Making Quinta do Lago our home – the ClaytonsBy Alison Hojbjerg • Mar 15th, 2005 • Category: People, Quinta Lifestyle
For 20 years, Simon Clayton worked for an investment bank in the City of London. In 1998 one of his major clients, DHL, invited him to become Chief Financial Officer and Vice Chairman, a challenge that also meant relocating to Brussels. Now recently retired from DHL, Simon and his wife Judy explain why they have settled in Quinta do Lago.
Sitting on the terrace of Simon and Judy’s villa overlooking Quinta do Lago’s north course, city life seems a million miles away. They loved Brussels for its international mix of people, fine dining, Bohemian atmosphere and a busy lifestyle, even though Judy had to put her antiques and tapestry business on hold. The idea was to bring DHL to the stock market, but 9/11 changed all that and Deutsche Post, an original shareholder, eventually took control of DHL, heralding a new era for the company. Simon left in January 2004 and he and Judy have recently opened Dunas, a speciality home and fashion accessory shop in Quinta Shopping.
Discovering the Algarve
Simon discovered the Algarve some 20 years ago, on golfing trips. They started coming to the Algarve on holiday when their children were young. As the children grew, they gravitated towards Quinta do Lago and eventually bought a Villa in The Village at Pinheiros Altos.
“More refinement, activities for the children and golf – it all merged here.”
It also suited Simon’s parents, who are regular visitors. Indeed, as Simon says, his father – known as Stormin’ Norman – is probably better known at Pinheiros Altos’ Clubhouse than he is.
That should have been the end of the story. Except that a member of the property sales team from Pinheiros Altos called one day to say that, should they ever consider selling, there was a waiting buyer. Things moved quicker than anticipated, and the Claytons found themselves without an Algarve home! Enter Quinta Properties. Alison and Sandra found a wide spread of properties in various parts of Quinta do Lago to show to the Claytons, who chose a villa nearing completion near the Ria Formosa Clubhouse but to which they could add their own personal touch . “We knew we wanted a family house more than a holiday home, but we did not imagine it would become the base that it has!” they laugh.
What is it that they like about Quinta do Lago?
“Everything works,” says Simon, “the infrastructure is good, the roads are not too busy, the telecommunications are very good so keeping in touch is not a problem. Flights are easy all year – and it’s great for my parents.”
“Excellent security,” adds Judy, “the weather naturally, the beaches – empty most of the year – and the international environment. Simon has his golf, I am starting tennis again and the children – teenagers now – have everything they want within easy reach. It’s all here.”
Advice for new buyers?
“Look carefully before you commit yourself. And think hard about how you are going to use your house here, because that will affect the space and facilities you need.”
Would they recommend Quinta Properties to other buyers?
“Absolutely. We got along very well with Alison and Sandra, which helped enormously. They were very attentive, and actually listened to what we said. They did a great job of showing us a variety of houses to help us choose the one that was right for us.”
And finally – why a shop?
“I wanted an outlet for my creativity,” says Judy, “and we feel there is a niche for a shop offering beautiful items from around Europe – Belgium, obviously, also France and some special things from Portugal – with personal service and gift wrapping: the little touches that you cannot find elsewhere in the Algarve. Where do you find that special item to offer when you go to dinner? Or as a thank you gift or something more unusual for the home? And where else except Quinta do Lago for a shop like that?”