Herdade do Reguenguinho

Cercal, Alentejo, Portugal Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
A funky country B&B in a converted farmhouse with a pool and exotic grounds, just 10 miles inland from the surfers’ beach at Malhao
This stretch of the lower Alentejo bears a distinct resemblance to Australia: gum trees, red soil, blue sky, dry savannah, a gentle ripple in the hills. It's fabulously undeveloped. At the herdade (farm) you find a distinctly cool B&B; think surfer chic in the country. You're a short hop from the Atlantic rollers and waves of sand which line Portugal's southwest coast; but miles from anywhere.

Ricardo quit the 9-to-5 of Lisbon and set up home near his beloved waves. He converted 2 family barns, painted them orange, chiselled out a very funky courtyard in between and infused the place with a warm minimalist elegance. He now runs the coolest place in the district and never gets the time to surf! If you want to learn, he can point you in the right direction, but life here encourages a certain laziness. There’s an infinity pool overlooking fields, hammocks to snooze in, orange bean bags in the courtyard, sun loungers on the terrace, even a shaded daybed. Cool tunes play inside, at night guests chat by moonlight. Rooms are a treat: lots of colour, crisp white linen, roofs open to the rafters.


  • We revisited in 2015 and found it to be stylish but informal, a seriously hip country B&B
  • The funky courtyard and pool with its views of the fields
  • The west coast of Portugal is a Mecca for surfers
  • You’re lost in the country; come for the sound of silence


  • Although the road passes quietly, you hear the odd car zoom past at night
  • The land at the front was a little scruffy, but you don’t notice once you’re in
  • Standard Rooms are quite small, though perfectly attractive
  • Cercal doesn’t have much to offer. If you want some night life, you’ll have to drive to it

Best time to go

Temperatures in July and August climb into the high 30s. Come in late spring to wild flowers across the countryside. October can offer some late sun.

Our top tips

Bring surf and beach gear, a guidebook, and a laid-back attitude.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 8
  • Breakfast + light meals
  • 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


The hallmark here is elegant simplicity: terracotta-brick floors, raw eucalyptus ceilings, shuttered windows and good beds wearing smart white linen. You’ll find contemporary art mixing with colourful arts-and-crafts artefacts: locally-woven rugs, Indian printing blocks, tasselled lampshades, driftwood picture frames. It’s always uncluttered, with one wall given over to a particular piece, as if being exhibited (which it is).

The Six Senses Suite is in the main farmhouse (herdade). It’s enormous, with a proper sitting room and a private terrace with fireplace. The Standard Rooms and Suites are in the adjacent barn; which is connected to the main house by an open courtyard. They aren’t huge, but they’re pretty and homely, plus this isn’t the sort of place where you hide away in your room.

About 200m from the main house are 2 private Palafitas (suites-on-stilts). Named Land and Water, they have wooden decks, hammocks and outdoor hot water showers. Indoors you'll find double beds, sunken hydromassage tubs and kitchenettes (with refrigerators and microwaves). Great for honeymooners.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Honesty bar
  • Terrace
  • WiFi


Breakfast is laid out in the dining room; if the weather is good, spin onto the terrace, if not, keep warm inside. You’ll find the usual Portuguese excess: plates of fresh fruit, sliced hams and cheeses, cereals, yoghurts, and irresistible cakes. Baskets of bread are waiting at the table, as are various homemade preserves.

Light meals are available throughout the afternoon; choose from omelettes, toasted sarnies, salads, burgers and sweet or savoury sweet crepes. Portions are huge. There’s also an honesty bar to keep you cool, so mix drinks, then head out to the pool; Ricardo likes his caipirinhas and will shake one up if you fancy.

For evening meals, you’ll have to head out. There are a couple of excellent restaurants close by and the local food is surprisingly good. In Cercal try Passarinho for good grilled meat and fish. Our favourite is Tasca do Celso, in Milfontes. It draws a devoted crowd for good reason; we loved extremely tasty peasant fare boasting delicious strong flavours.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch by arrangement


  • Fabulous beaches litter the coastline. If you want loungers in the sun with a bar on hand head to Milfontes. If you want something wilder, try Malhao; it’s nicely isolated, has impressive cliffs and horse riding on its 15km of sand can be arranged
  • Milfontes beach also has a surf school - Ricardo knows the people who run it and will book you in
  • Take to the hills and discover the hinterland. There’s a lake a couple of kilometres behind the house and you can cut across country to Santiago do Cacém, a pretty town with a fine ruined castle
  • If you keep going, you come to the Tróia peninsula, 30 miles of beach leading north to the Sado River. At the end of the peninsula, ferries cross to the interesting town of Setúbal
  • Head an hour east to the old hilltop town of Beja; Roman Evora (a World Heritage town) is a little further north, too
  • Soak up the sun and tranquillity beside the pool, mix a drink from the honesty bar and forget all about the real world

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Segways for hire
  • Surfing
  • Swimming


Children are welcome and older ones will love splashing in the pool and the varied local beach activities.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Suite Oir has a mezzanine level with an additional double bed; most rooms can fit an extra bed or baby cot.

Kid Friendly:

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