Cork might not be the most obvious building material for a hotel but this is Alentejo after all, and it turns out that cork is not only a wonderfully effective insulator but its production is also about as sustainable as you can get, so the Ecorkhotel has the eco-friendly box very firmly ticked.
The main building is clad entirely in cork, with the hotel's 56 cottage suites, each with its own private terrace, dotted amongst the groves of olive trees and cork-oaks. To avoid resembling a giant pin board, the interiors are whitewashed and modern, each with an L-shaped design to maximise privacy.
The hotel's Cardo restaurant has views across the Alentejo countryside, and the young chef serves an inventive menu that is rooted in the traditional flavours of Portugal. The region's wines are currently undergoing something of a renaissance and slip down all too easily - thankfully their prices do not yet match their high quality.
The spa offers a range of treatments and massages, but the solar-heated pool is its real triumph, and the gym offers classes as well as a fully-equipped fitness studio. The rooftop pool is unheated (thanks to the long, hot summers and mild winters it's really not necessary) and is a wonderful suntrap with its views across the fields and gently undulating hills.
Why We Love It
As far as hotel swimming pools go, this ones a winner. The surrounding countryside views aren't bad either.
Herdade do Touril
Herdade de Touril is a charming 365-hectare estate on the Alentejo rugged coastline. The farmhouse property is modest in style and design, with a touch of rural Portuguese flavour, and prefect for those looking to escape the crowds.
With only 12 rooms and suites, the Herdade is intimate and homely. All rooms have been decorated in true Portuguese style with light simple colours, comfortable furnishings and private terraces.
The location is tranquil with its blend of countryside and coastal location. Guests are surrounded by a working estate where cattle is bred, as well as being able to hear waves crash against the seaside cliffs. The estate is perfect for relaxing and bathing by the swimming pool. Alternatively the coastal path is great for either cycling or walking to secluded beaches, guests can even exchange popular route suggestions over breakfast.
Little ones will take great delight in the vast open space of the estate, there are even various farm animal models scattered throughout the grounds that will attract their attention.
Lunch, breakfast and summer barbecues are served in the Herdade, all freshly prepared with local ingredients and baked goods. Evening meals require guests to take a short drive to nearby restaurants, for fabulous fresh seafood (sardines are a must) and other popular Portuguese cuisine. For those who don't fancy a drive, the hotel will do the honour.
Why We Love It
This place is flora and fauna heaven with bright bougainvillea covering the outside of the property, wonderful smells of lavender throughout and surrounding sun flowers.
Sublime Comporta is a trendy country house retreat; it's sleek, it's chic, plus the stunning beaches of Comporta are relatively unexplored and luxury hotels have yet to monopolise the area.
This Portuguese boutique has a total of 23 rooms and suites that are spread across the Main House, the Guest House and the Villas. All rooms are bright and spacious with floor to ceiling windows and private balconies. The décor is contemporary with white and grey colour schemes and minimalist furnishings.
Sublimes restaurant is an elegant open plan affair which serves a refreshing Mediterranean menu, with many ingredients being sourced from the hotels organic garden. The food isn't as heavy as other popular Portuguese dishes but they are by no means less delicious. It is the sort of place where you can expect fresh pastries at breakfast, local cheeses daily and a fantastic wine selection from neighbouring Alentejo vineyards.
Hidden in pine trees and positioned by one of the cleanest and undisturbed beaches in Europe, Sublime really is the ideal getaway choice. The nature of the place is unhurried with days spent lounging on the beach, sampling fresh seafood and going on peaceful walks. Back at the property there is a large outdoor swimming pool and fully equipped Spa to entertain any committed fly and flopper.
Why We Love It
Sublime is the perfect luxury hotel to recharge your batteries with good food and peaceful surroundings.