Portugal has its remote corners, and then there’s Areias do Seixo Villas – a cluster of rustic retreats where the nosiest neighbour is the Atlantic. Each villa, townhouse or glamping tent is rooted in sustainability: the repurposed timber furniture and organic garden make travel here a little more guilt-free – and that’s only scratching the surface of the eco-conscious ethos of this coastal hideout. Privacy is assured in the villas (thanks to your own pool, kitchen and living space) – but there are daily yoga classes, just-baked cakes, home-grown teas and sundowners around the bonfire too… and plenty more reasons to spend your down-time on the dunes.
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For stays of up to two nights, you’ll find an edible treat in your room; longer stays will get organic produce from the kitchen garden.
Double rooms from £353.62 (€395), including tax at 6 per cent.
Rates include a breakfast served in the greenhouse until 11am. Start the day with regional delicacies, organic fruit from the gardens and freshly squeezed juice.
After a storm swept along the coast in 2008, owners Gonçalo and Marta decided to reuse all the uprooted trees by recreating them as statement pieces for the main house and villas. You can find some of these by the dune-top campfire that lights up every evening, with Marta on the guitar and Conçalo on the wine refills.
The villas are closed for winter between January and February.
At the hotel
Breakfast in the greenhouse, bikes to borrow, family village activities (including trampolines, trekking, yoga, kids yoga, pilates, functional training and treasure hunts). In rooms: WiFi, TV, soundsystem, kitchen, fireplace, Nespresso machine, hairdryer, robes and slippers, full-sized Damana bath products
Our favourite rooms
Villa green superior is the epitome of rustic luxury – the thoughtfully designed abodes are made of timber, stone, glass, copper and burnt concrete sitting pretty against an Atlantic ocean background – but for a really unique experience, we’d book the lake shelter. The safari-style tent sits atop a lagoon and is disconnected from the rest of the world (yep, there’s no WiFi). Instead, let the sounds of nature provide the entertainment.
All of the villas and townhouse have their own pool.
Wind down after a day of surfing in the Areias do Seixo spa. There’s a dry sauna, steam sauna and relaxation room adorned with Moroccan lights and a log fire; plus two treatment rooms (opt for a hot stone massage, shiatsu treatment or cocoa scrub). Yoga and functional training sessions are organised in the family village, but movement isn’t consigned to the indoors: trekking, SUP boarding and bike rides are some of the ocean-air-infused wellness activities on offer. Please note the spa is for guests aged 16 and over.
A notebook (made of recycled paper, naturally) to jot down tips during a tour with the green-thumbed gardener.
Villa blue superior number six is wheelchair accessible. Children can access the reception, lobby, bar, and terrace areas, between noon and 6pm, namely, for light meals service.
Children are welcome in the villas, but note that the main house is designed for those 16 years and over. Babysitting and nanny services are available on request, and family activities can be arranged.
Areias do Seixo Villas had sustainable tourism in mind from the start. Sustainability concerns shaped the conception of the hotel at times. It was built on the site of an abandoned chicken farm and the hotel reused materials from the former buildings (as well as regional stone, pebble, glass and wood) in its construction. The villas are powered by renewable energy (geothermal, aerothermal and solar) and natural ventilation takes the place of air-conditioning. Full-size eco-friendly bathroom products are used in bathrooms, and local providers are favoured where possible. Produce from the onsite organic vegetable garden and local land is cooked up in the restaurant and rainwater is used in the gardens and bathrooms. Single-use plastics are, naturally, not allowed. Most of the employees are local hires and the sister hotel supports a local community association that promotes sustainability and also organises water sports for local youth and families. Similarly, education and awareness-raising are a focus for guests, too: workshops and talks aim to inspire sustainable behaviour in travellers.
Opt for opposite the open kitchen to watch the chefs at work; or stake out seats near the terrace to see the stars.
Thrifted dresses, cooling kaftans and linen shirts.
There’s a strong vegan slant at the restaurant (produce from the kitchen garden being the star of the show) but local fish and meat are also on offer. At lunch, try delicate mussels served with foraged herbs from the cliffs, quinoa bowls with grilled vegetables, octopus carpaccio and Atlantic ceviche. Bring an appetite for dinner: you’ll be tempted by garlic razor clams, wild mushroom stew, Iberian black pork and tagine with bulgur salad. Leave room for the Azores pineapple dessert, balanced with lemongrass and cardamom sorbet. The food is lovingly prepared, and the same affection can be seen in the décor: an open kitchen, dark wood floors, sinuous wood stove, chunky wooden tables and mismatched chairs contribute to the cosy and communal feel.
