Ha Mar ao Luar

Setubal, Lisbon Coast, Portugal Book from Book from £82 per night

Simple hideaway high on the hill above Setubal, with quirky self-catering accommodation and stunning views out to sea
The position here is faultless: high above the castle, with imperious views that stretch as far as the eye can see. Directly in front a thirty-mile crescent of sand curves south on the Tróia peninsular; to your left the Rio Sado sweeps west, carving out the odd lagoon before tumbling into the ocean. Sailing boats, cargo ships and ferries zip about; the historic port of Setúbal guards the banks three miles below.

Há Mar ao Luar ('moonlight-on-sea') is a quirky place with smart, homely interiors and a pool on a terrace. There are suites in the main house, a windmill with staggering views, other hideaways nestled in the garden. Breakfast is left in your fridge the night before, so you can get up whenever you like. You can walk down the cliffside path, past the castle, into the vibrant town where ferries shuttle across to Tróia for beaches, Roman ruins, a golf course and bird watching. Perfect for couples in search of understated romance, or families looking to escape.

Highs

  • Fabulous views of the estuary and ocean
  • Quirky, good-value accommodation, with the option to self-cater
  • We loved the Casinha with its cosy terrace, and the windmill - Moinho du Luar - with its bed-with-a-view
  • Setúbal for its old town; the peninsula for its wooded hills and secluded beaches

Lows

  • Parts of the grounds were a little scruffy when we visited
  • No freshly-squeezed juice at breakfast
  • The night life is at the bottom of the hill, but you are here after escapism
  • Don’t expect hotel service, do expect peace and privacy at the top of a hill

Best time to go

Setúbal, with its peninsula and proximity to Lisbon, makes a good year-round destination. May and June are beautiful, especially for walking and country drives, though the sea is still a little chilly. Like much of the country, July and August can get pretty hot. The grape harvest festival at Palmela takes place on the first Sunday in September and is very well attended. The extremely reasonable winter rates extend throughout November-April.

Our top tips

The further east you drive, the less populated and more beautiful Portugal gets. It’s an undiscovered, untouched, utterly authentic area which has hardly changed in 150 years. Roman Evora (a World Heritage site) is an hour east on the motorway, wonderful Estramoz (a good example of a small but important provincial town) is 30 minutes beyond. Don’t miss them.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Apartments & Cottages
  • 6
  • Breakfast + basic self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room: Casa do Mar ao Luar

Rooms

The main house holds an apartment, a suite and a small double room, all with private entrances, while in the garden you'll find 3 more retreats: a windmill, a cabin and a huge suite tucked under the terrace. Most have a kitchen or cooking corner so you can self-cater with ease.

Our favourite was the Moinho do Luar (aka the windmill) which dates to 1802. Here you can lie in bed and gaze out through French windows on the ocean below - great for a special occasion.

We also loved the private Casinha, a small wooden cabin tucked into a lush corner of the garden. Throw open the glass doors and step into a small but colourful world: vibrant tiles, a day bed in the sitting room and an uncluttered bedroom. Also charming is the Refuge, which has a whole wall of glass, opening onto a private terrace.

The Blue Suite is connected to the main house, but has a private entrance. You get a bedroom and a sitting room, plus a bougainvillea-shaded terrace. Expect stripped wood floors, cast-iron daybeds, white walls to soak up the light, dining tables inside and out. The White Room, also connected to the main house, is very similar to the suites, but is just a little smaller.

Since our visit the 2-bedroom Casa do Mar ao Luar apartment has been added, it sounds spacious and homely (with its own kitchen) so we can't wait to stop by and road test it soon.

Features include:

  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Internet access
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Tv

Eating

All rooms except the White Room have kitchenettes with a couple of hobs, a fridge and a microwave, so you can prepare picnic lunches or whip up pasta and soups. If you wanted to cook dinner you could, but most people retreat from the pool for a spot of home-made lunch, then head down to town for a bite in the evening. For traditional fare we like Cozimha de Abade, while Fernando’s does tasty fish and seafood. Equally, you could head west along the peninsular to find good fish restaurants at most of the beaches.

As the White Room has no kitchen, breakfast is either served on its terrace in good weather or in the main house if it’s raining. For all the other rooms, breakfast is left in your fridge the night before and in the morning small loaves of freshly-baked bread are delivered to the front door. You’ll get milk and juice, cheese and ham, jam and bread. There’s coffee and tea in each kitchen, too.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • In house cook
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Setúbal, once an old fishing village, is now a busy port and the district capital. The alleyways of the old town are full shops and restaurants. There’s a market every day except Monday (Saturday is busiest). If you want something a little bit different take to the water and search for dolphins or sail the estuary of the Rio Sado and look for flamingos. Boats leave from the marina. The town was settled in prehistoric times and has thrived ever since the Iron Age. Christians, Romans, Barbarians and Moors have all fought over it. It is also the home town of the special one: Jose Mourinho.
  • The Setúbal Peninsula juts west for about 25km. To the north the spectacular bridge across the Rio Tejo takes you into Lisbon in style; in the middle rise the Arrábida Hills. Explore them and find the Arrábida Convent (it dates to the 14th century), pretty white villages, the beaches at Galapos (great scuba diving) and Portinho da Arrábida (popular fish restaurants). The grape harvest festival at Palmela takes place on the first Sunday in September and is very well attended; the odd drop gets drunk
  • The Tróia Peninsula is a great day-trip. Ferries whizz you and your car across in about 20 minutes. Try Tróia for Roman ruins or golf, the Caparica Coast for 30 miles of beach (don’t expect a crowd), Alcácer do Sal for the Sado Estuary (canoe trips and flocks of flamingos), Santiago do Cacém (where the Knights Templar defeated the Moors in 1157) for the well-preserved ruins of a hilltop castle and a pretty old town below.
  • Lisbon is close. If you don’t want to stay in the city, but wish to visit, you can drive (40 minutes), take the train (an hour) or park the car at Almada and take the ferry across the mighty Rio Tejo

