Areias do Seixo – Portugal
Only an hour from Lisbon. We love this eco lodge for making us feel at home with nature. Stay with a group in one of its villas or relax in a romantic room for two.
If Mother Nature were to take a break, she’d come to Areias do Seixo, where sustainability is its philosophy, and the rhythms of the earth and seasons are its mantra. Step through the large kasbah style door and you’ll find yourself in a magical paradise of extraordinary design and wild flowers. It’s a luxury eco lodge with five star trimmings and staying here is more of an experience than a holiday. Surrounded by wilderness with its own fruit, vegetable and flower gardens it looks out over the dunes and cliffs to Seixo beach. Wildlife is in abundance with countless species of wildlife wherever you look.
The rooms and villas are straight out of an interiors magazine, and we’d be hard pressed to say which one we like the most – those nearest the pool closest to the gardens, or the ones looking out over the Atlantic. Exquisite design and unusual features – an olive tree in your bathroom perhaps, or a large chandelier above your bed, or a Moroccan artifact – they are all utterly individual. There is no air conditioning – just good old-fashioned fresh air (and fans) and heating comes from geothermal activity and solar power. The rooms have four themes – Gold, Tree, Land and Love – some with sea views, some have their own little garden or terrace, but all have a log fireplace and the most fabulous bathrooms. We absolutely love the stark modern and airy design of the Villas and the Townhouses. Glass, stone and wood exteriors, with unique open plan layouts, modern furnishing and splashes of bright colour everywhere, they each sleep up to six people. They have fully equipped kitchens, pool and large terraces and guests have full use of the main hotel’s facilities and services.
The chef starts each day in the garden, picking home grown produce straight from the earth and trees (guests are free to help), and sources fish and meat from the local market and regional suppliers, to create innovative Portuguese cuisine. Down at the beach, at the restaurant Noah, you’ll find the catch of the day being prepared. This is especially enchanting in the evenings, around a fire with live music and a bottle of crisp and fruity local wine. If you go fishing, the chef will cook your catch. We were also partial to the home baked cakes baked in the wood oven.
This is a magical place for families and the villas are set up for children (no children under 10 can stay in the main hotel). Babysitting can be arranged and there are special menus for smaller ones. Children can only use the pool from 9am til noon and must be supervised.
Areias do Seixo is all about the outdoor life and discovering nature. For a little pampering there is a Spa with a dry sauna and Turkish bath. There are bikes to borrow for cycling to the beach and exploring further afield. Each day, a list of activities is written on a blackboard and each evening, there are drinks on the terrace or by the pond.
Hotel Type: Luxury 5* eco retreat on the Atlantic coast
Location: An hour from Lisbon. It is set on a cliff top overlooking the Atlantic, surrounded by wilderness, dunes and pine trees.
Style: A laid back luxury Eco Lodge with five star trimmings.
Rooms: 14 romantic rooms, 10 villas and 6 townhouses.
Ideal For: Slowing things down and reconnecting with nature.
Swimming: An outdoor swimming pool overlooking the hotels gardens and vegetable patch. You can also borrow the hotels bikes to cycle to the nearest beach.
Dining: Produce fresh from the gardens and ocean.
Activities: Discovering nature, walking, cycling, yoga, cooking/foraging, or take a tour of the greenhouse.
Spa: Dry sauna, Turkish bath, treatment rooms and a relaxation room. All of the products they use are natural.
Price From: €315 per night for a double room.
F&P Must Do: Take a stroll through the natural gardens and absorb yourself in nature. At the end of the day go for a glass of wine by the bonfire.