Living Armona: the Algarve’s new luxury lodging in the heart of Ria Formosa

A two-storey, three-bedroom house which has been built on Armona Island, in the heart of Ria Formosa is the first of four which will make up the new luxury holiday experience entitled ‘Living Armona’.

“It’s a combination between nature, peace, tranquility, good food, safety and a friendly community which you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere,” said Sílvia Carvalho, architect at Lux Projects which was in charge of building the first home.

In total, ‘Living Armona’ will feature four luxury homes, all of which will be available to rent.

The first house has already been completed and showcases the standard of excellence that the project aims to achieve.

It features a mezzanine, three bedrooms (one en-suite), a bathroom, a kitchen and a living room. Outside there is a terrace with an integrated jacuzzi, a hot and cold water shower and a fireplace. There is also a BBQ area and a Japanese-style garden, with beach sand and plants.

Said the architect, the house is “completely equipped and even boasts a wine cooler”.

It was built using thermally modified wood, which offers “increased durability, stability, lower maintenance costs and better insulation, even in the winter”. This helped bring the construction costs down to around €500,000.

Sustainability is another cornerstone of the project. The first house boasts a Class A energy efficiency label, and the kitchen counter is made out of eco-friendly resin.

“Environmental concerns are part of the company. One of our goals is to use recyclable materials whenever possible. We do not use anything made out of plastic or oil, because we want everything to be as natural as possible,” said Carvalho.

Another key aspect of the house is the amenities it will boast.

There will be a laundry service and a food delivery service with meals cooked by local restaurants. As the owner of the house owns a boat, there will also be the possibility to sail to Olhão and back. Other activities include dolphin watching, bird watching, jet-skiing, diving, and wakeboarding. Inside the house are two electric kick scooters which can be used free of charge.

But how was the developer able to build this new home on an island that is located at the heart of the Ria Formosa Natural Park?

“All new constructions are forbidden on the island. What we did was buy a pre-existing house, demolish it and build a new wooden infrastructure,” the architect explained.

The first house only became available to rent on September 15, but the feedback has already been “very positive”.

“We were receiving around 150 emails per day. Many people were interested in looking and asking for information, both Portuguese and foreigners,” said the architect, adding that most of the people who have stayed at the house are Portuguese, aged between 30 and 50 and with “some spending power”.

Three other houses are due to join the ‘Living Armona’ experience soon.

Said Carvalho, the licensing process has been awaiting approval from the local council since the start of 2019.

“We are talking about three first-line houses in fabulous locations. Two of them are adjacent buildings which will be demolished to make way for two wooden houses. The third will be different. The space and area will be larger, and the patio alone will be 500sqm,” she said.

However, the architect guarantees that the goal is not to create a massive development.

“Our motto is to respect nature,” she said, inviting those who have never been to Armona to visit it.

“You will be fascinated. People fly all over the world when they do not even know these locations so close to them. We have these islands which have as much or more quality as other countries,” she said.

Prices start at €500 per night. The house is also available for long-term rentals and artistic residences.

Bookings can be made through Facebook or Instagram (@livingarmona) or by email – [email protected]

Original article written by Maria Simiris for Barlavento newspaper.

Sílvia Carvalho / Photo: MARIA SIMIRIS)