presents for either a man, woman or couple and then deliver it to Castelo dos Sonhos in Silves or the Hotel Garbe in Armação de Pêra from now until December 1. Associations and groups can also join in.
For more information call Celia Mossman on 282 332 665.
Canil de São Francisco animal refuge in Loulé
A Christmas Dinner and Dance in aid of the Canil de São Francisco animal refuge in Loulé will be held at Pedras da Rainha, Cabanas on December 9, at 7.30pm.
For more information call Cynthia Reynolds on 281 324 795.
Swim for shoes
Have you ever wanted to swim in the Atlantic Ocean on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day and raise money for charity? With swim for shoes you can. Have a dip in the Atlantic and raise money for children, who are in care and in need of new shoes in the Algarve.
The swims will be on Christmas Day and New Years Day at 11am on the beach in front of the Hotel Garbe – go for a full swim or just a paddle – the choice is yours as long as part of you gets wet! Mulled wine will be served afterwards on Christmas Day and hot chocolate on New Years Day in the Hotel Garbe. Adults and children are all welcome to take part and, if you have family and friends staying over the festive season it will certainly be something different to do!
Help the donkey’s this yuletide
On Saturday, November 18, the Charity Shop Monte Carvoeiro in Praia do Carvoeiro will be serving free hot mulled wine and cookies. There will also be stalls selling Christmas goodies and gifts as well as a raffle and special offers. All proceeds will go to the Donkey Sanctuary.
Give the kids a Christmas to remember
On Saturday, December 16, the Rotary Clube de Silves will be hosting a Jazz by Candlelight event. Father Christmas will be in attendance, but on this occasion will be collecting presents from Jazz goers on behalf of Rotary to be distributed to the children’s home in Alvor and two in Portimão.
Finally, The Resident can offer the following advice on fairs, presents and cards
If there’s something sure to get you in the festive mood, it is visiting a good old Christmas bazaar. Try your luck on the tombola, enter the raffle, pick up some great gifts and buy all your Christmas cards and paper.
There are often lots of fun for kids too with plenty of traditional games on offer, not forgetting a visit from Father Christmas. Here is a selection of forthcoming fairs taking place in the Algarve over the coming days and weeks.
São Lourenço International School Christmas Fair, Sunday, November 19, 11am to 3pm.
For more information call Lesley on 918 146 065.
Christmas Bazaar at International School of the Algarve, Porches, Saturday, November 25, from 11am to 3pm. Free entry. The school choir will be singing carols at 12.30pm followed by Santa’s arrival at 1pm.
For more information call Karen on 289 367 073 or 912 294 513.
Network Spirit of Christmas Fair at the Hotel Garbe, Armação de Pêra, Friday, December 1, 11am – 5pm.
Christmas Fair in aid of Canil de São Francisco animal refuge in Loulé at the Old Market, Tavira on December 2, 10am to 2pm.
Christmas Fair at Barringtons, Vale do Lobo on Friday, December 8, 11am to 5pm.
St. Vincent’s Christmas Fayre at Fortaleza da Luz on Saturday, December 11, from 11am to 3pm. Free admission. Father Christmas will be in his Grotto and there will be carol singing with mulled wine to put you in the mood.
For more information e-mail [email protected]
The Friends of São Brás will be holding their annual Christmas Bazaar at the São Brás Cinema Gallery on Saturday, December 9, from 9am to 2pm. As well as home produce, plants, jewellery, gifts and crafts stalls, there will be a boutique and tombola. There will also be an opportunity to buy Unicef Christmas Cards. Entrance fee is a euro, which includes coffee and biscuits.
Fourth Christmas Fair at the CLCC in Portimão on Saturday, December 16, 3pm to 10pm. The Gabriella Choir will be singing carols at 5pm and 8pm.
For more information call Angela on 936 384 275
Orders are being taken for bespoke handmade Christmas cards at Bookworms in Albufeira, from three euros each. For personalised cards, 48 hours notice must be given, but a small supply of cards with no special message are now available. Bookworms is located on the Santa Eulalia road, 100 metres from the ‘globe’ roundabout in Albufeira.
For more information call David on 289 543 576.
Hotel Algarve Casino, Praia da Rocha, Portimão – Restaurante Amendoeiras
Tel: 282 402 000, Fax: 282 402 099, Email: [email protected], Website: www.solverde.pt
December 25 – Christmas Luncheon
12:30 PM – Welcome Cocktail
1 PM to 5 PM – Lunch
Live music with dancing
Shrimp salad with green asparagus tips, tropical fruit and tartar sauce
Chestnut broth with noodles and red beans
Sole delicacies in rolls of mousse of fish on cover of spinaches
grilled slice of stone bass, endives and basil sauce
Stuffed turkey with chestnuts
Roast veal leg, yorkshire pudding, horseradish sauce
Selection of wines and champagnes
Price: €50 per person, Please reserve to avoid disappointment
December 31 – Restaurante Amendoeiras
Reveillon with dinner and dancing
Price: €130 per person, Please reserve to avoid dissapointment