Sao Lourenco do Barrocal

Near Monsaraz, Alentejo, Portugal Book from Book from £203 per night

A refashioned farm estate with family-size cottages, stylish rooms and a luxury spa, set in wildly beautiful Alentejo countryside
There are vineyards, ancient olive groves and meadows of cattle, but if you are thinking home-spun farmstay, think again. With 780 hectares of land, this monte alentejo is a more like a village. In its converted farmhouse and rows of whitewashed estate cottages, there are over 40 rooms and cottages; it even has its own street. When the owners (the land has been in the same family for 200 years) developed the hotel, they hired a Portuguese architect to refashion barns and outhouses to combine five-star comforts and a country-luxe style with a healthy respect for the landscape, its family memories and local traditions. He's done an incredible job.

In the daytime, São Lourenço do Barrocal’s wide cobbled street – once a rattle of horses, carts and livestock – is busy with buggies of luggage, children on bikes, bustling housekeepers and couples strolling in the sun. There is a bar in a former olive mill, a rustic restaurant, a pool in a meadow, and a shop selling the farm’s own wine and virgin olive oil. Some of the rooms have views of the hilltop village of Monsaraz – one of Alentejo’s prettiest villages. In the evening, you'll find starlit skies, the smell of herbs and wood-smoke... and silence.

Information provided by Sao Lourenco do Barrocal on 13/11/2020.

Cleaning and hygiene
Enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures deployed.

Food and drink
Room service available without additional cost. Increased size of restaurant and bar terraces. More choices of picnic and wine baskets available. Bread and cakes on sale by in-house pastry chef. Light meals available at the Pool Bar and Hotel Bar.

Classes (such as Tai Chi, Chi kung, Yoga, Pilates) moved outdoors.

New flexible 48-hour cancellation policy while Covid is prevalent.


  • A real retreat: come for lazy days of horse riding, picnics in the meadow and wine tasting, or long lunches and afternoon naps
  • A fresh, organic menu in the restaurant - perhaps slow-roasted rabbit with mushrooms, artichoke, figs and sweet potato
  • The serene and scented Susanne Kaufmann spa with its cloister-like treatment rooms and cedar hot tub
  • Nearby Monsaraz is a peach of a village: quaint cobbled streets and a castle with views of Lago do Alqueva, the largest lake in Europe
  • Great for free-range families: masses of space to run around, self-catering cottages and a separate kids pool


  • The service can be a bit haphazard, particularly in the restaurant during busy times
  • The food gets mixed reviews
  • Leave the fashion footwear at home: with brick floors and cobbled walkways, this is no place for high heels
  • You'll need a car to get the best out of the area
  • Expect the odd grind of agricultural machinery – this is still a working farm, after all

Best time to go

Our favourite season is spring (April/May) when the countryside is luminous with greenery and wild flowers and the weather is pleasantly warm (perfect for walking), though not 100% reliable. Summer is consistently sun-baked with temperatures climbing over 40C; autumn is still sunny but much more comfortable; and winter is cooler but can be a cosy time to visit. The rooms and cottages are well equipped for all seasons.

Our top tips

Don't miss the really insightful activities on offer, from pastry-baking to gin distillery tours to cycling around the estate on complimentary bikes. Better still, book yourself on to one of the three-day packages focussing on food and wine; archaeology and megalithic sites; birdwatching and stargazing; pottery and textiles. They include fascinating English-speaking guides, workshops, and dinner each night.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 40 rooms
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily)
  • 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
  • Laundry service
  • Stables and horse riding ring


The 40 units are divided between rooms and cottages, spread between whitewashed old living quarters. All share the same country-luxe style: brick floors, vintage furniture and soft dairy colours (cream, buttermilk, eau de nil). Finishing touches include Alentejo textiles and hand-painted pottery, Portuguese cottons and artisan rugs.

The 22 rooms are classified as Winery, Courtyard or Farm rooms, different only in size and orientation (we particularly liked the Farm rooms, which form a terrace opening onto the street). Beds are super-kingsize (all convert into twins) and every room has air-conditioning, underfloor heating, an outdoor terrace and possibly the world’s best bathrobes. Two roomy Suites also have a living area with sofas, dining table for 6 people and spectacular views towards Monsaraz Castle. Throughout, spacious bathrooms come with twin basins, bathtubs and/or walk-in showers.

