And to start the year, another hidden jewel that arrives to our Unique Stays collection...this time in Portugal, the oldest country in Europe with the same define borders since 1139 and its Alentejo region, home to São Lourenço do Barrocal, a fascinating Monte (ancient small farming village) that has been in the owning family for over 200 years...I arrived on a Saturday evening after a long trip from Vancouver (please note that TAP will be operating to Lisbon from JFK, Chicago, St. Louis, Miami, Toronto and Montreal in 2017).
At arrival, the last generation of this family was waiting to welcome me and have a wonderful family dinner, Jose Antonio Uva (the visionary behind Barrocal), his wife Ana Anahory (the talented interior designer of Barrocal) and their fun kids.
The dinner couldn't be more special, the food at Barrocal is so pure, local and authentic that you are expecting the typical grandma coming out of the kitchen at every moment, but instead, you have a team of very professional young locals that makes you also feel at home (picture with them, above).
The grounds are magical, peaceful and beautiful, ideal for long walks, off-road biking, trail running, horseback riding...the list of activities are endless.
The wonderful rooms and cottages (1, 2 & 3 bedrooms) are in communion with the soul of the place, rustic chic would apply to the style but without losing any component of what it's expected from the discernible traveler.
Special mention to the amazing Spa by Susanne Kaufmann (Best Hotel Spa in 2017 by Monocle), literally one of the most relaxing massage I've ever received and the winery, an integral part of the hotel and the estate's regeneration, producing wonderful single-estate wines to die for!
And let's not forget how amazing is the surrounding area, Evora is merely 25 minutes and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site...and only 10 minutes away you can find Monsaraz with its castle, medieval town, charming shops and restaurants (Sabores is the place to eat...amazing!).
All in all, an ideal, bucolic and dreamy destination, where you can reconnect with your family, couple or yourself in one of the most attractive countries to visit now in Europe...I will be back with my family in June, that is how much I loved it!
All the best!