Every once in a while I'll have the kind of day that makes me want to close up shop, sell my apartment and all my worldly goods, bid goodbye to my friends, and move with my family far away from New York City to start from scratch in the middle of nowhere. There's absolutely nothing practical about this plan, which it's why it's best left as a pipe dream. But when I read about people like Tim and Hallie Robinson, owners of the stylish Fazenda Nova
, I feel a deep thrill of admiration and envy.
In a sense, that's what they did. The couple left two fast-paced jobs in London and moved with their three young children to Portugal's eastern Algarve region, where they bought a 200-year-old manor that was in desperate need of work but came with more than 25 acres of olive and citrus groves. After years of careful restoration, the Robinsons now have a 10-suite luxury inn that gets my vote for the ideal springtime long-weekend escape.
The textures and colors are both charmingly rustic and coolly contemporary—salvaged woods and polished concrete; green-shuttered windows and cowhide rugs; an infinity pool set in lush gardens where mod hammocks are suspended from olive trees.
Vintage finds, such as antique shoe lasts, letterpress blocks, and 1980s fashion magazines, are displayed with uncommon flair. A flea market, held on the first Sunday of each month near the seaside village of Fuseta, is not to miss.
Quiet nights in the country call for a long and indulgent dinner at the inn's restaurant featuring seasonal produce from the garden, followed by a nightcap at the well-stocked honesty bar. The next morning, head out to a secluded beach; browse the food markets in nearby fishing villages; or simply laze all day by the inn's pool. London—or, for that matter, New York City—seems a whole other lifetime away.(Photos courtesy of Fazenda Nova)