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What's New in the Alentejo? Lots!

Today travel is viewed as sustainable first. Sustainable travel is a word we are hearing a lot of these days. Sustainable travel starts with understanding the impacts of tourism. A good example is Portugal’s Alentejo, a place that remains sustainable being both rural and natural with thousands of miles of cork forest and a richness of wildlife. Here the balance between nature and humanity goes back millennia.

It is a place with a clear harmony between nature and humanity — people and nature live in balance in. Montado cork forests that protect and are impervious to drought or fire. Here you can hike for hours and see no one. Here you can dine on locally harvested foods in small walled towns amid the locals, and no one else. Here you swim in an ocean cove, and nothing in view is built by humans. Here you see industries that conserve nature — from olive oil to cork to wines. And the only crowds are made of sheep, and the lines are the endless straight old road made for cycling. And new luxury hotels are small batch, focused on local and experience.

New in the Alentejo

Rail: Lisbon and Madrid will be linked at the end of 2023 by a fast train line. Spain is upgrading service in Extremadura, between Plasencia and Badajoz, to the border with Portugal. This will improve international connections by connecting Elvas-Badajoz with the new fast rail line from the border to Lisbon and Sines, via Évora.

Anantara Royal Vila Viçosa Resort to open in 2024. The Anantara Royal Vila Viçosa Resort is slated to open in 2024 by transforming a 15th century monastery into a 5-star hotel. Located in the center of Vila Viçosa, this new resort will offer 50 rooms, 10 suites, 16 residences, an outdoor and indoor swimming pool, three restaurants, including a reserved area for dinners, a bar and a cellar. There will be an Anantara Spa, a fitness room and three conference rooms will also be part of the resort's amenities.

Vila Galé has an innovative tourism project in Beja set to open at the end of June 2023. The Vila Galé Nep Kids, in Beja, close to the Vila Galé Clube de Campo where it produces Santa Vitória wines and olive oils, will be a new hotel concept in Portugal - a hotel entirely designed for children. Guests will only be able to enter if accompanied by children. This hotel will have approximately 80 rooms.

Somewhere in the Alentejo, in an unannounced location, a new Zero Box Lodge hotel will open, built inside an old mill. The Zero Box Lodge will give new life to an old industrial mill complex set in a rural environment. Stay tuned!

EVENT: For three days, Avis will go back in time to recreate the environment and setting of medieval times, a historical period so remarkable in the history of humanity. The 2023 Iberian Medieval Fair of Avis will take place from May 12 to 14, 2023. The event brings together kings, princesses, nobles and beggars, court jesters, pages, friars, ladies and knights, witches, fortune tellers, innkeepers, slaves, nobles, minstrels and mummers, fakirs and serpents, swords, shields and of course, chainmail.

Just opened: A classic 19th century mansion in Portalegre has been transformed into a luxury hotel, after an investment of more than two million euros, The new hotel, called Portalegre Palace, is located in the center of the city . The Portalegre Palace offers 11 rooms, nine of which are suites. The rooms have 100 square meters, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and this allows larger families to stay.

Just opened: Glamping Skies featuring an outdoor pool, Glamping Skies - adults only north of Estremoz provides accommodations with free WiFi and free private parking for guests who drive.

Wabi-Sabi is “an oasis in the desert” just two hours from Lisbon. Surrounded by palm trees and cacti, the accommodation is influenced by the Japanese philosophy that gives it its name. Wabi-Sabi opened in the summer of 2022 in São Miguel de Machede, Évora, is the second project by João Costa and Polina Kartanova. About three years ago, the couple opened the Salvaterra Country House & Spa, near Santarém. This new hotel seems to be in the middle of the jungle, with the pool surrounded by a tropical garden.

“Vermelho" Christian Louboutin's luxury hotel in Melides is now taking reservations. The French designer's first hotel unit in Portugal officially opens in April 2023. The story of his passion for the country is incredible. There are tiles and ceramics, which, along with the strong colors, are a main feature of this boutique hotel. This audacious boutique hotel in Melides has three floors and just 13 rooms — but all of them are different and with a unique feature, whether it's a four-poster bed worthy of a cardinal, or an incredible bathtub reminiscent of the Moorish era. Yes, because even the bathrooms look like a work of art.

It is in these private spaces that guests can appreciate art in all its forms of expression. The rooms are all different in tones, textures and styles, but all share the intimate, warm and vibrant nature that characterizes red.

Tucked away in the Serra d’Ossa, the Hotel Convento de São Paulo has updated its restaurant. José Tapadejo is the new chef at the O Ermita restaurant, which will offer monthly wine dinners soon. Set atop the mountains of the Serra d'Ossa, in Redondo, the former convent was built in 1182 and entrusted to the Order of São Paulo Ermita, still preserving several original features, including a collection of 50,000 tiles. The 18th century tile panels on the walls and the almost ephemeral frescoes on the ceiling are like an open gallery in the restaurant room.

A new hotel in Serpa has a spectacular swimming pool facing the Alentejo plains. Opened in 2022, Serpa Hotel is both modern and minimalist, with rustic notes. The four-star hotel has 41 rooms and suites and is the starting point for discovering the Moura/Sepra region.

Cenoura-Brava, a new restaurant in Évora, opened in late 2022. In addition to being a restaurant, it is also an inn and is run by the Convento do Espinheiro. Located in a building that dates back to 1458, it was transformed into a five-star hotel called Quinta do Santo, where you can stay overnight and at the same time enjoy a different cuisine but with full respect for traditional, local and regional products. Cenoura-Brava has a minimalist decoration and capacity to welcome 15 diners at a time with views over the Alentejo landscape.

The new 4-star Sines Sea View Business & Leisure Hotel has 120 rooms, divided into three types — suites, double rooms and superior twin rooms. All combine design, style, elegance and comfort, with large windows overlooking the ocean.

Pestana is investing in a new project called the Pestana Porto Covo Village. The project will see 174 guest apartments (with houses on the ground floor or on the 2nd floor), not far from the beach in Porto Covo.


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