Everyone in Portugal knows about Fátima, located in central Portugal northeast of Lisbon…. the story goes that in 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children. Since that time, it has become a pilgrimage visited by busloads of people (from all over the world) every year. This doesn’t sound like a typical Local Hideaway location, I’ll admit, one would sooner expect large, impersonal hotels accommodating all those pilgrims. But nothing could be further from the truth, for with their beautiful Local Hideaway, Pedro and Ana have actually added an extra dimension to Fátima.

Some years ago, Pedro and Ana introduced a novel hotel concept, away from the masses, in the middle of nature and surrounded by stone oaks, fruit trees and century old remains. Inspired by old local building techniques and –styles Ana, who is an architect by profession, has designed a very modern dwelling. Beautifully integrated in its natural surroundings and using lots of light and organic materials: Luz Houses.

As soon as the gate closes behind us, we find ourselves in a stunning natural oasis, a magical place! The scent of all the various herbs, plants and flowers is overwhelming. Our hosts welcome us warmly, hand us a complimentary drink and take us to our room. I’m traveling with my family this time, so we are given a very spacious superior suite. A gorgeous room! Again, it’s light and airy and has everything we might need. For instance, there is a kitchenette and two separate beds for the kids, perfectly integrated in the room. There’s also a fire place and a small step leads to the large double bed and a sunken bath/rain shower. A lot of attention was paid to all the tiny details, even the dishcloth was chosen with apparent care! It’s a wonderful place to stay! The other rooms, varying in sizes and prices, are equally comfortable and elegantly decorated. They are divided into several units, each of which represents a different building style, a wonderful reflection of local history.

The large garden is lovely to stroll around in, for instance to the chapel that is a bit further away, perfect for some meditating. There’s also a swimming pool and a cave in the garden where guests can be treated to natural massages: very unique!

The mother house features the reception area and a living room with honesty bar and a fireplace for colder months.  There is also a dining room where breakfast is served in the mornings. (Dinner, small dishes, can only be ordered in advance.) Breakfast is a real treat! For starters, it is served in a beautiful room, with large windows that let in lots of light and make it appear as though inside and out are the same. The loveliest homemade delicacies are displayed for guests to tuck into and enjoy at leisure.

There is so much more to see around here than just the sanctuary of Fátima. The surroundings are perfect for various outdoor activities and you can even go to the beach, even though it is a bit of a drive. But a visit to the religious heart of Fátima is also totally worth it, I was impressed with the architecture and fascinated by the dedication displayed by the Pilgrims.

Luz Houses is a truly magical place, or, as Ana and Pedro call it themselves: a ‘Soul Experience’, and I totally agree….the architecture and design are in perfect harmony with the natural environment, the staff are warm and genuine and lots of love and attention went into creating a unique pampering retreat…..this Local Hideaway is a non-conformist sanctuary in Fátima!

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