Sublime Comporta

near Comporta, Lisbon Coast, Portugal Book from

Reviewed by Clemmy Manzo
A contemporary country retreat with a spa and imaginative food, hidden among pine trees a short drive from some of Portugal’s best beaches
Thanks to its understated yet chic vibe, unspoiled beaches and destination restaurants, the sleepy fishing village of Comporta in Portugal’s rustic Alentejo region has become the holiday destination of choice for international fashion designers, artists and royals. As Gonçalo Pessoa, owner of Sublime Comporta, puts it: ‘It’s what Saint Tropez was like in the 80s’. Staying here feels like you’ve been let in on a secret, yet it’s just an hour’s drive south of Lisbon.

The 2014 opening of this hotel has added to the area’s allure. Tucked away a few km outside town, the main terracotta building houses modern Italian design mixed with ethnic pieces - a nod to the owners’ international travels (he’s a pilot, she a former air hostess). Spread out around it are 14 minimalist all-white rooms and suites with private terraces. Sleek as they are, they don’t steal the limelight from their natural surroundings - 17 hectares of fragrant pine forest, visible through floor-to-ceiling windows. And that’s not all - there’s a rim-flow pool, a spa with an indoor pool, and a restaurant that provides healthy competition to the gourmet eateries nearby.

Highs

  • Romantic, relaxing rooms with swish bathrooms
  • Innovative food from David João, one of Portugal’s emerging culinary talents
  • The spa with its sleeping pods - perfect for reading and dozing after a swim, steam or massage
  • The outdoor pool terrace, with a firepit for evening drinks and the hotel’s forest as a backdrop
  • Carvalhal and Pego beaches are among Portugal’s most beautiful and they’re within a 10-minute drive or cycle

Lows

  • The ongoing construction of 20 new villas (due for September 2016) will change the feel of the place, and may cause some disturbance between 7am-8pm
  • You’ll need a car to get here, to get around and to get to other restaurants if you want a change of scene
  • Not ideal for children; this is a peaceful couples’ retreat
  • Some rooms have open-plan bathrooms - not to everyone’s taste
  • You might not fancy the 5-course tasting menus every night, though lighter meals are available on request

Best time to go

Any time between mid-May and mid-September, when the weather is sunny and the sea warm enough for swimming. Surfing is best in September, October and November. Daytime winter temperatures hover around 15C - still warm enough for beach walks, picnics and horse rides.

Our top tips

Head to Praia do Pego for a walk along the sand dunes, stopping for a lunch of fresh, local fish at the excellent Sal restaurant. We also recommend a pre-dinner cocktail at the hotel bar - the aptly named ‘Sublime’ is a take on the classic Bellini, replacing peach with guava juice.

Great for...

Beach
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 14
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome but not ideal
  • Open all year
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Guest\\\'s Suite

Rooms

The 14 rooms are spread across the main building (where the restaurant, spa and reception are) and a separate annex 10m away. All-white minimalism is consistent, complemented by statement pieces such as gnarled wooden tables or Oriental porcelain urns. Grey concrete headboards and floors add to the contemporary feel, and lyrics from Gloria Gaynor’s ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ are frosted onto the windows, which look out over private terraces to the trees.

The spacious 2-storey Guest's Suites are worth plumping for if you can. All have an open bathroom on a mezzanine level, and a kingsize bed and sitting area (plus a separate toilet) downstairs. The Owner’s Suite on the top floor of the main building is the pick of the bunch, with 2 private terraces (one with a Jacuzzi tub) overlooking the infinity pool, and a wood-burning fireplace for cosy winter stays. The Friend’s Rooms are the smallest options (some have kingsize beds, others queensize), but they share the same airy style.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Coffee maker
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • Underfloor heating
  • WiFi

Eating

The hotel restaurant is a welcome addition to Comporta’s growing culinary scene. The elegantly simple dining space is surrounded by windows overlooking the pool and pine forest; on balmier nights, you can sit outside beneath a canopy of stars.

David João, a young chef from Lisbon, heads the kitchen. His training with Michelin-starred Joaquim Koerper shines through in his innovative Portuguese creations, and many dishes use ingredients from the on-site organic garden or whatever the local fishermen have caught that day. Dinner is a 5-course tasting menu, which can be matched with fine regional wines. Expect the likes of clam risotto, or pumpkin soup with star anise and scallops; pudding might be pineapple and pink-pepper ravioli with a red berry coulis. Lunch is a lighter affair, with a simple menu of salads, soups and sandwiches. The continental breakfast is a tasty buffet featuring regional cheeses, rustic country bread, fresh fruit platters, yoghurts and cured hams.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Organic produce
  • Picnics on request
  • Restaurant
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Get scrubbed and rubbed in the spa, after a dip in the indoor pool or outdoor rim-flow pool. There’s also a steam room, a sauna and semi-private sleeping pods. Or Zen out with a yoga class (arranged in advance)
  • Hire a bike and cycle to local beaches or Lake Açude, where you can make use of the hotel’s kayaks (free of charge) and tuck into a gourmet picnic lunch (available on request)
  • Learn to surf at Carvalhal’s surf school (the best time is autumn), or ask staff to arrange horse riding along the sand or through local rice fields
  • Learn the secrets of modern Portuguese cuisine during cookery classes with head chef David João, then taste fine wines at Herdade da Comporta, the village’s reputable winery
  • Head to the Estuário nature reserve, north of Comporta, for a spot of birdwatching accompanied by a specialist guide
  • Golf enthusiasts might want to take a class at Troia’s golf course, 28km from the hotel

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are welcome, although this is more of a couples’ retreat. Guest’s Suites have sofabeds which can accommodate 2 children up to the age of 14 (or 1 guest over 14), and babysitters can be arranged on request. Note that no baby cots are available.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Available on request

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
9/
Overall

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