Editors' Picks

Casa Mãe

Discreet, Laid-back Portuguese coastal retreat

casa mãe


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At a Glance

Set back in a quiet residential street in Lagos, Casa Mãe is a must-stay for those who want to explore the untouched coastal beauty of the Western Algarve and appreciate modern design, Portuguese craftsmanship and eclectic cuisine.** **

Indagare Loves

  • The Casa Mãe Shop that is filled with hand-made home goods, accessories, and clothing made by local Portuguese artisans
  • The seasonal contemporary cuisine and interesting craft cocktails served at its breezy restaurant, ORTA
  • The incredibly friendly staff


Compared to other regions in Portugal, the Algarve has earned a not-so-favorable reputation due to the development of large resorts, expansive golf courses and other commercial real estate. Yet there is a renaissance of road trips and discovery unfolding in the Western Algarve. The dramatic cliff-coastline and unspoiled beaches attract surfers, yogis, and outdoor enthusiasts. Slowly, in this part of the region, charming boutique hotels are opening and changing the reputation of the Algarve back to its slow seaside state-of-mind.

Opened in October 2016, Casa Mãe is a 30-room boutique hotel situated in the breezy coastal town of Lagos. Located in a residential neighborhood filled with traditional whitewashed buildings, the hotel is creating a new vision for Lagos. It has a modern aesthetic with a hybrid between Kinfolk and Brooklyn vibes.

The intention celebrates community, collaboration, and the connection of new people who love the coast and support Portuguese craftsmanship.

Casa Mãe is true passion-project for owners Veronique Polaert and Christian Kraus, who met in London. Veronique, who is French, always dreamed about opening a beachside hotel while Christian, who is German, is an avid surfer. They fell in love with the beauty of the Western Algarve and the slow pace of the seaside. Both quit their jobs in investment banking almost two years ago to move to Lagos from London and focus full-time on this project. The idea was born when Veronique purchased a former home in need of renovation (soon to be the hotel’s premier suite)—the inspiration of Casa Mãe. With collaboration from the French designer Martin Blanchard, Casa Mãe has a charming rustic feel with a modern twist celebrating Portuguese traditions. Whitewashed walls set against warm terracotta flooring in the common spaces lead to a sprawling courtyard filled with chaises designed in Casa Mãe’s iconic white and blue block canvas and tables surrounded by full palm trees and banana leaves. The décor is extremely cozy and personal. Hanging in the lounge area are handmade custom tapestries of Portugal’s coast by Portuguese artisan, Célia Esteves, who created Rug by GUR.

Although they are still under renovation, guests can stay in a selection of cabana-style rooms located in the Joga da Bola building on the first floor that over looks the courtyard. Soon to be added is the Casa Mãe suite, located steps away from the main building. The rooms are whitewashed and understated yet meticulously designed and accented with home accessories and bath products made exclusively for Casa Mãe, such as bespoke canisters by Portuguese ceramicist Ricardo Lopes, which are filled with naturally-made shampoo and soap based from almond extract and olive oil (all can be purchased in the gift shop). Special touches include a hanging hammock on an outdoor terrace, the softest terrycloth robes and deep soaking tubs (which are in the bedroom). There is a strong sense of brand in every detail of the rooms, from notebooks designed by Nambam to loomed cream and royal blue block print canvas studio chairs by Alberto Rocha.

Creating a sense of community, both guests and non-guests gather at Orta, the hotel’s restaurant led by Pedro Limão, which serves contemporary eclectic Portuguese cuisine with seasonal ingredients and locally sourced from the nearby farm**.**Although the menu changes constantly, the sea bass ceviche with bitter almond liqueur, purple potatoes, and citric and beef tartar with pork crackling, walnuts and mushroom mayo, croaker, smoke and herbs should not be missed. There is also a special selection of tasty craft cocktails. Once a month, the hotel hosts a supper club with a delicious, innovative pre-set menu.

For those who love discovering local artisans, Veronique scouted the country to find and feature a selection of Portuguese artisans that create beautiful textiles, home-ware, accessories and clothing—many which were designed exclusively for the store and inspired the artisans to push boundaries with their craft. Some Portuguese brands include Mizette, Círculo ceramics, RUG by GUR, LONAby **Joaquim Pinto,**and ceramics by Ricardo Lopes. At the shop, Casa Mãe also created its first issue of its in-house magazine, featuring beautiful images of the Western Algarve, its secluded beaches, and interviews from its partnered artisans. Their Instagram is a must-follow (@casamae).

Staying at Casa Mae is a personal experience, and one that lingers with you even after you leave. You are bound to make new acquaintances with creative, interesting travelers who have come to Portugal to disconnect from their lives and reconnect with the surrounding nature. The staff is very friendly and passionate about sharing the special qualities of Portugal with visitors.

Who Should Stay

Young or DIY travelers who appreciate modern design and want a home base in the Western Algarve to surf and explore untouched beaches. It’s important to note that the hotel is not located on the beach and is still working on hotel amenities like valet parking and a parking garage.

Written by Indagare

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