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Review submitted by Jinny from Washington DC (Submitted: 11 Oct 2012)
This house more than met our expectations. Its location is just down the block from the wonderful beach at Apulia. The house was just as wonderful as its photos. The owner did a fantastic job in introducing the house and the area to us. His comments on the area restaurants were spot on. The food and the fresh fish and seafood in the town are fantastic.
The house is a quick drive from all that Northern Portugal and Southern Spain have to offer. And it did not hurt that the early October weather was perfect.
It was quite a wonderful vacation
Review submitted by Roy from Much Hadham (Submitted: 21 Jul 2012)
Having tried Southern Portugal many years ago & been distinctly underwhelmed we decided to focus north of Porto. It was a leap of faith & proved to be the most enjoyable family holiday weve had in foreign climes. The pictures & description of the villa on Villarenters do not do it justice, the villa is stunning & is not just a rental property but is used by the owners whenever the opportunity arises,.The interior decor is very tasteful & restful, & the fixtures & fittings are top rate & made our stay at the villa a true home from home.
Upon arrival we were greeted by the owner who gave us a tour of the villa & its facilities (including a spectacular glassed mezzanine area containing all you could require for a home cinema/entertainment relaxation area for the occasional night in - take a few of your favourite films on DVD/music CDs & enjoy them in surround sound)
the kitchen is beautifully appointed & finished with a handy central island breakfast bar with a large formal dining table within the downstairs lounge/dining area & , of course, a large wooden outdoor table for those al fresco meals cooked on the BBQ.....
The property has electric blinds to all rear & side windows & large patio doors off the dining/lounge area into the garden. The garden is laid mainly to lawn & is well tended by the owner himself. To the front of the property is further lawn with a large 10 x 5 metre swimming pool (unheated, but the perfect temperature to counter the sizzling sun we encountered throughout our stay). The property has a burglar alarm, is walled around its perimeter & has an electric gate & videophone entry system also.
Back inside, the master bedroom has a large exceedingly comfortable bed - supportively firm & not soft , with en-suite facilities Including a very generously proportioned walk in shower with the added bonus of being able to switch to massage jets for a brisk wash down! The fittings are very high quality & include a his & hers washbasin. There is ample wardrobe, cupboard & drawer space with ample hangers. There is a single door leading to the grassed area at the rear of the property, this door also has a useful tilt facility enabling it to be left ajar at night for those seeking fresh air without compromising security. (there is no air conditioning at the villa but this was not an issue throughout our stay as the villa remained cool & also this area of Portugal had the added benefit of a breeze.)
The other double bedroom is smaller, but still large enough & well appointed & also with the same handy tilt adjustable door onto the rear grassed area. This room & the large twin bedded room use the main bathroom off of the landing area (the bedrooms are only a few stairs higher than the remainder of the property), this has a bath & a powerful shower over it with a glass splash surround, a bidet & the usual sanitary ware you would expect, all of excellent quality.
The twin bedded room is well appointed & has a small television for those so inclined. There is a large window with its aspect to the side of the villa.
The villa is surrounded on two sides by pine trees, a relatively quiet granite sett residential road to the front & by a mirror image villa to its left & is set in a quiet residential road & is a mere 2-3 minute walk to the widest, sandiest & cleanest beach you could hope to encounter.
The owner took us in his own car for a tour of the surrounding villages/towns & in excellent English pointed out useful local amenities, shops, restaurants etc... It was unexpected & the first time we have encountered such an act from an owner, but exceedingly helpful &was typical of the owner & his family who were generous & welcoming throughout our stay.
You may hear what sounds like an air raid siren, do not evacuate the building as its only the sound used to guide the local fishing boats back to safety on misty mornings...... (do go to the local town, Apulia, & watch the boats return, Ill say no more but prepare to be entertained.......!)... We used the local market there too late in our holiday - We got stuck in the supermarket rut ! - & realised its all locally grown produce fresh from the fields & knocked spots off of anything wed tried before...... The butcher in the village is fabulous too... They & indeed every local we encountered ,couldnt be more helpful, in spite of our almost total ignorance of the language (do yourself a favour & learn some rudimentary Portuguese it is something we should have done & regretted not doing....)
