Review: Moinho das Marés, Fuzeta, Algarve

The USP

A former tidal mill, Moinho das Marés has a unique location set amongst the wetlands and salt pans in the Rio Formosa Natural Park at the edge of the village of Fuzeta. The private grounds of the salt pans can be accessed with a key from the hotel and hold flocks of flamingos.

The architecture

A complete ruin, owner Margarida and German husband Jens set to restore the tidal mill with help of regional architecture firm Travângula. The €400,000 restoration was done using traditional techniques and local laborers. Moinho das Marés opened in June 2016 with just five rooms and a tapas restaurant. Everything reflects the magic of the Eastern Algarve: whitewashed walls reflecting the sunshine and bright light, local stone and tiles and the omnipresent wetlands with the tide coming in and out. In the restaurant, the former millstone still can be admired.

The interiors

Interiors, mostly by the owners, reflect the simple lifestyle of the Algarve without being overly rustic or traditional.

The rooms

Rooms too are in a similar aesthetic as the architecture and overall design. Mainly decorated in white, they come with (heated) tiled floors, air conditioning,  a flat-screen satellite TV (plenty of German channels) and a mini refrigerator with free bottled water. We suggest leaving the TV as it is, switch off the air conditioning, and open the windows to the sound of the tide coming in and the seagulls squeaking. Free Wi-Fi available.

Rooms number 4 (where I stayed) and number 5 are the largest and share a patio with a privacy screen and creek views. Combined, these make a great family apartment. Room number three has no terrace, but has views and the rooms number 1 and 2 have a small terrace in front of the entrance door (all rooms have private entrances).

The bathrooms 

White metro tiled bathrooms have walk-in rain showers. My bathroom had a small window with views 9out, not in). No amenities, so b-y-o.

The originals

Portuguese owner Margarida and German husband Jens are locals. Margarida’s grandfather acquired the tidal mill in 1920. Although it never functioned as such, several worker families from the salt company lived in the building until the 1990s when it was completely abandoned. In 2006 plans commenced to restore the mill and it took 10 long bureaucratic years to come into fruition.

The crowd 

This quiet place is something for couples and solo travellers to enjoy the zen atmosphere. Kids -although welcome- seem out of place here. Switch off your mobile and read a book on the rooftop terrace enjoying the water, sun and the birds.

Amenities

Basically there are none, other than the restaurant.

Wining & dining

Tapas are available from 16:00 sourced from local ingredients in the restaurant and on the terrace. During the rest of the day snacks are available. There are plenty of (fish)restaurants in the village within a few minutes’ walk. During my visit in September there was no breakfast served (also some pastelarias can be found in the village), but the owners planned to start serving breakfast from this month.

Location, location, location

A few minutes walk to the Fuzeta-Moncarapacho train station. Also, 10-15 minute walk to the harbor from where the ferry and private water taxis bring you to unspoiled beaches in the Ria Formosa Nature Park. All of the (Eastern) Algarve can be easily reached -Faro Airport a half hour drive- and there is free parking on-site.

Children

Welcome (though see above). Extra beds can be placed in the larger rooms, though there are no extra facilities.

Pets

Not allowed.

Accessibility

Room number 4 can be accessed by people with reduced mobility, and so can the restaurant.

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