Montimerso SkyScape Country House

Near Monsaraz, Alentejo, Portugal
Book from Book from £181 per night

Remote, tranquil eco-retreat with 15 trendy suites, jaw-dropping lake views, starry skies and a top-rated gourmet restaurant

We fell in love with this sparkling new eco-hotel in a secret corner of glorious Alentejo countryside. Nature is at the heart of everything here - from the fresh, seasonal ingredients used in the highly acclaimed kitchen, to the trendy, locally-sourced homewares in the rooms. The surrounding land has been rewilded, so expect seas of wildflowers (in spring), aromas of herbal plants wafting through the air, and a chorus of soothing birdsong. A Unesco certification made this the first Starlight Tourism Destination in the world, meaning magnificent Milky Way-filled skies follow awesome sunsets. But the real star of the show? The Alqueva Lake (Europe's largest manmade reservoir) that glistens as far as the eye can see. Take in the view from the infinity pool or from your very own private terrace (every room has one). This is heavenly stuff.

All suites are generously sized and beautifully designed with handmade interiors and those far-reaching views of the lake or countryside. Some even have their own heated plunge pools. We adored the chic and serene vibe, the muted tones and the cork and wicker touches. There are lake beaches and medieval walled towns and villages nearby – hilltop Monsaraz blew us away – as well as horse-riding, wine-tasting, biking and balloon rides on the estate itself. Everything here is about preserving nature and traditional ways of life. We were utterly charmed. One to remember, for sure.

Highs

  • Breathtaking sunsets seen best with a sundowner from a special picnic spot on the estate
  • Staff are super-friendly and can help with everything from swimming spots to English-speaking guides
  • Every room is fabulous and comes with a private terrace for soaking up the rugged views - there isn't a speck of civilisation in sight
  • Marvel at the Milky Way through the telescope in the dining room, or the stargazing platform outside
  • This region is wild and wonderful - few tourists have discovered it, and the tiny fortified hilltop village of Monsaraz (6km away) is one of Portugal’s loveliest gems

Lows

  • No twin rooms here (just doubles); and no bathtubs
  • It's remote, and the nearest village is 6km away; you’ll need a car
  • Pathways can be a little uneven so watch your step
  • The infinity pool is designed for gentle dipping rather than vigorous swims and is unheated
  • We found that the hot water came and went a little in our shower

Best time to go

It is said that this part of Alentejo gets 300 days of sunshine. We love spring (April/May) - the wildflowers are in bloom, the countryside is gloriously green and the temperature is warm and pleasant. Summer months are hot – often reaching 35-40C – but you can always cool down in the pool or lake. Come autumn, the sun still shines and temperatures are kinder. Winters are cool – typically 12-18C – and can be wet, but the hotel is cosy and warm thanks to enormous fireplaces.

Our top tips

Although you're 100 miles from the coast, this is one of Portugal's best spots for swimming and watersports, thanks to the "Great Lake" of Alqueva on your doorstep. There's a semi-developed sandy beach 10 mins' drive from the hotel and, with over 1,000km of shoreline, no end of wild swimming spots too. SUP, sailing, wakeboarding, canoe and kayak trips are all possible.

Great for...

Eco
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Romantic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 15 rooms
  • Restaurant & bar
  • Children accepted but not ideal
  • 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
  • Bicycles Available
  • Electric car charger
Room:

Rooms

There are 11 Suites and 4 Premium Suites, each cool and minimalistic in design, with added pops of colour and natural textures. Think on-trend rattan wall hangings, colourful woven rugs, little clay pots, and soothing wood features, all sourced from local suppliers (some items are for sale). Every option comes with a private terrace or balcony plus a view of either the lake or the hilltop village of Monsaraz. Lake-facing rooms get the best view, but village-facing rooms are cooler in summer.

