I’ve always had a thing for road tripping, the exhilarating sense of freedom and not knowing what lies ahead. The Alentejo region, south of Lisbon (‘além do Tejo’ literally means ‘over the Tagus’) and north of the Algarve is perfect for a road trip. The landscape varies immensely: from spectacular coastlines to inviting inlands where tranquility and space are the key words. And, not unimportant, the roads are very good! Starting point of this trip is Lisbon, where I pick up my rental car. Now let’s get the party started…..”Alentejo, here I come!”
My first stop is an hour’s drive south of Lisbon, on the coast: Sublime Comporta. This Hideaway has featured on my wish list for quite some time now and I have high expectations.
First of all, I am totally captured by my surroundings, gorgeous! I can see why the local elite from Lisbon venture out to this place for the weekend, or even have a holiday home here…Wild sand dunes covered with umbrella pines (a microclimate allows pines to flourish here), vast and unspoiled beaches, cork oaks, tiny fishing villages and rice paddies determine the landscape here and give it its unique character. There are no words to describe Comporta and its surroundings, even though it is regularly compared to Ibiza or St. Tropez, quite unfairly I think…..Comporta is far too Portuguese for that!
Hidden – quite literally, for I have to step on the breaks and almost drive past it – in this magical landscape is Sublime Comporta.
This is where Gonçalo and Patricia Pessoa created their holiday home, a house to retire to with family and friends for some lovely peace and quiet, away from their busy life of travelling (Gonçalo is a pilot and Patricia used to be an air hostess and is now proud mother of 2 children). However, considering the vastness of the estate, they soon came up with the idea to turn their family home into a luxury hotel, expanding it to 14 rooms/suites.
Upon my arrival, the GM gives me the guided tour. I am very impressed, especially with the beautiful synergy that exists between the inside and outside….a perfect balance was carefully created here: lots of natural materials, large windows that offer a stunning view of the estate: the many pine trees and cork oaks, beautiful! The cabana suites (architectural based on the former fisherman’s houses in Comporta), one of which I’m staying in, are scattered around the garden and are actually tiny houses that can be cleverly combined in different ways. For instance, there are suites with only a large bedroom, a terrace and ensuite bathroom, or suites that feature a bedroom with a separate living room and kitchenette, terrace and swimming pool. An additional bedroom can also be added, so that it sleeps two couples or a family; this transforms two suites into one cabana villa. And there’s more, of course, such as a large Owner’s suite, complete with living room and two terraces (one of which includes a Jacuzzi), there are Guest suites – light and airy and with an extremely cool mezzanine where the bathroom is located, the Friends rooms – four ‘adults only’ rooms (two of which have a Queen size bed and two with King size beds). All the rooms are very pleasant, with wonderful beds, spacious bathrooms and lots of light (don’t worry, the wonderful turn-down service will allow you to sleep like a baby in the pitch dark ;-)!
Enough about the rooms though, it’s time for a drink…I’m offered a lovely cocktail – dangerously delicious – and nestle at the fireplace in the bar area. As you will have gathered, it’s still early in the season when I’m here and unfortunately it is too cold to sit outside on the terrace…or at the fire pit. And Mrs. Local Hideaways won’t be testing the lovely swimming pool either, I’m sorry to say. But I won’t let that spoil the fun, for the hotel is especially lovely in these cooler months. The restaurant and bar area are very cosy and allow for long evenings of wining and dining – the food is divine and traditional Portuguese dishes are prepared with a perfect modern twist! And while I’m here, a lot of work is put into a vegetable garden… the ingredients to all these lovely dishes are grown just around the corner! A visit to the Spa (sauna, steam bath, indoor pool and treatments) is also a definite must – divine, and it will only add to the ultimate sensation of ‘slow travel’!
Later that evening, after a sumptuous diner and a relaxing soak in my Philips Starck bath tub with all the lovely Claus bath amenities (the first Portuguese brand of soap) the time has come for me to retire to my bed and dream about my first adventures.
No sleeping in for Mrs. Local Hideaways this time, for I have to get up early the next morning if I want to make the most of my day! Breakfast is such a treat…..lovely, so many delicacies and healthy options! Time for some action, so I borrow one of the complimentary bikes and cycle over to the nearby lake. It’s great to discover your surroundings by bike, and it’s also the best way to get to the beach, for, as I’ve said, these are certainly worth a visit: vast and undisturbed. And don’t forget to visit Carrasqueira, a quaint and beautiful little fishing village, especially at sunset or sunrise, when the tide is low and the boats get stranded, creating a mystical atmosphere.
And then it’s time for me to move on, for a new adventure awaits me in the Alentejo, but I promise myself I will return to Sublime Comporta. Such a beautiful hotel, so well balanced. Luxury and nature go hand in hand here, allowing you to have the ultimate ‘slow travel’ experience, the year round! Pure indulgence!
More about the Alentejo in my blog: Alentejo – Portugal’s diamond in the rough!