Sometimes you come across something on your hunt for a hotel or bungalow and you stop dead in your tracks. Quinta das Faias, and the Camelia Cottage had that effect on me. I looked at the pictures and just got this feeling of "we'll be happy here" and booked.
We were contacted by the owner, Felipe, to pay for our advance and looked forward to our stay. Upon arrival, we were taken to the cottage through the entire Quinta, which is an impressive estate with several main buildings, including a chapel, another, slightly larger cottage, to our small hideaway, surrounded by seemingly endless gardens.
The first surprise awaited us as we stepped inside: a jar of homemade jam, fresh eggs from the Quinta's own hens, and a loaf of freshly baked bread, wrapped in a towel. Just the look of that made me feel right at home.
The cottage is quite small but was perfect for the three of us. Our son's bed was made from the couch which easily transforms into a queen size bed, while we stayed in the master bedroom. There's more than enough closet space. The bathroom is small, one sink only, but hey, it's a cottage, not a villa. Plenty of hot water. We'd be fine. There's a fireplace, which we used in the first days, because the cottage hadn't been used in a while and it was quite cool (the bricks in the walls take a while to heat up, even though there are three radiators), but with a fire burning, we looked forward to our vacation.
After a few days, the weather allowed us to sit outside for the first time (we were there at the end of the year), and we were able to enjoy the garden. The views are stunning, really beautiful, out to the ocean and the Desertas. You'll get some amazing sunrise shots if you get up early enough...
There are ample amenities, coffee & tea maker, a micro, oven, modern electric stove, fridge with a small freezer compartment, even a dishwasher. There are a TV and Wifi (although it didn't work while we were there. Thanks to EU roaming, we didn't need it). Sadly no iron and ironing board, but you can lend one if needed. We would've appreciated a bit more bath toiletries, so don't forget to bring your own shampoo and shower gel. Also, while you get plenty of towels for the bathroom, there are no beach towels. We were able to borrow some, but if you get there in the summer, you might be better advised to just bring your own.
Drawbacks? The cottage isn't always in use, and when we arrived, it had been idle for a while. There was a moldy smell throughout the building. We aired and heated that out in a couple of hours. Probably not even an issue in the summer months.
We paid the rest of our stay via wire transfer to Felipe who came by to check in on us every few days. We got some extra eggs (fresh farm eggs, I'm telling you: Wow!) and extra firewood.
We were really well taken care of and enjoyed our stay at the Quinta das Faias. I warmly recommend you to try it out if you want something less expensive, private and flexible to allow you to come and go as you please (you get your own set of keys to the gates) 24x7, you can cook as much, or as little as you want.