review: Sobreiras Alentejo Country Hotel

Driving up to the Sobreiras Alentejo Country Hotel one wonders why at this remote corner of Portugal you would want to open a design hotel. That is revealed as soon as you step into the reception area and the breathtaking view unfolds with vistas for miles and miles. That same view can also be enjoyed from the infinity pool and the privacy of your balcony.

The USP

This hotel is a case study of how a building can be inserted into the landscape in a respectful, thoughtful way.

The architecture

The design is by architect Miguel Correia, along with its multidisciplinary team from FAT – Future Architecture Thinking, a 30-member strong team with architects, planners, landscape architects and designers. The simple and elegant design is inspired by the surrounding nature with the richness of landscapes and flavors of the Alentejo. The purpose was to value and favor the rural environment surrounding the hotel, taking it as theme, seeking to provide a space to enjoy the countryside, full of comfort and quiet, in a simple and contemporary atmosphere. Wooden logs used in facades establish a dialogue with the surrounding landscape, contrasting with the white buildings of simple and refined geometry. Most balconies and windows face east, to protect from the strong sun west.

The interiors 

Interiors feature the same simplicity of the exteriors and use cork floors in rooms, wooden accents and mid-century inspired furniture.

The bathrooms 

The spacious bathrooms are completely tiled in white and (half) open-plan -including the toilet- which may not be to everyone’s taste (suites have closed bathrooms). There are double vanities, a walk-in rain shower and suites also have bath tubs. Complimentary toiletries are available and so is a hairdryer.

The originals

Conceived by owner/architect Miguel Correira as an extended guest house, the Sobreiras Alentejo Country Hotel shares the 25 hectares estate on which his country home stands, which can be seen from the estate’s driveway.

The crowd

Couples with and without kids seeking the pleasures of a country getaway from Lisbon and international visitors alike. Weekends, plus July and August are usually packed -reserve well in advance-, during other times you will have the place practically for yourself. Here, times passes slowly and you can enjoy the silence, the views and the ever changing skies including starry nights due to the absence of a large population and underdeveloped industry.

Amenities

The central reception area has an inviting lounge area with mid-century inspired loungers and couches, an open fireplace and books on design and Portugal. It overlooks the beautiful infinity pool boasting spectacular views for miles around. There is also a tennis court and bicycles can be hired to explore the surroundings.

Wining & dining

The hotel’s restaurant serves reasonable priced Portuguese dishes accompanied by regional Serra de Grândola wines. Food is mostly sourced from the direct surroundings and vegetables and herbs come from the hotel’s own garden. The cooks in the kitchen can be watched through large industrial style windows. In the morning an extensive breakfast is served here including fresh orange juice, homemade cakes and cooked-to-order hot dishes.

Location, location, location

In the middle of nowhere really. It is about a 15-minute drive to Grândola, about 30 minutes to the A2 motorway exit and 1 hour to Lisbon and its airport. The Atlantic beaches can be reached in 30 minutes.

Children

Welcome. There are no specific facilities, but cribs (under three years free-of-charge) are available and 1 extra bed per room (charged) can be arranged. Interconnecting (family) rooms are available too.

Pets

Allowed – charges may apply.

Eco friendly iniatives

The existing trees dictated the arrangement of the buildings. A passive climate control system with natural ventilation aims to minimize the need of using complementary active systems. As water saving measure, all hotel taps and showers include flow reduction devices, and common areas taps and showers also include a timer. A solar thermal system is used for water heating. The sloping roofs harvest rainwater. Construction used natural and environmentally friendly materials. The definition of planted areas has been reduced to the essentials – minimizing the use of irrigation and maintenance – leaving centre stage to the cork oak forest.

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