Herdade da Malhadinha Nova

Albernoa, Alentejo, Portugal
Book from Book from £351 per night

Boutiqe winery, gourmet restaurant and impeccably stylish rooms and villas in a sprawling estate at the heart of the Baixo Alentejo

We have to pinch ourselves as we rock up at Malhadinha Nova. The sheer size and absolute tranquility of this vast 450-hectare wine estate hidden away in the depths of untouched Alentejo is intoxicating. We spot storks nesting in trees, peacocks spreading their wings, and horses roaming free. A river snakes through a forested valley on one side, and neat vine terraces stretch as far as the eye can see. We hop in a jeep and whizz off along the dusty path into the wilderness – there’s something vaguely safari-like about the whole experience.

Scattering the sprawling grounds are five plush houses, a winery and a gourmet restaurant. Some of the houses are split into rooms and suites, others are rented as whole properties. You can hop between them by golf buggy, choosing to breakfast at one and lunch at another. Wine tasting is a must – reds, whites and rosés are created in the boutique on-site winery – and the dinners served in the glass-walled restaurant are unmissable (all perfectly paired with a home-produced wine, of course). The whole estate oozes exclusivity - chefs cook lunch in open kitchen-living rooms at each house, creating a sense of private dining, and you could quite easily wander the grounds and not see another soul for hours. You can just imagine the rich and famous hiding away from the world here (and I’m reliably informed they do!).

Highs

  • Great food, top wines, gorgeous rooms: what more could you want?
  • Each house is beautifully styled and has its own unique character
  • The estate's rugged landscape - rolling hills, forests, lakes, river - and roaming wildlife make it feel like a true wilderness
  • The whole place has a really intimate, exclusive vibe
  • You can learn how the Malhadinha wines are created and, if you like, join in with the annual grape harvest

Lows

  • The spa is currently closed for refurbs and is due to reopen in spring 2023
  • The off-the-beaten-track location means there isn't a huge amount to see in the area, and the coast is over an hour away
  • Access to and around the farm is tricky so be sure to remember your arrival instructions, and perhaps opt for a 4x4 if you're renting a car
  • We found the service at reception a little slow
  • The tennis court looked quite tired on our most recent visit

Best time to go

Spring is a joy, when the fields are green and awash with wildflowers. Summer temperatures are bearable thanks to the moderating influence of the sea, but the estate gets very dry and dusty during these months. You'd be unlucky not to coincide with some clear and sunny weather in autumn or winter. It would be great to be here at the end of the summer when the grape harvest is underway - you can even join in.

Our top tips

It would be useful to have a copy of Robert Parker's wine guide, along with a Portuguese phrase book, binoculars, a detailed map of the area and a guide book describing what to see and do in Evora, which is an absolute must-visit.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Romantic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 21 rooms + 2 villas for 4-6
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The original farmhouse, Monte da Peceguina, has two Suites, one Junior Suite, and seven Doubles. Both Suites have high-ceilinged sitting rooms with a mezzanine level where a second double bed has been tucked beneath the beams. Down below you can slump into a comfy sofa or lounge on to the ottoman. Their focus is a woodburning stove which, Janus-like, looks forward to your sitting room and back into the main bedroom. Doubles and Junior Suites have just the one floor but flaunt similar classic styling - think cool linens and calming tones.

Continue on along a dusty path through the estate and you'll next reach Casa Das Pedras. These super-slick suites are nestled in a hillside and come with spectacular views of treetops and vines from their all-glass fronts. There's a free-standing bath by the window, and the bed is perfectly positioned to take in the scenery. Slide open the doors and you're on your private terrace, where there's a plunge pool for your pleasure.

Casa Do Ancoradouro stands in an isolated position on a hilltop at the furthest point of the estate. Not surprisingly, the views from here are breathtaking. The house is laid out around a long, elegant living room with a grand piano at one end, with seven enormous suites skirting the edges. The style here is pared-back and luxurious, each room flaunting minimalist interiors and high ceilings.

Casa Da Ribeira (sleeps 6) and Casa Das Artes e Ofícios (sleeps 4) are private villas, each with their own swimming pool. Expect the same graceful collision of traditionalism and modern design touches, plus the odd in-room bathtub and gorgeous views of the Terges stream. The two villas are set close to one another so they could work well for two families travelling together, as they come with tons of privacy.

