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Malhadinha Nova is a quintessentially Portuguese homestead, which appears like something that has jumped out of a House and Garden magazine, with its light decors and rural countryside feel to it.
The boutique hotel is situated in a 450 acre wine estate in the lower Alentejo countryside. It is still very much a working estate, with cattle breeding and wine producing. The main farm house boasts 10 contemporary designed rooms and suites. The rooms all have lightly washed walls and subtly coloured furnishings, making the accommodation very tranquil and not overly suave. Particular specialities include complimentary goodies in the rooms and a nice warm fire in the slightly colder months.
The estate is owned by the Soares family, who are involved in the day to day running of the herdade, and help create a family home feel for their guests, whether they personally show you around the winery or greet you at dinner. Their vineyard is the life blood of Malhadinha Nova, and is one of the best wineries in the Alentejo. Guests are taken on a guided tour around the estate and winery by a member of staff, who will also give a full history of the place, followed by some first class wine tasting.
Restaurant Malhadinha is actually one of the first buildings guests see upon arrival, and is a simple floor to ceiling window design with lightly coloured wicker furniture. The understated setting combines wonderfully with the gourmet delights served up by the resident chef. Maladinha Nova rear cattle and grow their own produce, specialities include their olive oil (perfect accompaniment to fresh home-made bread) and slices of black pig (pata negra). All meals of course are followed by more of the great house wine.
If guests are partial to a bit of R & R or some vino hangover therapy, there is a small spa offering a range of massages and beauty treatments (some of which are winetherapy specialities using ingredients from the vineyard). Alternatively in the warmer months the hotel's swimming pool is the place to retreat to, with the estate's countryside as a floral backdrop.
Should wining and spa-ing become tedious pursuits, guests can enjoy a horse ride or lesson, a cycle ride around the estate, yoga (caution: not after wine tasting), cookery lessons, tea tasting, paint balling, gourmet picnics, helicopter rides, canoeing, art workshops and lastly quad biking - should guests fancy a faster pace of exploring the estate.
There is nothing better than stomping around on grapes in harvesting season, which occurs at the end of summer!
Harriet, Original Traveller