Penina: Collecting stories since 1966

Fifty years ago, the Algarve had no golf resorts or hotels. It was a luxury holiday destination in waiting — it just needed somebody to make the first move

By JJW Hotels and Resorts
Published 19 Dec 2018, 11:00 GMT

Half a century ago there were no golf courses in the Algarve, no luxury resorts and no thriving tourist industry. Back then, Portugal was, to most tourists, a place for escaping cold winters, a well-kept secret that had much to offer, but no way to share it. Among the unspoilt beaches and nature parks was a wealth of historically important sites, impressive architecture and a rich legacy built on exploration, discovery and innovation. The Algarve was a luxury holiday destination waiting to happen. It just needed somebody to make the first move.

Rising up from the unforgiving Portuguese scrubland, Penina Hotel & Golf Resort not only made the first move, it wrote a completely new narrative. Calling on the services of the world-famous golfer and three-time British Open winner, Sir Henry Cotton, Penina began to realise its vision for the region: a golfer's paradise. Beginning with the planting of thousands of trees and shrubs, Sir Henry transformed the landscape into rich, lush location: the perfect canvas for carving out the Algarve's first 18-hole championship course.

Today, Penina and the Sir Henry Cotton course are still at the forefront of the Algarve's golfing scene and have played host to the Portuguese Open a record 10 times. In the 50 years since its inception, Penina's story has grown far beyond its humble beginnings. As the Algarve's first ever five-star resort, it quickly established itself as one of Europe's leading holiday destinations. A haven for those who expected the finest personalised service, traditional touches, and an atmosphere that's refined, but far from stuffy. It's these same standards, laid down in the very beginning, that guests still expect, and that Penina continues to deliver.  

Part of the renowned JJW Hotel & Resorts family, Penina sits alongside the Grand Hotel Wien in Vienna, the Dona Filipa Hotel in Algarve, and a trio of Parisian boltholes — La Tremoille, Hotel de Vigny and Hotel Balzac — as one of the group's flagship boutique properties. It has enjoyed over half a century of success, helped open up the Algarve to the world, and shaped a new future for an entire country. It's rich with stories, and when the next chapter is… it'll certainly be worth reading.

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