Hunker down opposite the suspended fireplace in winter (port in hand, naturally); or take a herb-laden cocktail out to the terrace come summer. The bar is open until 1am, and has an impressive list of zero-to-low intervention natural wines made with local grapes (try a glass of the smooth Quinta da Serradinha tinto, or a bottle of the floral Vale da Capucha white).
Breakfast is until 11am, lunch 1–3pm and dinner until 10pm. The bar is open until 1am.
Staff will whip you up a snack or drink around the clock – just let them know what you’re craving.
Praceta do Atlantico, Mexilhoeira, Póvoa de Penafirme
The villas at Areias do Seixo are mere metres from the main house, and within ambling distance of pin-drop sandy beaches and the Atlantic.
Lisbon airport is an hour away by car and welcomes flights from plenty of European cities. The hotel can arrange your transfer.
Torres Vedras station can be reached in 90 minutes from Lisbon’s Santa Apolónia. The villas are a 20-minute drive from the station – contact them directly to organise a taxi.
Lisbon is around an hour's drive from the villas, and a car is certainly worth it so you can explore the coast and vineyards. Santa Cruz and Santa Rita are less than 10 minutes away, and the mediaeval town of Óbidos can be reached in 40 minutes.
Worth getting out of bed for
Get green-fingered in the garden and help pick the juiciest vegetables for lunch, or stroll across the protected dunes and collect fresh mussels from the beach for dinner. Learn to surf at the closest beach, Praia do Seixo, or hit up Ericeira’s reef breaks and Peniche’s supertubos. The hotel works with a surf school, but if you’re an experienced boarder then staff can arrange rental equipment so you can set out on your own. Borrow bikes from the hotel to explore the undulating hills and dazzling seaside scenery; or nearbyVimeiro has a riding school, if you prefer hooves to wheels. Recover from the excursions in the sanctuary of the spa where a dry sauna, steam sauna, Turkish bath and relaxation room await.
Vela d’Ouro in Santa Cruz is a safe bet to sample some of the area’s freshest seafood; Tras d’Orelha is best for lamb, pork and duck (unsurprising, since the owner is a butcher). For laid-back dinners, head down the coast to Noah Surf House, where you’ll find calzone, pizza and veggie bowls, plus tapas of iberian pork, hummus and burrata. The menu at Noah Beach House (same-same but different) celebrates the sea – feast on john dory fillets, grilled octopus or the catch of the day, priced per kilo.
Sample a local red or three at Manel Bar on Esplanada Antero Quental. Order a refreshing post-surf melon-and-mint juice and sink your toes into the sand at Bronzear Bar & Deli, a chilled out beach café with a small menu of burgers, wraps and salads. Looking for something a bit louder? DJs regularly spin well into the wee hours at this beachfront bar, where juices can quickly become fruity cocktails with a dash of this or that.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this eco-friendly hotel in Portugal and unpacked their boutique-bought wares, a full account of their beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Areias do Seixo Villas near Torres Vedras…
Whisper-quiet Costa de Prata is best known for its barrels and breaks. There’s the sweeping sands of Santa Cruz, the emerald waters of Ericeira and the supertubos of Peniche; and among them all, the warm and welcoming villas at Areias do Seixo. Perched high on a cliff, the villas appear to have been carved straight into the landscape – they blend harmoniously with the sea, sand dunes and swathes of pine trees. The design is international: a touch of Scandi style, a hint of Indian-inspired interiors, and a dose of Moroccan flair. Look out for the custom fireplaces, recycled artefacts, crystal chandeliers and bohemian throws, all set against weathered pastel-coloured walls. Much like the use of the elements (energy is solar-heated; warmth is geothermal; air-con is replaced by natural breeze), the focus here is on the natural. Ditch the tech and instead make time for mind-clearing hikes, soul-soothing yoga sessions, and afternoons exploring the dunes. This is wild Portugal – and it's wildly pretty, too.