Casa Ai is a traditional townhouse in one of the many narrow, winding lanes of the old town of Portimão, the largest city in Portugal’s western Algarve region. The architect Joanna Pinto has transformed this just 2.4-metre-wide house into a surprisingly bright holiday home that is both minimalist and comfortable at the same time. Light floods the rooms through glass doors and a skylight above the staircase. You enter the house via the kitchen, which – with its blue and black patterned tiles – is a counterpoint to the upper, all-white rooms. A marble staircase leads to the bedroom on the first floor, in which a “floating” bed occupies the entire width of the house. The bathroom is housed within a cube with satined glass walls. On the second floor, you will find the living room (with a sofa bed) and a roof terrace. And, the minimalist interior design notwithstanding, this terrace features a large, luxurious bathtub.
What to do
Several attractions, a shopping centre, and many restaurants are all within easy reach. The beaches are 3 km away in Praia da Rocha. Day trips to Lagos and Silves (destinations in the western Algarve are all fairly close).
Why we like this house
In the Casa Ai you can experience the Algarve far from the tourist crowds and you’ll feel almost like a local. This house is a little oasis in the middle of the old town.
This house is great for
Anyone looking for an authentic Portuguese experience, and doesn’t want to associate the Algarve with beach holidays only.