For a recent birthday celebration, our Head of Reservations, Kate, spent 4 blissful child-free days in Portugal – and relished every re-energising minute of it. We’ve squeezed her for her top tips on how to make the most of an adults-only trip to this beautiful country.
Our first stop was rural boutique hotel Sublime Comporta, in the northern Alentejo. We loved this stylish retreat, where the spa, yoga pavilion and organic garden met all our relaxation needs. We felt utterly spoiled by our huge 5-bedroom villa, complete with private pool. And we also liked the natural vibe of the pared-back Scandi interiors.
The hotel has a great open-plan restaurant where we enjoyed 2 delicious dinners, but for lunch we decided to head out so that we could explore the area, too. Although the cafés on the nearby beaches are very cool, we headed into Comporta, to a simple little restaurant called A Cegonha, where we had the BEST grilled sardines we’ve ever tasted.
We also browsed the town’s alluring boutiques, including vintage-department.com, which has a lustworthy array of mid-century furniture, antiques and cute design pieces. There’s also a wonderful deli masquerading as a mini mart. On first appearances The Gomez Minimercado is just a little shop selling crisps, ice-creams, water etc but if you venture further inside you find an Aladdin’s cave of meats, cheeses, sardines and wine.
Beach-wise, Pêgo was our favourite for its miles upon miles of glorious sand.
Next, we drove 30 minutes north of Lisbon, to eco-retreat Areias do Seixo, a hotel that’s been at the top of my wishlist for some time. It didn’t disappoint. We were greeted like old friends in a charming yet casual manner that perfectly set the tone for our stay: it’s like a beautiful, happy cult that you really want to be a part of.
Inside, the look is global village eclectic; the rooms are all unique and totally stunning. We stayed in Gold Room Prata (meaning Silver), which has an amazing bathroom complete with sunken Jacuzzi tub. The styling of the room is oh-so clever, with a modern wood-burner and lots of tactile textures – you wonder how so many elements can look so cohesive, but it really works.
In the early evening, we walked down from our terrace, through the gardens, to the beach dunes and watched the huge Atlantic breakers roll in.
During our stay, we ate at both the hotel restaurant and their beach eatery, Noah (3km away). At the former, we enjoyed the super-fresh fish of the day followed by a pear, chocolate and coffee dessert. Even the selection of breads with oil and butters was divine. In contrast, we also loved the laidback styling of Noah, where my hearty stew was bursting with fish, clams and prawns. The portion sizes were very generous and the house rosé went down very nicely.
I couldn’t resist booking a birthday treat in the spa and floated out of the room after a steam, a sauna and an hour-long Floral Soul massage. The therapists were just lovely.
Areias do Seixo is just amazing – certainly worthy of splashing out on for future special occasions.