Torre de Palma

Monforte, Alentejo, Portugal Book from Book from £124 per night

History, contemporary design and gastronomy come together beautifully in this family-friendly Alentejo wine hotel
We arrive at dusk, just in time for welcome drinks, a daily ritual in which Torre de Palma’s fine red and white wines are served in a tower room at sunset. The tower is 14th century – the fortified seat of a former king – and on its castellated rooftop we savour the wine while gazing at the views: below, a courtyard of sturdy stone buildings, oranges, olives and vines, a chapel, a stable of Lusitano horses, and an inviting outdoor pool; beyond, a panorama of gentle Alentejo countryside.

In a timeline, the fortress became a farm, then a ruin and finally, after years of restoration, a magnificent design hotel with 19 stunning rooms. Its whitewashed exterior is traditional Alentejo, but there is nothing typical about the striking interiors: in a vast salon, white sofas gather around a white piano; there's a Matador room, a curious library in the tower and an outdoor lounge with an open fire. Marble, slate, cork and terracotta – all materials found on the land – contrast with playful lighting and artful collections of beautiful clutter. It’s not easy to combine agriculture, medieval history and glamour, but this sophisticated hotel has done it perfectly.

Highs

  • A sublime place to kick back and do very little beyond walking, horse riding or cycling around the estate, swimming and relaxing in the spa
  • Just 19 gorgeous rooms: sublimely romantic doubles and enchanting family rooms
  • The vineyards, the winery and the excellent wines – the heart and soul of the hotel
  • The gourmet Basillii restaurant, with its delicious seasonal menu of regional dishes
  • Excellent service: a triumphant balance of warmth, kindness and efficiency

Lows

  • It’s a bit out of the way, and local town Monforte has little to offer
  • You'll need a car to get here and for day trips to national parks, Elva and Evora
  • The bathrooms are more functional than designer (though we liked the heated brick floors)

Best time to go

This a genuine year-round destination – especially cosy in winter with soft candelight, log fires and Christmas decorations in December. Come in spring for orange blossom and the wildflower landscapes for which Alentejo is famous. In summer it can be fiercely hot. Visit during the vine harvest (from August through to October) and you can join in with grape picking, crushing and traditional celebrations.

Our top tips

Sign up for a wine tour, not just to test Torre de Palma’s excellent wines, but also for a lesson in Alentejo wine history. It takes you from fermenting tanks to a temperature-controlled barrel room – a spectacular ‘cathedral of wine’ – and gives a brief insight into how corks are made (Portugal is the world’s leading producer of natural cork). Afterwards, pop into the hotel’s chapel to admire the extraordinary altar piece – Jesus made entirely of cork!

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 19
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • 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: Double Room - Luar

Rooms

There are 19 rooms, all completely different and all fabulous. Inside the main building are 2 spacious Doubles (the Baroque gold room is a cracker), and 2 lofty Superior Doubles with roof terraces. The rest of the Superiors form a row of garden rooms: all interconnect and feature living spaces, silky fabrics and quirky details (library-print wallpaper or a gilded four-poster topped by a metallic crown).

The magnificent, self-contained Master Suite has its own kitchen and dining area. The Family Rooms are housed in a terrace of restored farm cottages, each furnished with folksy, colour-themed décor (think Hansel and Gretel). Green-hued Perdiz features a birdy theme – bird prints, faux feathered birds in delicate wire cages, mounted on plinths, or perched on a twiggy branch above the bed. Charming, slightly mad and beautifully done.

All rooms have a spacious bathroom (walk-in shower or shower over the bath), plus robes, slippers and underfloor heating. Beds are super-comfy and there's air con for the summer months.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in a purpose-built restaurant called Basilii (named after the Roman family who once settled on the land). Dine in candlelit under glassy chandeliers, by a fire in winter, or out on the terrace in summer. Head chef Filipe Ramalho’s style is a modern take on traditional Alentejo dishes, celebrating regional produce, home-grown fruit, vegetables and herbs, and homemade bread and olive oil.

A perfect introduction is the 5-course tasting menu, each dish matched with Torre de Palma wines (or fortified wines from Madeira). Our seasonal dinner featured sweet potato ‘migas’ with marinated black pork; sautéed mushrooms, mungo Soy pasta and Boletus mushroom powder (heaven on a plate); codfish broth with coriander, pennyroyal and Norway cod, and a marinated veal. All these dishes feature on the a la carte menu, too, alongside soups and salad. For something lighter, tapas dishes are available in the bar.

Breakfast is a sumptuous buffet of meats, cheeses, cereal, pastries, yoghurt and fresh juices, plus cooked dishes to order.

Features include:

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

Activities

  • Relax in the spa, which has an indoor pool, Jacuzzi and steam room, plus a variety of pampering treatments including anti-stress massage and facials
  • Or read by the peaceful outdoor pool
  • Sign up for a Torre de Palma wine tasting and tour, led by the hotel’s winemaker, which includes a visit to the cellar and optional nibbles. Gastronomy workshops are also available
  • Take a hike, borrow a bike or saddle up a horse and explore the estate and beyond: vineyards, olive groves, holm oak and the remnants of a Roman villa – one of the largest examples of Roman archaeology sites in the Iberian Peninsula
  • Discover the Alentejo: walk in the hilly Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede (40 minutes’ drive), visit the cathedral at Portalegre and explore the walled centre of Elvas, a Unesco World Heritage site (30 minutes). Beautiful Evora (another World Heritage site) is an hour’s drive; don't miss a visit to The Cromlech of the Almendres, its mythical monoliths

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Wine tasting

Kids

This is kiddy heaven, with space to kick a ball around, bikes to borrow, horses to feed and help groom, beginners' riding lessons and delightful family rooms straight out of a story book.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

There are several Family Rooms, which each have a double bedroom and large living area with space for 2 single beds and a baby cot. Superior Doubles can interconnect, and each can fit a baby cot or extra bed. The Master Suite has a mezzanine area with a double sofabed for up 2 children, plus space for an additional child.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and high chairs

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

Children's meals:

Child-friendly meals feature on the restaurant’s menu, along with specific children’s dishes (burgers and spaghetti bolognese).

Kids Activities on site:

  • Heated outdoor and indoor pools
  • Bicycles
  • Horse riding

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Natural parks
  • Unesco sites

Families Should Know:

There are set hours for children in the indoor pool: 9-11am, and 1-4pm

Distances:

  • Airport: 2 hours' drive (Lisbon)
  • Shop: 0.5km (Monforte)
  • Hospital: 30 mins' drive (Portalegre)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Torre de Palma is close to the village of Monforte, in the upper Alentejo region of Portugal. It's 30 minutes from Estremoz and half an hour from Elvas – a Unesco World Heritage site.

By Air:
Fly into Lisbon Portela Airport (201km) and hire a car to get here and give you the freedom to explore the local area. It's a 2-hour drive.

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

Airports:

  • Lisbon Portela 201.0 km LIS

Other:

  • Beach 250.0 km
  • Shops 0.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

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

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