Wherever you stay, expect loads of little treats: your complimentary bottle of the estate's Monte da Peceguina wine on a silver tray for booking through i-escape, and a big vase of cut flowers on the table.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Family friendly
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • TV

Eating

A stay at Malhadinha is very much about good food and wine, and the heart of the matter is the gourmet restaurant (closed Sun & Mon - thematic dinners are offered instead), which has an all-glass wall and looks out over the kitchen garden, creating a smart greenhouse feel. Under the guidance of Michelin-starred chef Joachim Koerper, the idea was to create dishes that showcase the estate's wines. Three-course menus change with the seasons and follow the dictates of nouvelle cuisine: manageable portions, light sauces, fresh-as-fresh ingredients, and eye-catching presentation.

A typical dinner might begin with a selection of breads, ham and oil from the farm, followed by a light starter of veggies from the garden, then white grouper with fragrant rice, and finally a selection of unique carrot-themed sweets to finish. Everything looked so pretty on the plate I felt almost loathe to disturb their culinary artwork.

Breakfasts are laidback affairs and take place at either Monte da Peceguina or Casa Do Ancoradouro (or in your room if you prefer). You eat at one table topped with vases of flowers, or outside on the terrace. A scrummy selection of continental delights are brought to you, along with fresh OJ and coffee. Eggs (from the farm) are cooked to order in the house kitchen - my omelette was the best I've ever tasted.

You can choose to have lunch here too. These are three-course set meals, but the dishes are light and small. Gourmet picnics can also be created but these need to be ordered in advance. The villas have their own kitchens, should you wish to prepare your own food. Or, if you want to eat elsewhere, try one of the two local restaurants, Restaurante O Celeiro or Restaurante A Cavalariça for simple traditional fare.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Family friendly
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurant
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take a tour of the bodega to see how Malhadinha's wines are put together and, if you're new to the game, let the basics of wine tasting be explained to you
  • Mountain bike, quad bike or horse ride through the estate, perhaps with a gourmet picnic
  • Fish in the river that cuts through the property: rods and lines are provided
  • Spend the day exploring nearby Evora: the town has a deliciously out-of-time feel to it, and there are some excellent Roman ruins including a temple. Nowadays it has the happy buzz of any university town
  • Take to the air with a balloon flight over the vineyards
  • If you're here at the end of the summer join in with the grape harvest
  • The local area is known for pottery; ask about a course with a local artisan

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting
  • Yoga

Kids

Although this is a sophisticated place, kids would certainly enjoy exploring the estate and meeting its animals (pigs, cows, hens, peacocks, turkeys). The possibility of learning to ride a horse would be an added attraction for older kids, and the pools and mountain bikes could provide plenty of entertainment. There are all sorts of accommodation options, so you'll easily find something that suits.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The two suites in Peceguina both have a second double bed hoisted up on their mezzanine levels, while Ancoradouro Suites have sofabeds that can sleep 2 kids. The private villas - Casa Das Artes e Ofícios (sleeps 4) and Casa Da Ribeira (sleeps 6) - would work well for families.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

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

Kids Activities on site:

  • Meeting the farm animals
  • Karting experience
  • T-shirt painting workshop
  • Cookie making workshop
  • Painting workshop
  • Treasure hunt
  • Mountain biking
  • Horse riding

Kid Friendly:

Location

Herdade da Malhadinha is in the Alentejo, 3km from the village of Albernoa; the nearest large town is Beja, 23km away.

By Air
The nearest airport is Faro (124km), a little over an hour away by car; from Lisbon (200km) it is nearer 2 hours by car. You could also fly to Seville, in which case allow half a day for getting to Malhadinha.

From the Airport
We'd recommend that your hire a car in order to make the most of the area - see our car rental recommendations. Alternatively, take a taxi. Airport transfers are also available via the hotel.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Faro 124.0 km FAO
  • Lisbon Portela 200.0 km LIS

Other:

  • Beach 100.0 km
  • Shops 20.0 km
  • Restaurant 6.0 km

Rates for Herdade da Malhadinha Nova

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