In the original farmhouse are the Meadow, Barn and Yard cottages - though the word ‘cottages’ is an understatement as some are vast. Choose from a 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom version, all with generously equipped Gaggenau and Smeg kitchens (fridge, hob, oven). Some cottages have private terraces.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • TV
  • WiFi


The restaurant has the atmosphere of an informal farmhouse kitchen – where everyone gathers to eat, drink and socialise – with an open fire for cooler months and a terrace of refectory-style tables for warmer weather. The emphasis is on ‘farm to table’ and the seasonal menu is built on flower-garnished Portuguese dishes using local cheeses, artisan breads, fish from the Alqueva Lake and the estate’s own wines, olive oil, veal, salad leaves and organic vegetables. Try deep-fried green beans with yoghurt and herbs, chickpea stew with mint and sausage cooked in a clay pot, or slow-roasted rabbit with mushrooms, artichoke, figs and sweet potato. There's another farm-to-table restaurant, open seasonally for summer dinners, plus a pool bar and the hotel's bar which serve light snacks.

Breakfast is a generous buffet of hams, cheeses, pastries, cereals fresh fruit and juices, plus eggs to order. Gluten-free and lactose-free diets are catered for. A family-friendly afternoon tea of cake, hot drinks and juices is served in the bar every afternoon.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service


  • There's no need to go anywhere: walking, bird watching, massages, stargazing, long lunches, wine tastings, wine making classes and cookery classes can all be done within the estate
  • Horses are integral to the estate, there's a horse riding ring and stables
  • Take a three-day cycling tour, with the whole programme organised by the estate. They take in the grounds and wider Alentejo region and focus on themes including gastronomy and wine; archaeology and culture; and traditional family experiences
  • Book an hour (free of charge) in the spa’s cedar wood hydrotherapy bath, housed in a private room with serene views of the estate
  • Don’t miss the walled hilltop village of Monsaraz, with its cobbled, car-free streets, cafes and craft shops. Its castle – the 13th-century Lago do Castelo – has stupendous views across Alentejo plains and the Alqueva Lake towards Spain
  • Arrange an archaeology tour, or do your own: this corner of the Alentejo is rich in prehistoric monuments including Cromlech of Xerez’ 50 standing stones (10 minutes’ drive) and the estate’s own Menhir do Barrocal, the biggest megalithic stone on the Iberian peninsula
  • Do a day trip to historic Evora (45 minutes by car) for the Cathedral, 16th century Giraldo Square and Roman Temple

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Cooking classes
    • Cycling
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse riding
    • Hot air ballooning
    • Kayaking
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Sailing
    • Shopping / markets
    • Stargazing
    • Traditional cultures
    • Well being
    • Wine tasting
    • Yoga


The intention here is to recreate the atmosphere of a village community and families with children are very much part of that ethos. It's heaven for free-range kids, with acres of land to run around in (including neolithic stones to clamber over), a kids pool, bikes and horses to ride (by arrangement), and various animals to go and see. The restaurant is child-friendly (there's a play area on lawns outside), and we liked the playroom (suitable for 4- to 11-year-olds) equipped with toys, books and films.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

All bedrooms have space for a complimentary baby cot (suitable for 0-4 year olds); there are no extra beds. Families will probably prefer the cottages, with 1-3 bedrooms apiece, all of which can be twinned, and kitchens to self-cater a few meals. Most rooms and cottages have a bathtub.


Available on request

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs

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

Children's meals:

A kids menu in the restaurant, kids are encouraged to help chef pluck produce from the organic vegetable garden and try the field-to-fork dishes

Kids Activities on site:

  • Kids pool
  • Playroom with small circus tent, play kitchen, board games, creative materials and books
  • Treasure hunt: you're given a map of the estate and there's a chest of surprises to find
  • Farmland Families programme including gardening class, birding, pottery masterclass, birding, wine and olive harvest (in season)
  • Animals to see
  • Bicycles to hire
  • Horse riding and pony and trap rides by arrangement
  • Set on a Dark Sky reserve, you get terrific stargazing

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Monsaraz's castle and Evora's Roman ruins

Families Should Know:

Parents must accompany children in the play room


  • Airport: 165km (Lisbon)
  • Shops: 12km (Reguengos de Monsaraz)
  • Hospital: 50km (Évora City)
Kid Friendly:


São Lourenço do Barrocal is in the northeast corner of the Alentejo region, close to the Spanish border. It's halfway between the villages of Pedro do Corval and Monsaraz.

By Air:
The nearest airport is Lisbon Portela Airport (165km), 2 hours away. Faro Airport (230km/2.5 hours) is also an option.

From the Airport
The hotel can arrange transfers from Lisbon airport, but by far the best option is to hire a car so you can explore the local area.

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


  • Lisbon Portela Airport 165.0 km LIS
  • Faro Airport 230.0 km FAO


  • Beach 165.0 km
  • Shops 4.0 km
  • Restaurant 4.0 km

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