Welcome to paradise: Vila Joya

15 Feb 2018
5 min read
Vila Joya is located high above the radiant blue Atlantic and is surrounded by an evergreen garden with direct access to the sea. With its 13 rooms and 9 suites, a two Michelin star gourmet restaurant and 350m2 spa and fitness area, this Moorish style building – formerly the private summer residence of the German Jung family – is now one of the most beautiful privately-run boutique resorts in Europe.
The resort is managed by and named after its owner, Joy Jung. Born in Munich, she initially worked as General Manager of Vila Joya for 12 years before taking over from her father as owner in 2013. The 40-year-old Joy Jung is particularly concerned with continuing the legacy of her mother, Claudia Jung, who passed away in 1997. She was an interior designer and her truly special style and hospitality still leave its mark on the villa today. The personality of the hosts plays a part in this, too, not just because of the luxury furnishings and special location of the villa. Joy Jung and her team never refer to Vila Joya as a hotel, but always as a ‘home’ that touches the soul and sets the spirit free. They create a little paradise for their guests.


Welcome to Paradise

This may seem like laying it on thick, but it quickly becomes reality. When you go through the main gate at Vila Joya as a guest, you are entering a completely different world where you are welcomed by two love birds (small African parrots) who have spent their whole lives together – a symbol of love, happiness and joy. Once inside the hotel, guests are immediately confronted with stunning views of the Atlantic which can be enjoyed throughout the property – the sea and sound of the waves are ever-present at Vila Joya. The extensive and peaceful gardens with their aloe vera plants, striking bird of paradise flowers and colourful hibiscus also offer a unique retreat. Over the years, Joy Jung and her mother Claudia have collected works of art from across the world and these stimulate the intellect and imagination of the guests. It therefore comes as no surprise that the vila’s motto is: ‘The sea, the gardens, the gem – welcome to Paradise.’


No excess, no minimalism – in the 22 rooms and suites

Extensive refurbishment works carried out over the years ensure that each room is unique and impresses with direct sea views, a casual sense of home style and accessories carefully selected by Joy Jung and her mother in person. The rooms are characterised by their light and warm tones and their natural materials like wood, linen and fine wool. This subtle decoration enhances the scenery outside – the deep blue Atlantic. The region’s Moorish history is reflected in Portuguese craftsmanship: fireplaces, tiling and terracotta tiles produced by manufacturers in the Algarve, dark brown Portuguese cork flooring, hand-painted tiles, Tadelakt plaster and natural stone showers bear testament to the owner’s ties with the local region. Guests sleep in specially designed beds from Portugal while the bathrooms are equipped with fluffy bath robes, Molton Brown toiletries and fresh flowers each day. The carefully designed lighting concept creates a real atmosphere of well-being, whatever the time of day, and cosy sofas offer the perfect place to relax. Each room includes a terrace or balcony, some with direct access to the garden, and possesses a SONY TV, mini-bar and free Wi-Fi.


Pleasure at any time of the day

The terrace with views across the garden and towards the Atlantic forms the heart of Vila Joya and as such is the hub and focal point for all culinary delights. From breakfast to dinner, the terrace is the place where guests come together. At lunch- and dinnertime, the terrace is transformed into a two Michelin star restaurant headed by the patron Dieter Koschina. The Austrian chef has been working at Vila Joya for more than 25 years and secured his first Michelin star in 1995 and his second in 1999. Chef Koschina is an essential part of the gem which is Vila Joya – and he is also one of Portugal’s highly decorated chefs.

The Atlantic Ocean on the doorstep of the vila is a great source of inspiration for the chef. He predominantly uses fresh and light products from Portugal and places great emphasis on the flavour when preparing his dishes – and only then comes the presentation. His cuisine is therefore straightforward, full of aroma and exclusively focused on the product. And since new products are available each day, Koschina creates a new six-course menu with his executive chef Stefan Langmann each and every day – truly exceptional for a restaurant of this category. Koschina himself jokingly refers to his philosophy as ‘John Wayne style’ – sometimes he shoots from the hip with his dishes. The fact that he has held his two Michelin stars for 18 years, despite the daily changing menu, shows just how much skill and talent this man has. It is not without good reason that the 55-year-old has fans across the world who take a long journey to Vila Joya just to sample his cuisine. Anyone wishing to get close to the master himself can pull up a seat at the chef’s table in the kitchen and watch him prepare the meals.

During the cooler months, when it is too cold out on the terrace, the restaurant moves inside the villa. This is the location of the four meter long marble table which was a key reason for Claudia and Klaus Jung to purchase the Vila Joya in 1978. During their first visit, Claudia Jung discovered this table in the large dining room and imagined sitting around it with family and friends and having a wonderful time. The walk-in wine cellar with a selection of the best wines from Portugal and other parts of the world is also a real treasure trove. Sommelier Arnaud Vallet has been looking after Vila Joya’s wines since 2007 and offers private tastings for up to 12 people around the table for wine lovers.

For those who fancy a lighter meal during the day, the Pool Restaurant is the perfect place. Selected snacks, freshly grilled fish and delicious salads are served here each day from 13:00h to 17:00h with the sound of the sea as a musical accompaniment. The new beach restaurant “Vila Joya Sea”, a wooden pavilion that blends perfectly into the landscape directly above the sea, offers houseguests, visitors to the Algarve and the local population an enchanting setting for enjoying light dishes, such as a variety of salads, ceviche, freshly caught fish, grilled meat skewers and classic steak cuts. Also on the menu are chirashi, sashimi and nigiri creations by Sushi Master Amrit, who has been hired especially for the new concept. In addition to the menu is a daily specials board with between six and eight dishes, keeping monotony at bay.

In the evening, the hotel bar is the ideal place for a stylish aperitif before and after dinner – and is a popular meeting place for guests during the cooler months. Guests can also retreat to the open fireplace in the White Salon and enjoy a cup of tea. The library offers new holiday reading and guests may even find an entry from their parents or grandparents in one of the leather-bound guest books from the past 35 years.


Well-being and fitness

The 350m2 Spa offers a second pool, an outdoor whirlpool, a sauna, steam bath, three treatment rooms, cosy relaxation rooms and a fitness area overlooking the sea. Warm colours, watercourses and a combination of gentle candlelight and inviting daylight create a magical atmosphere and form the basis for relaxation, regeneration, health and beauty. Experience showers with views of the deep blue skies incorporate different scents, colours and jets. Facial treatments, manicures, pedicures, soothing massages and invigorating body treatments are offered in the well-being area.



Vila Joya is located at Estrada da Galé, 8200-416 Albufeira in the Algarve, about a 30-minute drive west of Faro airport. The two Michelin star restaurant Vila Joya is open daily from 13:00h to 14:00h and from 19:30h to 21:00h (seating times).

The establishment will be closed for the yearly winter break from late November to end of February. Reservations can be made by calling +351 289 591 795 or sending an e-mail to info@vilajoya.com.

For more information, please visit www.vilajoya.com