Aside from relaxing at the villa & using the local beach we did venture out & about & can recommend Guimaraes (European City of Culture), Porto (six bridge boat tour & walk along the river), Viana Do Castelo (good shopping centre for those frustrated shopaholics...), Povoa De Varzim (Beautiful large town with an amazing underground car park that goes on , seemingly, forever with many buildings with tiled frontages in the classic regional manner) , Barcelos (one of the largest outdoor markets in the whole of Europe - Thursdays - a feast to the senses also has lovely shops/streets to walk through), Esposende (interesting town to walk about with a beautiful wide promenade to enjoy a welcome coffee break.....) & other places besides... Its your holiday & youll find as much or as little as you want to do & all the time youll be surrounded by wonderful culture & tradition & the nicest people youll ever wish to meet.
Well return in a heartbeat...... & having returned to England just this morning are already missing it too much......
Review submitted by Catherine from Enniskillen (Submitted: 4 Aug 2011)
My family and friends stayed here for 10 days in July 2011. Soares and his wife Eugenia gave us a warm welcome with local pastries and wine and gave us a tour of the local sights. The villa was superb, quiet and private. Only 10 minutes walk from the villa were a number of excellent, very reasonably-priced restaurants specialising in seafood, but non-fish eaters were also well provided for. As for self-catering, the kitchen was so beautifully equipped that it made you want to cook! There was also an excellent barbecue with charcoal provided and Sandra gave us fresh tomatoes, onions and peppers from her garden. We went for long walks in the forest, along the estuary boardwalk and beach. It was easy to explore the main towns and cities of the Northern Portugal by car – all within an hour’s drive of the villa by good roads/motorways and when we returned in the afternoons, it was lovely to cool off in the pool. It was an idyllic holiday and we were sorry to leave – highly recommended!
Review submitted by Petri from Oulu (Submitted: 24 Jul 2011)
Our five-person family stayed in the Villa Ofir for 15 days in July 2011. We found the finish of the villa far exceeding our expectations. Villa´s owner Sandra´s father, Soares, took us on a tour in his own car, showing us all the local amenities. That was a very good idea, beacause otherwise we wouldn´t find such a good restaurants like Al Forno or amazing A Cabana (absolutely must to see!) and other important places.
The modern villa is stunning. Such as the other review is written the house was well equipped. In particular, we were surprised by a free bar! The outside is nice too, with a grassed area around the pool. The house is located in a quiet area on the edge of a protected pine forest, away from the tourist traps, which was to our taste. The nearby beach is windy and the weather varies, as in northern Portugal in general. Miles of sandy beach, continued past the fishing villages. Within walking distance there are a few restaurants. The fish food is excellent!
Having a car is quite essential. We drove to several nearby towns and cities: Braga, Barcelos, Viana do Castelo, Povoa do Varzim, Porto and of course Esposende, Fao and Apulia. Traffic is little wild, if youre accustomed to the North-European driving style. We found easily a parking places and tourist infos were very practical.
Sandra and her husband, and father were very helpful in all matters. We can highly recommend Villa Ofir for anyone who wants to rent a high-quality villa in northern Portugal.
Review submitted by Helen from Yorkshire (Submitted: 15 Jun 2011)
My family and my friends family stayed in the villa Ofir for one week in April 2011 we found the finish of the villa to be absolutely exquisite, far exceeding our expectations.
We were a little late arriving at the villa at approximately 2300hrs, but still the villas owners Sandra and her father Suares were at the villa waiting for us to give us a welcome reception. They spent a few minutes showing us round the villa and left us drinking free port from the generously stocked bar. We were told that this bar was free, which we found hard to believe being English. We had a few drinks anyway and were never asked for any money.
The villa itself is stunning. The quality of all the furnishings and appliances is really top-spec, not at all done justice by the photographs on-line. The villa has wi-fi, power showers, remote-control blinds, a home-entertainment system and much more. The villa is very modern so please dont expect a rustic style Portuguese villa. The outside is nice too, with a grassed rather than paved area around the pool. The pool is not heated so it was a little chilly at this time of year. The is set on the edge of a protected pine forest, making the environs very attractive.
The villa is situated in a nice location, just 50m or so from the beach. There are a few nearby restaurants that are just a stroll away if you are not up for taking the car although having a car is essential to get to a supermarket or to get to any of the places up and down the coast. We didnt do a massive amount in this week so I would find it hard to comment on this area of Portugal as a whole.
Suares and Sandra were extremely helpful and accomodating. The morning after we arrived, Suares took us on a tour in his own car, showing us all the local amenities. He surely didnt have to do this - he even bought us a coffee. Our flight home was nearly cancelled due to a volcanic ash cloud and again they were both extremely helpful in finding us potential further accommodation (the villa was booked for the next week).
All in all a lovely place and outstanding value for money.