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Sao Lourenco do Barrocal is a beautiful boutique hotel set in the middle of a 2,000 acre working farm in the heart of the Alentejo region. While the hotel may only be a few years old, the farm and estate have been in the same family for eight generations and the estate’s present owner embarked on a huge project to turn his family home into a luxurious country retreat, breathing new life into an old soul.
The estate is home to 22 guest rooms, two suites, and 16 independent cottages, as well as 220 cows, eight horses and 16 Neolithic tombs. No luxury has been spared and each of the guestrooms comes with sumptuous Egyptian cotton bed linen, down and feather pillows and duvets and Susanne Kaufmann bathroom products. The décor is light and airy, with whitewashed walls and authentic (though heated) tiled floors found throughout. Rooms, suites and cottages are scattered around the estate - near the winery, around the central courtyard, and out on the farm - and many also come with a private terrace and garden.
Unsurprisingly, the restaurant, Alentejo, serves mostly food grown and reared on the farm, and it is all exquisite - think simple pear and walnut salads and Alentejo black pork from the acorn snaffling pigs. The estate's winery is an integral part of the farm, and the impeccable house wine is served in the restaurant. Produce from the farm, including olive oils, wines, and regional delicacies, are also available in the estate shop and dedicated wine tasting experiences can easily be arranged.
The Susanne Kauffman spa - one of only three hotel spas to carry the cult beauty guru's name - is a cool, calm whitewashed haven, with a sauna, a hydrotherapy room with a cedar-wood bathtub, and several lovely treatment rooms. The signature apricot and sesame scrub, which combines acupuncture and lymph drainage massage, is divine, and Pilates, yoga and trail running are also offered - either inside or out in the sun during summer. For those who do prefer the great outdoors the hotel offers various ways to explore this beautiful part of Portugal; on horseback, with a picnic, by mountain bike, or on a guided archaeological visit.
A stargazing and astronomy experience with the professionals is a must-do while here, as the hotel is located within the world's first Starlight Tourism Destination, the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve.
Harriet, Original Traveller