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Algarve has all the right ingredients for a relaxing break.

A HUGE number of Brits head for Portugal's sun-drenched southern coast every year.

And the vast majority travel with the aim of taking advantage of the Algarve's sensational natural resources, namely: endless sunshine, golden sands, crashing seas and miles and miles of pristine golf courses.

You can improve your golf swing or your all-over tan without wandering more than a few hundred yards from the coast.

I discovered this fact during a wonderful week's stay at the immaculate Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa.

It's fair to say that everyone deserves a little luxury and the Hilton Vilamoura provides a much-needed treat as well as access to wonderful facilities, both recreational and sporting.

From the moment you step through the door to the time you reluctantly check out and head back to the airport, you feel as though you are living like the proverbial Other Half.

Flying in from Newcastle, my holiday began at Faro Airport where I picked up a hire car before making the easy 25-minute journey to Vilamoura where the Hilton is situated about five minutes' from the town's pretty, bustling marina.

The resort itself is classy without being pretentious or clinical, and perfect for families or couples not looking for hedonistic nightlife.

Once I'd parked at the hotel - or, to be precise, handed the keys to the valet parking attendant - there was little use for a car, especially if your intention was to base yourself at the hotel and take things easy.

The Hilton offers as huttle service to and from its own stretch of pristine beach.

It takes all the hassle out of a day by the seaside. No lengthy walks in the blazing sun burdened with heavy bags.

It was a case of stepping out of reception and jumping into the waiting people carrier.

After picking up your beach towel from the attendant, you can throw it down and stretch out on the sand to catch some rays.

Or you can pick one of the loungers and sunbathe in a degree of luxury.

If the sea's not your thing, you can laze around the pool - make that pools! The Hilton has no less than six and, between swims, you can soak up the rays on a sun lounger and enjoy a drink and a snack from the bar.

Other forms of on-tap relaxation include the hotel spa and, for the more energetic, the gym.

Budding golfers can work on their game in the hotel simulator before testing their skills on one of Vilamoura's five world-class courses.

With so many welcome distractions tooccupy your time, you won't want to spend too long in your bedroom, but it's good to know the suites are the first and last word in comfort.

And with so many activities to enjoy, what better than a filling breakfast to set you up for the day?

I can confirm that the hotel's buffet breakfasts were stupendous.

You could choose traditional Englishbacon, eggs, toast and beans; stick with cereal; tuck into an omelette; go for continental pastries, cheeses and cold cuts or feel healthy by sampling the wide choice of fresh fruit.

Or, why not try a bit of everything - as I did-washed down with fruit juice or coffee.

Just like the Hilton Vilamoura, it certainly leaves a nice taste in the mouth!

TRAVEL FACTS

The Hilton Worldwide Resort, Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa, offers a family package from just pounds 150 per room,pernight, based on a three-night stay, which includes buffet breakfast, a family dinner, one family jeep safari and boat trip.

For further information and to book visitwww.hilton.com/worldwideresorts

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LUXURIOUS: The Hilton Worldwide Resort Hilton Vilamoura
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 5, 2008
Words:614
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