We have made no secret of our longstanding love of the Alentejo; having encouraged exploration of this wonderful region for over 30 years - since before most of us had even heard of the Alentejo.(The region’s name dates back to the Moorish occupation of the southern Iberian peninsula, and means “below the Tejo”, the enormous region’s main river).
Stretching from north of the Algarve to south of the River Tagus, and from the glorious Atlantic coastline in the west to the long string of impressive castle fortresses that were built to guard the Spanish border in the east, this vast, little-known area (covering one-third of Portugal) is home to just 6% of the country’s population; yet it produces close to 50% of Portugal’s superb wines. Thus, the magnificent plains (montados), the cork forests (the most extensive in Europe), the medieval hilltop towns, the Dark Skies with their brilliant displays of the Milky Way, night after night, and the region’s unspoilt beaches, really are yours to be immersed in, undisturbed.
Plus, the Alentejo is a foodie’s dream: a beautiful location with a glorious climate, the region’s locally made wines, cheeses, organic and acorn-fed pork, and Atlantic-fresh fishand seafood, are a real draw. The best-kept secret of the area, however, is the wonderful range of traditional sweets; many of which you won’t believe exist until you try them. Named after saints and heavenly graces, and made from egg yolks*, bread and almonds, sweetened with sugar, honey and cinnamon, the recipe for each traditional sweet can be traced back to the many convents dotted about the region (*the egg whites were used to starch the nuns’ wimples).
Having recently returned from the region, we're proud to announce the addition of seven new properties to our portfolio. Each unique and chosen for its character, charm, location and ability to immerse you, the traveller, in the region's nature, history and culture.
Stargazing, lake lounging, minimalism and massage
Within the Darksky® Alqueva Reserve, the Montimerso Skyscape Country House is surrounded by serene landscapes and has been designed to offer an immersive and authentic experience of the region, but with energy efficiency and water consumption firmly in mind. Where time-honoured, whitewashed Alentejo architecture meets minimalist mode, guests are welcomed with warmth and leave eager to return. The hotel’s SkyScape restaurant serves honest food via traditional recipes particular to the area. Gaze at the simply splendid (and enormous!) Alqueva Lake from the infinity pool; discover the estate on horseback or by bicycle; and mentally - and physically - disengage with an on-site massage.
Atlantic Peach: beaches, Roman ruins and spa treats
On a stretch of coastline boasting some of Portugal's most beautiful beaches, and in its enchanting namesake village, the Porto Covo Praia Hotel overlooks Pessegueiro (Peachtree) Island, notable for its 15th/16th century fort and Roman ruins. Each spacious room and suite has a balcony; yours from which to absorb the powerful Atlantic Ocean with all of your senses. The SLOW SEA restaurant invites you to savour the best of Portuguese cuisine, featuring delectable dishes with regional ingredients and products. But before you do, why not melt a little with a massage, or take a dip in the luxurious spa’s indoor heated pool?
Pace yourself for playfulness: pool, beach and a nature trail like you’ve never seen before
Surrounded by old oak trees in Vicentine Coast Natural Park and just five miles from the beach, Herdade da Matinha Country House brings intimacy and serenity to Southwest Alentejo. The owner, Alfredo, infuses the house with his vibrant paintings, adding bursts of red, pink and orange to the doors, chairs, sofas and cushions. The outdoor pool is an idyllic spot, plus there are plenty of activities to enjoy, including cycling, horse riding and indeed hiking with the 340km Rota Vicentina nature route running right by the doorstep of the property. There is a farmhouse specifically for families with children, with its own pool. There is also a children's playground.
World’s oldest stud farm: saddle up where eagles dare…
Near to the attractive town of Alter do Chão, and set in 800 hectares, Vila Gale Collection Alter Real is a fabulous four-star retreat on the Coudeleria de Alter. Established by King D. João V in 1748, this stud farm has the longest continuous operating history in the world and is recognised as the birthplace of the Lusitano horse. With an equestrian theme running throughout, the hotel has elegant bedrooms, threeoutdoor swimming pools, a Satsanga spa with a heated indoor pool, a restaurant serving regional cuisine and an atmospheric bar. Tour the stud farm or try horseback riding for the first time. Visit the on-site falconry and see these majestic birds soar.
Hot, eco-helpful property in Portugal’s Lake District
Set in ten hectares in Mourão, beside the 100-square-mile, man-made Lake Alqueva, Herdade dos Delgados is a place to connect with nature. Everything about this property - the architecture, building materials and techniques, and all operational procedures - respect a strong commitment towards the preservation of ecosystems. Bedrooms are comfortable, quiet spaces for rest and reflection. The saltwater pool dazzles. The spa has an indoor pool, hot tub, fitness room and treatment room. And the hotel’s restaurant upholds the gastronomical legacy of the Alentejo with a twist of modernism.
The Good Life, lakeside: dwarf goat Estrela needs feeding
Popular both with families and with groups of friends, Monte da Estrela Country House and Spa – also close to the beaches and many leisure activities at Lake Alqueva – is a blissful farmstay. Guests are welcome, should they wish, to collect eggs from the hen house, feed the dwarf goat,named ‘Estrela’, pick seasonal fruit from the orchard, and get in on the famous olive harvest. In the kitchen, the Head Chef advocates ‘from the vegetable garden to the table’, and homemade breakfasts are quite a way to begin the day.
To sleep, definitely to dream…theory-based slumber therapy
In Monte do Vagar, Sleep & Nature is a new concept: a hotel designed and dedicated entirely to sleep therapies. The mentor of this unique project is Professor Teresa Paiva, a specialist in Neurology and Neurophysiology. Her theory rests on the enriching power of nature to make us fall asleep. Naturally, the bedrooms and common areas are incredibly serene spaces, plus there is a good restaurant, gym, library, spa, and both indoor and outdoor pools looking across an immense valley.
Visit our website or call our Portugal specialists on 020 8568 4499 for further information. We love nothing more than sharing our love and passion for this remarkable and unspoiled destination.