Having just returned to Germany from a three-week holiday in Portugal, Marie-Louise, who was born in Germany, tells us what has connected her and her family to the Algarve for decades. Marie-Louise has been traveling to Portugal with her parents and brothers for about 30 years to spend their vacations together.
The family now owns several holiday homes in the Algarve, including in Loulé, Almancil and Quinta del Lago. While they occupy some of the properties themselves, other homes are used solely as vacation rentals. Since the end of 2020, some of these properties are now managed through Bookiply.
In a personal interview, Marie-Louise gives us an insight into her life as the manager of these vacation homes – a role she is happy to take on for her father. She tells us about the challenges she faces and the traditional meaning behind the names of the properties.
Vacation in Loulé: Tradition Meets Comfort
The Townhouse Luna in Almancil captivates guests with state-of-the-art amenities and a beautiful outdoor area. The other three vacation homes are located on the idyllically situated property of Casa Louisa, where her father Peter also lives on the upper floor. It is located on the outskirts of the charming market town of Loulé, about 16 km north of Faro.
The road to Casa Louisa’s vacation rentals is still special for Marie-Louise and her father, even after 30 years:
“You still drive through such a small, Portuguese street without a street name, where the mother in the neighboring house looks out the door, waves and gives you a friendly greeting. I always find that very heartwarming. However, when I go to our house in Quinta do Lago, which is one of the most expensive areas in Portugal, you don’t have that, of course.”
Almost all year round, the two apartments Apartment Mel de Flor and Apartment Abelha, as well as the charming Cabana Gardenhouse, invite you to spend a holiday in the sun while enjoying the use of the fantastic pool. Marie Louise’s father, Peter, has also already commissioned the construction of further vacation apartments.
The apartments Mel de Flor and Apartment Abelha, affectionately called “the Bee apartments” by Marie-Louise, got their name from the honey production that once took place in this part of the building. With this, Peter and Marie-Louise link the apartments back to the history of the house and the Portuguese market town of Loulé. There, a daily market is held, and every Saturday, there is also a large farmers’ market where honey is sold among countless other products. Both markets are known as the best in the Algarve.
While on the one hand, Peter and Marie-Louise emphasize the importance of maintaining the Portuguese soul of the houses, the vacation rentals are also equipped to the highest standards.
“Everything is still very Portuguese, yet the apartments and the house are also designed to be lived in both summer and winter. Our apartments all have heating – there’s not much of that in Portugal.”
Before and After: Renovating the Cabana
The small Cabana Gardenhouse is the cheapest of all vacation rentals to stay in – yet also the most booked. For the low price per night, guests accepted the functional furnishings. Even if only reluctantly, as can be seen from the reviews of the cabana.
Marie-Louise and Peter wanted to change that. So, following the wishes and suggestions of their guests, the two decided to renovate the charming cabana. In the meantime, the cottage has been given a new lease of life.
Upon entering the former garden cottage via the newly designed terrace, you immediately notice how much care has gone into renovating it.
The alcove in the living room, which previously served as an additional sleeping area, has been replaced by a second bedroom. It is located in the new extension, which allows guests of the cabana to enjoy a new level of comfort during their stay.
The modernization of the bathroom tops off the renovation of the cabana.
Bookiply: More Bookings, Less Stress
Initially, Marie-Louise only managed the two Bee apartments via Airbnb. However, when she noticed that she was not receiving the desired influx of guests, she needed a new solution that would allow her to reach more travelers. Looking for a tool that would enable her to extend her reach to other rental portals, Marie-Louise came across Bookiply.
“My contact person came to our apartment, took another look at everything in person and then set up the page for me. I thought that was great and very relaxing, as you guys have more experience with the technical stuff. Also, I have virtually nothing to do until a booking is made. We are satisfied, and our bookings have increased significantly since I started using Bookiply.”
However, Marie-Louise and her father Peter find the relaxed contact with the guests the best.
“Once the booking has been made, I still try to get in touch with the customer – that’s just the way I am. My father always says he has never met so many nice people as now through renting the apartments. This means that sometimes you also want to drink a bottle of wine together or invite the guests to dinner with friends.”
Marie-Louise’s Tips for Other Homeowners
In Marie-Louise’s experience, a few points are particularly important to successfully rent out a vacation home.
“The most important three things for me are professional pictures, availability and that dogs are allowed. At our vacation rentals, anyone can bring a dog.”
And if she or her father is ever not in Portugal in person, or there is a language barrier or two, they have a local contact person.
“Antonio, who speaks English, Spanish and French in addition to Portuguese, is our ace in the hole and the first point of contact if we can’t be there in person. He is a great help to us.”
If you are now curious and would also like to travel to the Algarve, take a look at Marie-Louise’s vacation apartments: