Your vacation, your stay abroad, should be a time of relaxation. Offering the occasional surprise, preferably pleasant. The accommodations clean and comfortable, the surrounding neighbourhood a nice place to be, whether close to the beach or to the village, to tennis courts or golf courses. A relaxed vacation: That’s what the Carvoeiro Clube Group is all about. And has been for forty years.
The Algarve: The name alone has a nice ring to it. Sunny beaches come to mind, white villas and blue tiles, Mediterranean flair with a Moorish touch, grilled fish and ‚frango piri-piri’. A certain richness comes to mind, of sights and attractions. From Vila Real de Santo António, the former royal residence in the east, all the way to Sagres and its spectacular Cabo de São Vicente at the south-western tip of our continent. There is plenty of variety in between as the salt fields and sandbanks surrounding Faro and Olhão transform into the reddish cliffs further west. And insiders know that it’s only a short drive from the beaches and the sea to the countryside, secluded mostly and sometimes downright enchanted.
Carvoeiro is, strictly speaking, not the centre of the Algarve. But then again somehow it is. With the high-rises of Portimão und Armação de Pêra a safe distance off, the lovely houses and villas here seem to blend into the surrounding greenery, to belong. Centuries of wind and rain have cut deep ravines into the coastal landscape. Gentle hills end in vertical drops as they reach the sea. The beaches here are romantic, the cliffs quite high and the caves impressive. A place to spend one’s vacation. Maybe even to call home.
This last thought is not entirely new. Over the centuries, aristocrats from Portugal and abroad have chosen the Algarve for their summer get-away. Townspeople from Lisbon and Porto followed, then foreigners from Northern Europe’s cooler regions. What they shared was a love for this region, financial means and the passion to break new ground, take a risk.
Carvoeiro in the seventies: A quiet fishing village – and as such an insider tip amongst selective vacationers and Portugal fans in general. Many a deserted building down in the centre, most side streets mere cart tracks, unpaved, narrow and bumpy. Stone walls and stately portals, once tokens of prosperity, were left to decay when the peaceful revolution, on April 25, 1974, changed everything.
It was in the early seventies that Klaus and Dorothea Moeller laid the foundation for what was to become Carvoeiro Clube. They bought a plot of
land, halfway between Sesmarias and the cliffs, barely two miles from Carvoeiro’s small fishing harbour. Built a home for themselves to live in. Friends back home in Germany caught on to the idea. So the Moellers bought more land, built more houses. To this day, the small urbanizaçãoes dating back to those early days speak of a love for the Algarve. No high-rises, no allowances to architectural efficiency. The houses unobtrusive instead, rising two storeys at most, white of course and playful in a subdued, typically Portuguese way. Architectural personalities reflecting their owners. Lots of green, trees and lawns, but also bushes and hedges – for privacy. And because it looks and feels nice.
It is this gentle, respectful development initiated by the Moellers that the Carvoeiro Clube Group has subscribed to since its establishment in 1982. The small resorts established under their leadership have aged well: the Algarve Club Atlantico a little eastward, Monte Dourado overlooking Carvoeiro beach, Palm Gardens, Monte Carvoeiro and Quinta do Paraiso – not to forget the Carvoeiro Tennis Club and golf courses Gramacho und Pinta, reflecting the owners’ passions.
It is no coincidence that property management has been the kingpin of the service portfolio from the very start, for the Moellers and certainly for the Carvoeiro Clube Group. To build a house is a fairly short undertaking, its upkeep a permanent endeavour. The coastal climate takes its toll, buildings require maintenance, gardens and pools need constant care. For Andreas Stocker, the mission of his company is thus clear and simple: „For us, every property, every building with its natural environment represents a value that ought to be preserved.“ Neither is it a coincidence that, at the Carvoeiro Clube Group, property management and rentals go hand in hand. Because, ultimately, it is the people, owners as well as guests, that bring real estate to life.
It’s all about people is a credo Patricia Buerer lives by. As the firm’s CEO, she sees a vital success factor in the men and women behind the scene, the housekeepers and handymen, the colleagues at the receptions and in the office, dedicated to getting things done.
„A strong team is simply essential. It’s the people up front and in the back office that make it all happen.“ Qualities to be demonstrated consistently day in day out include absolute reliability, perseverance and a treasure trove of experience accumulated over the years.
Which also means that there is no sure formula for tomorrow’ success – beyond the credo that the customer is king. Every day is unique, and ‚Can’t do’ is a no-go. „We want our guests to feel at home here even if they do not know their way around yet,“ Patricia insists. A rental car for three days, a shuttle from the airport, a few hours on the tennis court or golf course, a reservation at a special restaurant? „The many small things, taken care of reliably by a dedicate team – that’s the backbone of our company.“ And an assurance to owners that their valuable property is in good hands.
Not surprising, then, that there is a certain tendency for Carvoeiro Clube Group guests to become regulars. Usually staying at ‚their’ Presa de Moura apartment, for instance – except for the time they are joined by friends and opt for one of the spacious villas at the Quinta do Paraiso resort. Or preferring, for themselves, the secluded location of the Quinta do Algarvio on the way to Ferragudo, but booking for their youngsters an apartment on Monte Dourado – downtown, so to speak. Or treating themselves to an extended weekend at the Vivenda Miranda Boutique Hotel, the iconic historical residence perched high on the cliffs just outside Lagos.
It is not unusual, also, that these regulars sooner or later envision their own apartment or even villa somewhere in the Carvoeiro area. Which brings us back to reliability, perseverance and experience – and the company’s roots. The team at Carvoeiro Clube Real Estate can make such dreams come true. They have recently opened a casual meeting point at the Apolónia Supermarket in Lagoa, both for informal brainstormings and for ambitious ideas.
When you ask Algarve friends for the best season to take some time off at Portugal’s southern coast, don’t expect consensus. Now, in autumn, things have calmed down. The days are bright and crisp, the evenings balmy and the sea is warm. In spring the water will be quite refreshing, but the green will be greenest and sky as blue as can be. Nowadays, the streets of Carvoeiro come alive even in winter. Because the sun here is surprisingly strong when snow and sleet reign up north. And more and more restaurants and shops keep their doors open all year around.
For the Carvoeiro Clube Group, autumn 2022 is a very special season. „Our team is celebrating the 40th anniversary of our company these days, together with our owners and guests“, explains Patricia Buerer. Much has changed over these forty years. „To have been a part of this change, to have been able to contribute, is very rewarding. And a strong incentive to push ahead.“