Lily Cole

São Lourenço do Barrocal

  • Where:
  • Why:To breathe in nature and birdsong
  • When:February 2022
  • Who:A loved one and I
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São Lourenço do Barrocal The ancient olive trees, and spring time wild flowers, beg to be photographed!

The ancient olive trees, and spring time wild flowers, beg to be photographed!

São Lourenço do Barrocal Gnarled ancient olive trees — some thousands of years old — can be found scattered across the 780 hectare estate. The estate produces olive oil. You can do a tour of the groves. I always buy a bottle or two of the oil to take home!

Gnarled ancient olive trees — some thousands of years old — can be found scattered across the 780 hectare estate. The estate produces olive oil. You can do a tour of the groves. I always buy a bottle or two of the oil to take home!

São Lourenço do Barrocal In love with the way in which old spaces have been architecturally re-imaged. The old olive mill room, is used to create this unusual bar, full of corners to nurse a drink in. Many of the spaces feel almost ecclesiastical in their simplicity and spaciousness

In love with the way in which old spaces have been architecturally re-imaged. The old olive mill room, is used to create this unusual bar, full of corners to nurse a drink in. Many of the spaces feel almost ecclesiastical in their simplicity and spaciousness

São Lourenço do Barrocal The hotel’s 5 star status can be felt in the soft, luxurious bedding. I open the windows to be woken by birdsong

The hotel’s 5 star status can be felt in the soft, luxurious bedding. I open the windows to be woken by birdsong

São Lourenço do Barrocal There are 40 rooms, including 2 suites and 16 cottages. The cottages offer elegant living spaces, to feel at home in

There are 40 rooms, including 2 suites and 16 cottages. The cottages offer elegant living spaces, to feel at home in

São Lourenço do Barrocal Free bikes are always available (adults and kids) as a way to exercise and explore the surrounding landscape. The estate is relatively flat, so perfect for riding, and for those feeling more energetic it is possible to cycle up the hill to Monsaraz

Free bikes are always available (adults and kids) as a way to exercise and explore the surrounding landscape. The estate is relatively flat, so perfect for riding, and for those feeling more energetic it is possible to cycle up the hill to Monsaraz

São Lourenço do Barrocal The open grassland plains offer wonderful space for children to play, or adults to picnic, and lead to the outdoor swimming pool and organic gardens. A large fire pit is lit up every evening and offers a beautiful place to gather

The open grassland plains offer wonderful space for children to play, or adults to picnic, and lead to the outdoor swimming pool and organic gardens. A large fire pit is lit up every evening and offers a beautiful place to gather

São Lourenço do Barrocal A salvation in shape of a pool to escape the dry Portuguese summer heat

A salvation in shape of a pool to escape the dry Portuguese summer heat

São Lourenço do Barrocal Sao Lourenco do Barrocal was once a thriving farming village, founded more than two centuries ago by Manuel Mendes Papança. The village was home to about 50 families. The buildings were re-imagined by architect Eduardo Souto de Moura

Sao Lourenco do Barrocal was once a thriving farming village, founded more than two centuries ago by Manuel Mendes Papança. The village was home to about 50 families. The buildings were re-imagined by architect Eduardo Souto de Moura

São Lourenço do Barrocal There are two restaurants: the main one (open year round); and one by the pool (open in the warmer months only). I love sitting here in the mornings after breakfast as it offers a quiet and sun-drenched spot to read and write

There are two restaurants: the main one (open year round); and one by the pool (open in the warmer months only). I love sitting here in the mornings after breakfast as it offers a quiet and sun-drenched spot to read and write

São Lourenço do Barrocal Exploring the area with my daughter by horse was magical. Apparently there are also 8 wild horses on the estate — free roaming following the abandonment of the estate after the Carnation revolution in 1974

Exploring the area with my daughter by horse was magical. Apparently there are also 8 wild horses on the estate — free roaming following the abandonment of the estate after the Carnation revolution in 1974

São Lourenço do Barrocal Spot the cow grazing behind this ancient olive tree! The meat served at the restaurant comes from the beef herd which roam the estate. I am a vegetarian myself but believe if you eat meat it is best to support local, organic and free roaming production

Spot the cow grazing behind this ancient olive tree! The meat served at the restaurant comes from the beef herd which roam the estate. I am a vegetarian myself but believe if you eat meat it is best to support local, organic and free roaming production

São Lourenço do Barrocal The food at Barrocal is delicious. They use fresh, organic, local and seasonal ingredients. Originally quite meat/dairy heavy, they have recently added a “plant based” section to their menu

The food at Barrocal is delicious. They use fresh, organic, local and seasonal ingredients. Originally quite meat/dairy heavy, they have recently added a “plant based” section to their menu

São Lourenço do Barrocal In the Barrocal shop, you can buy beautiful locally hand crafted products and organic vegetables from their gardens (which are also served in the kitchen and bar). We took this giant pumpkin home and turned it into jam!

In the Barrocal shop, you can buy beautiful locally hand crafted products and organic vegetables from their gardens (which are also served in the kitchen and bar). We took this giant pumpkin home and turned it into jam!

