I book one boutique hotel on every trip that oozes style and satiates my obsession for beautiful design. In my research for Portugal’s most striking, design-focused hotels, I came across Torre de Palma Wine Hotel and knew immediately I HAD to stay there. A few hours drive east of Lisbon, just before the Spanish border, Torre de Palma is deep in the Alentejo region of Portugal, the largest spanning region in the country, known for it's wine, cork trees and rolling golden hills. To say the Torre de Palma Wine Hotel is out in the middle of nowhere is 100% true and 100% the best part about it — it's the ultimate place for a great escape!
Driving to the hotel was magical. We didn't know what to expect, but what we got was a beautiful countryside drive with low rolling hills and sprawling cork tree groves on both sides of the road, wildflowers blowing in the hot, dry wind, and the sounds of swallows as they flew in and out of the tall grasses. The remodeled 13th century estate hotel is the only structure for miles — and even still, good luck seeing it off of the main road. In fact, we started to get nervous as we drove and drove and realized that we hadn’t seen a single person or car for over an hour!
When we finally saw the sign to Torre de Palma, and turned down the vineyard lined private road, we knew we were in for a treat. The hotel is a strikingly modern structure against the soft landscape, complete with bell tower and church, and it has been thoughtfully designed to blend into the surroundings, just as much as it juxtaposes it. Old stone walls, clean lines of the low compound, rustic decor, they all harmoniously marry together with the sound of the crickets and swallows, the rose colored dirt and the soft breeze of the valley.
Everything you need is available on the property: an indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, spa, bar with pool table, spectacular restaurant, and bikes to explore the countryside. In the valley, the weather is warmer and perfect for all day dips in the pool while sipping on the amazing housemade wine from the hotel. Both the white and red wine are fantastic and only 3 euro a glass!!
While everything is a dream, the best thing about the property is the hotel's one and only restaurant, Basilli. Completely unexpected, our dinner knocked us off of our chairs, and ended up being our favorite meal during our three weeks in Europe! Sophisticated dishes made with local ingredients from the area were perfectly executed, from presentation to taste. I enjoyed tempura style vegetables that were harvested from the garden, the most tender piece of steer loin I've ever tasted, and acorn flour cake with wasabi meringue and lime sorbet for dessert. The complimentary breakfast is also a sight to see. A variety of fresh squeezed juices, a housemade yogurt bar that comes complete with an offering of every topping imaginable, from chia seeds to goji berries, and a plethora of pastries and fruit are all served buffet style. A full breakfast menu is served complimentary and upon request and includes omelettes, french toast, lox and more!
We took the property bikes out one afternoon to explore the villa a bit more, and the region it lives in. To our surprise, just yards away from the main hotel structure are archeological sites of old Roman ruins that survived the Middle Ages. Literally out in the middle of unassuming grass fields, we became kids again, fascinated by the work of hands from hundreds and hundreds of years ago. There was something exciting about stumbling upon ruins that a.) most people never get to see, and b.) that others, have shared the land with for centuries. Exploring a region in Portugal that tourists rarely venture to was really special. We only hoped to have had more time to explore Alentejo!
If you’re looking for a true escape, nothing ado but relax and drink wine, reconnect with your mate and nature, Torre de Palma Wine Hotel is definitely the place to be. You can’t beat the price for the experience of completely unplugging, and it's the perfect escape for a few nights before making your way down to the popular Southern coast of Portugal. From the hotel, on our way south, we stopped at the charming town of Evora, another less travelled city of Portugal, which we highly recommend for a pitstop! We loved it. There's so much to explore in the Alentejo region so, happy exploring, friends!
You can check out Torre de Palma Wine Hotel’s site for more information.