Premium Suites have their own dinky little plunge pools too, perfectly placed for stargazing with a glass of something cold – note that these are heated from October until late spring. Other little extras we loved included fluffy bathrobes, blankets for stargazing, jars of homemade honey, and a little bag of foraged plants from the garden. There's a bicycle outside every room for exploring the estate. If you want a Bluetooth speaker or some binoculars for birdwatching, just ask.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries

Eating

By all accounts, eating here is an utter treat. Devour fresh, seasonal and locally-sourced food, with breathtaking panoramic views of Alqueva Lake as your backdrop.

SkyScape Restaurant serves breakfasts, light lunches and daily-changing set dinners. We started our day on the restaurant's sunny terrace, tucking into crusty bread and Montimerso honey, fruit platters, mini pastries and perfectly cooked omelettes. For lunch, think sharing platters of local meat and cheeses, shrimp salad, gazpacho or a trio of mini-burgers. Or you could request a picnic and take it down to the lake.

Dinner for us was an indulgent treat: asparagus drizzled in a honey-mustard dressing and topped with toasted nuts, then black pig tenderloins with migas (a local delicacy made by soaking stale bread - sounds odd, tasted delicious!). Dessert was super-sweet sericaia (a type of flat cake local to the region) with plum and cinnamon. It goes without saying that the wines here (all produced locally) are fantastic.

Beyond the hotel, the nearest restaurants are a 5/10-minute drive away. Hotel staff recommend Os Templarios in Monsaraz, or Sem Fim in the nearby village of Telheiro. We opted for the latter and thought the food was excellent - sticky ribs cooked in honey and rosemary, and then the richest chocolate mousse we've ever tasted. The cuisine here is hearty, traditional and very meat-focused - not so good for veggies. Expect enormous portions!

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Enjoy the great outdoors on the estate: take in the scenery on foot or horseback, explore the lake by boat, cycle the rolling country lanes (bikes can be borrowed from the hotel); have a picnic; walk in the eucalyptus forests of the Serra de Ossa; go birdwatching with the hotel's binoculars
  • Don't miss the charming, cobbled hilltop village of Monsaraz (5 mins) with its impressive 13th-century castle, artisan shops and epic views over the Alqueva Lake
  • The sandy freshwater beach of Praia Fluvial de Monsaraz (10 mins) is perfect for a cooling swim or kayak trip on Alqueva Lake; there's a handy onsite restaurant too
  • Enjoy a private wine tasting experience with a sommelier focused on local wines
  • Head out to Évora (40 mins), an impressively preserved 14th-century medieval walled town. Discover curious Roman baths, a grand Cathedral and the 16th-century Giraldo Town Square
  • It's a similar distance to lovely Vila Viçosa, with its grandiose marble palace, castle and orange-tree-shaded plaza
  • Hotel staff can also arrange pottery workshops, balloon rides, olive oil tastings, and English-speaking guides

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome here, although the hotel has been designed primarily with adults in mind, and the ambiance is a tranquil one.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

It is possible to add one cot or extra bed (available on request, at extra cost) in the Premium Suites. But be warned, they are in short supply so get in there early.

Families Should Know:

Loud splashing in the pool is discouraged.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Montimerso SkyScape Country House is set on the edge of Alqueva Lake in the northeast corner of the Alentejo region, close to the Spanish border. The village of Monsaraz is 6km away; the town of Reguengos de Monsaraz is 10km.

By Air:
The nearest airport is Lisbon (180km / 2 hours). Faro (230km / 2.5 hours) is also an option.

From the Airport:
You will want to hire a car to explore the area and have options for eating out. There's free parking at the hotel.

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

Airports:

  • Lisbon 179.0 km LIS

Other:

  • Beach 10.0 km
  • Shops 9.0 km
  • Restaurant 6.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Gorgeous rooms, beautiful landscape. Very attentive staff.
Breakfast was lovely. The restaurant needs to be booked in advance and has little in the way of out-of-hours food service.

9/10,

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