Looking for places to stay in Alentejo? Want a vineyard in southern Portugal? Read our hotel review, and check out more places to visit in the Alentejo region here…
L’AND in a nutshell
Elegantly luxurious 26-suite spa hotel combining contemporary design and gourmet cooking, set among vineyards in Portugal’s Alentejo region, an hour’s drive from Lisbon.
L’AND’s cutting edge design – including interiors by renowned Brasilian architect Marcio Kogan – and high-end cuisine and wines means it appeals to foodies, wine-lovers and design aficionados alike. Its spacious clean-lined wood-clad interiors are studded by artworks, including some by Michael Biberstein, and house a Caudalie vinotherapy spa (using natural ingredients extracted from grapes and vines), while outside there are organic vineyards and pine and cork tree-clad hills to explore. This is understated luxury at its serene best, the perfect place to unplug.
Which room should I book at L’AND?
Bag one of L’AND’s ten sky-view suites (they have skylights directly over the beds), allowing you to view Alentejo’s unpolluted skies at night and experience sleeping “under the stars”. Like all L’AND’s suites, they’re furnished in soothing natural woods, wools and stone, and have a private indoor garden with a plunge pool. Outside you have a private terrace with an outdoor fireplace and rain shower and bathtub. If you prefer space to star-gazing, book one of the 16 L’AND view suites; these have an additional room. Or stay at Monte do Freixo, a traditional 500-hectare homestead, with three luxurious suites in nearby Montemor-o-Novo (it’s also part of L’AND).
The food and drink
A meal in the hotel’s futuristic, pendant-hung restaurant, whose glass walls frame the vineyards, is the big draw. Chef José Tapadejo was born nearby in Castelo de Vide, and trained in Portugal. But he’s also worked in Scandinavia, so his dishes are creative interpretations of Alentejan classics, often using fermented and foraged ingredients. Local black pork is there, but it gets an innovative twist by being partnered with wafers made from the acorns the pigs eat. And instead of cod, José serves a local river fish, pike-perch, on a cushion of Alentejo’s must-eat migas infused with minty pennyroyal, and spoons on a saffron froth that’s as yellow as buttercups. We also loved the Scarlet Prawn starter, a single prawn that’s cooked sous-vide in butter and served with a puree of celery root, and edible flowers.
Being surrounded by six hectares of vineyards (all organic), you’ll want to taste L’AND’s own wines, made from a blend of native grapes, such as Touriga Nacional, and international ones such as Alicante Bouschet and Syrah. Pick of the bunch is L’AND’s full-bodied Reserva Red 2016. Or ask sommelier Gonçalo Mendes to recommend his favourites from the nearby Herdade do Freixo and Adega Cartuxa wineries.
Kick off with L’AND’s homemade granola or orange cake, then enjoy three different homemade breads (one made from acorn flour made at the nearby Freixo do Meio organic farm cooperative) with homemade pumpkin or strawberry jam or honey from L’AND’s own bees. Cooked dishes include porridge, sausages and eggs from Freixo do Meio, and Eggs Benedict.
What else can foodies do?
On site you can do tastings and vineyard and winery tours by arrangement, and the hotel can arrange visits to neighbouring vineyards, too. If you want to try other restaurants, head to historic Evora, half an hour’s drive away, where restaurants such as Fialho, Tasquina do Oliveira and Botequim da Mouraria will all hit the spot.
Is it family friendly?
Yes, although given the calm vibe here parents with more energetic children might not feel comfortable – and the spa and indoor pool can only be used by those over 14. However several of the L’AND view suites have two or three bedrooms, and some have their own private pools too. Monte do Freixo, all on its own, is a good choice for families.
Don’t miss the free wine tasting in the bar at five o’ clock every afternoon. You’ll sample L’AND’s Reserva 2016 along with regional cheeses, smoked chorizo and other Alentejan specialties.
Words and pictures (except top image) by Clare Hargreaves