São Lourenço do Barrocal A table outside our room to enjoy a glass of cold rosé. Barrocal has operated vineyards since 1820, and their wines are made from organic grapes harvested by hand. You can certainly have fun tasting the different wines on offer

A table outside our room to enjoy a glass of cold rosé. Barrocal has operated vineyards since 1820, and their wines are made from organic grapes harvested by hand. You can certainly have fun tasting the different wines on offer

São Lourenço do Barrocal An ancient bull ring reminds us of the building’s history: as bull fighting was the “entertainment” for the families who lived and worked at Barrocal for centuries. Happily today we can spare the bulls and watch Netflix instead

An ancient bull ring reminds us of the building’s history: as bull fighting was the “entertainment” for the families who lived and worked at Barrocal for centuries. Happily today we can spare the bulls and watch Netflix instead

São Lourenço do Barrocal Barrocal’s “talha” wines are made using centuries old giant clay vessels, like this one — to ferment the grapes for six months with skin on, using a Roman technique. I loved the Talha white, and Barrocal’s Talha red

Barrocal’s “talha” wines are made using centuries old giant clay vessels, like this one — to ferment the grapes for six months with skin on, using a Roman technique. I loved the Talha white, and Barrocal’s Talha red

São Lourenço do Barrocal The Susanne Kaufmann spa is in the part of the building that was home to the village single men: with bedrooms turned into treatment rooms (a strange, nice thought to muse on, as you are massaged!) The is also sauna and a fitness room

The Susanne Kaufmann spa is in the part of the building that was home to the village single men: with bedrooms turned into treatment rooms (a strange, nice thought to muse on, as you are massaged!) The is also sauna and a fitness room

São Lourenço do Barrocal As the sun sets on the wide open plains, you can see on the hill top the white-washed medieval village of Monsaraz, sitting above

As the sun sets on the wide open plains, you can see on the hill top the white-washed medieval village of Monsaraz, sitting above

Highs & Lows

  • The architecture and design: a minimalist, simple and thoughtful elegance that emphasises quality over quantity in all its attention to detail.

  • Sustainability: their emphasis on sourcing local, organic and seasonal produce, and supporting local artisans, represents a version of sustainability that feels authentic and unpretentious.

  • The location: expansive natural landscape, the birdsong, the barrocais, the ancient olive trees, the roaming animals, and the building’s history allows one to feel connected to the past and present.

  • The people: incredibly warm and kind staff make you feel very welcome. Extra teas and treats dropped to the room during the day feel thoughtful.

  • The food is very delicious but there is a lot of meat/dairy/bread: as a (mostly) vegan person, and travelling with someone gluten free, our food choices were limited. That said, the introduction of a plant-based part of the menu recently, suggests they are moving towards welcoming vegan clientele.

The Barometer

  • Design
  • Location
  • Future Forward
  • Night's Sleep
  • Service
  • Amenities
  • Takeable Treats
  • Refer a Friend
  • Overall Value
  • Life Changing
Total: 49/50

Important Bits

  • Type

    Rural luxury farm stay

  • Vibe

    Minimal, rustic luxury; quiet and comfortable

  • Location

    Secluded in a 780 hectare wilderness

  • Rooms

    40 (including 16 cottages)

  • Pre-Arrival Experience

    I had visited Barrocal in the past, and so knew what to expect and felt excited to be returning. The staff were incredibly welcoming, like coming home

  • Future Forward

    Mostly plastic free (not the bathroom products) + local organic produce + supporting local artisans

  • Music

    Very quiet with no speakers in the rooms: so the music is made by the birds

  • Year Opened

    2017

  • Designed By

    The architect Eduardo Souto de Moura re-designed this 19th Century space, originally founded by Manuel Mendes Papança

  • Health & Wellness

    Outdoor pool (unheated); fitness room; Susanne Kaufmann spa

  • Food

    Local, organic, seasonal food — much of which comes from the estate itself (wine, olive oil, organic garden and beef herd)

  • Bar, Events & Nightlife

    There is a bar within the hotel, and fire pits are lit up in the evenings. The nights are quiet

  • Minibar & Retail

    Susanne Kaufmann products are provided inside the hotel rooms; amazing retail using local artisans in the shop

  • Accessibility

    Not all of the communal areas are wheelchair-accessible, but several of the ground-floor guest rooms and the restaurant is. They also have electric golf carts that could be requested. My mother is disabled and I would feel comfortable bringing her here

  • Pet Friendly

    Dogs are welcome (up to 2 per room). When I asked to bring my cat that was declined

  • Children

    Children are allowed, and there are plenty of ways to entertain kids on site (a kids room, horse riding, donkey rides, bikes and treasure hunts). My daughter loves it!

  • Price

    As expensive as you would expect a five star hotel to be, but providing great value

  • Tel.

    +351 266 247 140

  • Website

    Visit website

São Lourenço do Barrocal

São Lourenço do Barrocal

São Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal

Monsaraz

Monsaraz

Largo do Castelo 1, 7200-175, Portugal

Horse riding

Horse riding

São Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal

Menir do Barrocal

Menir do Barrocal

São Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal

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