Need to know
14 rooms, six villas and two townhouses.
12 noon, but flexible subject to availability. Check-in, from 4pm.
Double rooms from $575.17 (€514), excluding tax at 6 per cent.
Rates include buffet breakfast (organic produce from the vegetable patch, bread and cakes baked in a wood oven), access to the spa and cinema room, and plenty of extras, including snacks, local wine and bicycles to borrow.
Every night, the hotel hosts drinks where guests mingle around a fire on the terrace or on the gazebo by the pond (free wine lubricates conversations). Keep on eye on the blackboard in the lobby for other activities; the twice-weekly bonfire in the grounds with nibbles and traditional Portuguese folk music is not to be missed.
At the hotel
Gardens, spa, cinema room, stash of DVDs, free WiFi throughout, bikes to borrow. In rooms: fireplace, fresh fruit, Damana bath products. Every room comes with a wooden patio: step out and enjoy the views.
Our favourite rooms
Rooms are graced with one of four design themes: Gold, Land, Tree or Love. Our favourite of the former is Love-category room Nha Cretcheu, which has an elevated four-poster bed with a frame hewn from slender wooden boughs, a seductive fireplace by the bed (with a stash of logs so you can stoke the flames), a Jacuzzi bath tub and an invigorating outdoor shower. Chandelier lights with spaghetti-thin crystalline threads add glitter, and there’s a huge bath tub overlooking the gardens. Terra is a cosy Tree Room with a wooden four-poster, a desk overlooking the garden, a Jacuzzi, his and hers showers, a fireplace and a terrace deck.
Flanked by a four-poster day-bed and sunloungers, the ink-green infinity pool overlooks the gardens, where grapes, tea, fennel, cabbage and beans flourish in the fruit and vegetable patches.
Gardening gloves; a tambourine/guitar/song book for the bonfire – the perfect place to showcase your musical talents. Flammable attire is best left behind.
Indulge in treatments at the spa. Expect delicately perfumed essential oils, deliciously hot pebbles and expertly executed Asian methodologies.
Welcome, but under-10s can only stay in the villas or townhouse, and must be supervised in the swimming pool, which they can use 9am–12noon. The restaurant has a menu for tots, extra beds are €80 a night, and babysitting can be arranged.
Sustainability issues shape the hotel, rather than being a secondary consideration. An abandoned chicken farm once occupied the hotel’s perch – when Areias was built, the farm was ground down and its materials reused. The hotel uses geothermal energy and solar power, and recycles as much as possible. Guests can even add green ‘experiences’ to their stay, including a compost circuit or an agricultural lesson with local farmers.