Worth getting out of bed for
Get green-fingered in the garden, and help pick the juiciest vegetables for dinner, or stroll across the protected dunes and collect fresh mussels from the beach. There are various other experiences on offer, including ‘feel green’, where guests help keep the hotel’s (eco) conscience clear. Get undressed for the Vichy shower room, and try out the spa’s other lures: sauna, Turkish bath, two massage rooms and a relaxation room. There are no TVs in bedrooms, but couch potatoes can get their digital fix with a trip to the 7th Art Room, which has a big screen, around 90 titles and some tempting home-baked snacks. Take the boat across to Berlengas island (the hotel will ensure you make the hour-long jaunt in style). Learn to surf at the closest beach, Praia do Seixo. The hotel works closely with a surf school, but if you’re an experienced boarder, you’re welcome to borrow the hotel’s equipment and set out on your own. Rent bicycles from the hotel, and explore the dazzling seaside scenery.
Tras d’Orelha (+351 261 326 018) at Rua da Paz serves some of the area’s most succulent lamb, pork and duck dishes – unsurprisingly, since the owner is a butcher (he also bottles his own wine). Vela d’Ouro (+351 261 931 933) at 30 rua Jerónimo Vilarinho Lote, in Santa Cruz, is a wonderful place to sample the area’s succulent fish. Pão Saloio (+351 261 984 355) at 27 rua da Guerra Peninsular, Toledo, serves the best cod, a staple part of any Portuguese diet.
Sample a local red or three at Manel Bar (+351 261 937 580) on Esplanada Antero Quental.
Current offers at Areias do Seixo