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

This is a quiet rustic property where families are welcome, but not in great numbers as there are only two family apartments. We think it is not a great place for toddlers but it’s quite well suited to older children who will love the sandy beaches and boat rides nearby, but apart from the pool, there’s not too much to occupy them on site. The combination of self-catering facilities and nearby restaurants makes life here with children a lot more flexible.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Refuge apartment is best for families with a baby, whereas Casa do Mar ao Luar is great for larger families, with 2 bedrooms and space for extra beds.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chair

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Horse riding
  • 4 golf courses
  • Sailing
  • Boat rides

Families Should Know:

The (unheated) swimming pool is unfenced and has a steep drop beside it. There are a few dogs on the neighbouring property. You will need a car to get about although local taxis are not expensive

Distances:

  • Airport: 45-60 minutes
  • Hospital: 7 minutes
  • Shops: 5 minutes (Setubal)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 15 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Rooms
8/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Staying in the windmill was really fun. The fire kept it warm as did the radiators. Breakfast was brought to the door and it was like having our own private place. We loved it

10/10, , November 2016

This is a really charming place to say. Peaceful and quiet with spectacular sea views from the cabin and the pool. It is quirky, rustic, artisan and simple but has a special charm and sophistication. The owners and staff were very helpful and welcoming too. I would really recommend it highly for someone who likes things that are natural and uncomplicated, restful, different and simple.

10/10, , September 2016

We had such a wonderful stay at Ha Mar ao Luar. <br>Thank you Maria and staff. The accommodation was perfect, we had great facilities and loved the privacy of the windmill and our final night in the cabin was lovely too. The staff were all very helpful and there whenever we needed them but we felt like we had the place to ourselves most of the time which was great. The breakfast supplied was lovely - plenty of food and very fresh. I would strongly advise hiring a car to explore the lovely surrounding beaches and mountains of Setubal as the town itself isn't great. The hill to the town is very steep but fine to stroll down. It is very daunting walking back up though but 5 euros to get back up was worth it. If you are looking for a relaxing holiday with privacy and a great view this is the perfect place. I would definitely return for a week of rest and relaxation again - bliss.

10/10, , July 2016

An outstanding property situated high above Setubal. The views from our terrace and the pool were amazing. Our suite was clean, and generally cool even in 40 degrees! Maria and her team were endlessly helpful making our trip truly memorable with an amazing dolphin watching trip. There was some dog barking from neighbourhood dogs but it did not disturb us at all. We hope to return, as it is such an easy trip from UK, we were in situ by noon on our arrival day.

8/10, , July 2016

We were not lucky - it was really cold and raining, and to our despair we realized that the weather forecast for all 3 days we planned to spend in Ha Mar ao Lugar is a disaster. So we decided to return home next day (as, although this does not happen a lot, back in our country the temperatures were highest in Europe) and we cannot comment a lot about the place. However, we were absolutely impressed by the service and understanding of our host. They came to fix our chimney to heat up the cold room, covered me with a blanket when, exhausted by our early morning flight I fell asleep in a cold room! They offered all the care and support (although the cold rain they could not stop..), showed all the care and sympathy and with no problems agreed to reduce the reservation and payment just to one night. We are very grateful and believe if we stayed for longer in this place we would get a great family atmosphere and service. We hope to come back in more sunny circumstances!

9/10, , May 2016

The quality of the apartment and the noise of the dog at night made our stay here so bad that we left after one night instead of two. Having spent a long time researching the web to try to find a lovely place to sty for two nights - one of which was our anniversary - we were very disappointed. It is certainly not 'hip' or special, other than the view. The furnishings are tired and the walls and door badly marked. It was more like an upmarket hostel than a posh apartment. The dogs kept us awake nearly all night and we left at 8am to go somewhere else. I imagine that at one time Ha mar o luar must have been a nice place but now it feels neglected.

4/10, , October 2015

Incredible view and such a fun, quirky place to stay. Perfect for privacy and quiet.

10/10, , September 2015

What a fabulous place. With a wonderful panoramic view across the amazing bay of the river as it gives into the sea, it's ideally placed to swoop down on the little beaches around Setubal itself. <br>This venue deserves a longer stay than our three nighter. It truly has come up with a unique blend of gorgeous accommodation where guests can make little simple meals themselves and a hotel. It's a winner. The breakfast is all brought to your door and we had ours out on the lovely patio by the French doors. After a swim in their fabulous little pool we returned to our lovely cottage, The Blue Room, to find it all cleaned, tidied and hotel style immaculate. Our mess from the evening meal,admittedly just a barbecue chicken and salad, was all whisked away and there was nothing to do. This is a a heavenly hybrid of a stay where you are looked after but you don't find yourself up the mountain with no option but to drive to a restaurant and return without drinking. Setubal has brilliant wine shops and it's the work of a couple of minutes to get supplies for evening . Thank you for a lovely relaxing stay.

10/10, , September 2015

A truly fantastic trip. We stayed in the little wooden house in the beautiful grounds and had all we needed for a five night stay. Totally self contained and private the perfect retreat. Lovely touches of wifi on terrace and pool for hot days make this a perfect place to unwind. Thank you. All good locally is excellent, from our experience you can't go wrong!

10/10, , September 2015

it was a charming cabin, comfortable bed, lovely sheets, sensational view, overall great place to stay

10/10, , July 2015

{{ review.rating }}/10, {{ review.firstName }}Anonymous{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

Rates for Ha Mar ao Luar