Verdant, ocean-facing, zen-like Immerso feels a million miles from civilisation, a place to switch off and, well, immerse yourself in Ericeira’s wild landscape. Apart from the ample surf opportunities (this is Europe’s only World Surfing Reserve), everything here is designed to keep you horizontal. The spa’s massage rooms invite passive participation only, and by the time cocktail hour rolls around at the pool bar (noon, right?), you’ll already be reclining on your lounger, arm outstretched to receive that first mimosa – or a bottle of the hotel’s home-brewed craft lager. Garden pods offer an alternative location for sun seekers to repose, a spot where coastal views across lawns provide easy distraction from the frankly exhausting task of lifting that holiday read to your nose.
Please note While the hotel gears up its good looks, the images displayed here for El Vicenç de la Mar are in fact computer generated. Apologies, real-life photographs will be with us soon…
Double rooms from £238.22 (€280), including tax at 6 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include a buffet breakfast, served in the restaurant and al fresco on the sea-view veranda.
At the hotel
Spa and outdoor pool. Gym, sauna and steam room. Restaurant and bar. Free WiFi. In rooms: minibar, TV, organic Portuguese toiletries. Balcony with sea and valley views.
Our favourite rooms
Rooms are bright and airy, with textures that evoke land and sea, plus oodles of natural woods and earthy tones. All have terraces with Instagram-worthy views that sweep down the valley to the sea. The two massive suites are particularly special, each with a wraparound terrace and freestanding bath tub, meaning you can enjoy the sunset (and a sundowner) while having a soak.
There’s a small-but-perfectly-formed pool sunk into lounger-dotted decking atop the main building. Sea views here are some of the finest on the resort.
The day spa spoils guests with vegan products from Austrian alchemists Vinoble. Book in for a vigorous massage or relaxing facial in one of three treatment rooms, one of which comes with a Jacuzzi. There’s also a sauna and steam room, as well as a sensory bath for those in search of maximum zen.
Fancy making like Keanu in Point Break? Ericeira is a surfers’ paradise but the North Atlantic isn’t exactly known for its balmy temperatures, so don’t forget to bring your wetsuit.
Can’t stay still for five minutes? There’s no shortage of entertainment here for the terminally active, including a gym, yoga sessions and bikes to rent. Immerso can also organise surfing, paddle-boarding, trekking and horse riding for you.
Extra beds can be provided in Inspire Family rooms and babysitting services are available. Infants stay free but charges apply for children aged 2–11.
Designed to melt into the landscape, Immerso is a hotel that takes sustainability seriously. Food is sourced from local producers and the hotel’s own kitchen garden, meaning you can expect menus heaving with fragrant herbs, juicy tomatoes fresh off the vine and umami North Atlantic sea urchins. Rainwater is collected to irrigate the gardens, and the rest of the grounds are kept orderly but unmanicured, allowing native flora and fauna to thrive. The use of local materials in the fabric of the building has also helped keep its environmental impact low, with furniture made in Portugal – including a number of upcycled pieces – going some way to support Ericeira’s artisan community. Further eco-friendly touches like reduced use of plastic and a fleet of electric vehicles continue the good work.
It’s something of a challenge to find a disappointing view anywhere at Immerso, let alone in a restaurant that overlooks the ocean. But, naturally, sunset views from the huge veranda are just about as good as it gets.
Michelin-starred chef Alexandre Silva is at the helm of Emme, Immerso’s fine-dining restaurant, which specialises in regional favourites with a modern twist. Expect dishes that showcase seasonal vegetables from the garden and sardines, squid and sea urchins so fresh you may well have encountered them on your morning dip.
Sister restaurant Emme on Fire serves up sizzling grills and smoking-hot wood-fired pizza. The atmosphere here is laidback and casual, with both restaurants opening out onto an enormous veranda. Wash down your meal with a signature cocktail or a bottle of the hotel’s own Bica beer, a hoppy but refreshingly light craft lager that’s perfect for warm summer evenings.
Huge bifold glass doors connect the airy lobby to a huge wraparound terrace with panoramic valley views. Step outside and enjoy the gentle sea breeze with a signature Bica beer, the hotel’s very own craft brew. There’s another bar by the rooftop pool, where a DJ spins chillout tunes some afternoons.
Breakfast is served until 11am and dinner until 10am. Last orders at the bar are at midnight.
Room service is available for private dining on your balcony at sunset. What could be more romantic?
Immerso lies in a lush valley, overlooking a spectacular stretch of coastline dotted with dozens of golden beaches. Hopeless romantics can expect to swoon over endless horizons, pine-scented breezes and starlit evenings soundtracked by crashing surf.
You may feel very remote from civilisation out here on Portugal’s wild Atlantic coast. But, in fact, Immerso is a mere 35-minute drive from Lisbon Airport, or about 90 minutes if you opt for the bus ride to Ericeira.
A cab from the airport will set you back around €80-100. But the hotel’s remote, windswept location really begs your own set of wheels. How else are you going to get to all those beaches? There’s free parking at the hotel, and chargers for those who cruise in by electric car.
Worth getting out of bed for
Sunkissed Ericeria is the first and (so far) only designated World Surfing Reserve in Europe, so you’d be remiss not to take a lesson or two while you’re here. Portuguese surfing legend Tiago Pires runs a local school so you can learn from the very best. Thrashing around clumsily in the big blue not for you? The stunning sandy beaches here also provide a fantastic viewpoint for admiring graceful pro surfers ride the waves. And, of course, smugly congratulating yourself that the hapless beginner who just wiped out in the shallows is not you.
Dedicated landlubbers can opt for the more sedate pastime of helping out in the hotel’s kitchen garden. Here’s a chance to join fun, sociable workshops and to select the very vegetables you’ll be munching at dinner. You can even accompany the chef to the local market on a morning shopping expedition.
Take a daytrip to the Tapada Nacional de Mafra, around 20 minutes’ drive from Immerso. This sprawling nature reserve – where eagle-eyed visitors might spot birds of prey and herds of fallow deer among the towering pines – was once a favourite hunting ground for royals residing in the adjacent Palace of Mafra. Now a Unesco World Heritage Site, the park has a multitude of excellent hiking and biking trails, some up to six miles in length. The palace is no slouch either, a vast baroque and neo-classical edifice with a striking 220-metre yellow-and-cream facade and an eye-watering 1,200 rooms.
You’ll need to be up early to beat the crowds to colourful Pena Palace in nearby Sintra. Rest assured it’s worth it to see its turrets glow a vivid red and yellow in the morning sun. You can easily fill a whole day here, with Moorish castles and whimsical palaces galore. These include the quite extraordinary Quinta da Regaleira, a flamboyant 19th-century confection boasting gardens packed with grottoes and secret tunnels. There’s even an ‘initiation well’ with a spiral staircase inside.
All whitewashed houses, terracotta-tiled roofs and cobbled pavements, Ericeira is every bit the quaint fishing village of your imagination. Pair crispy whitebait and charred octopus with fries, salad and vinho verde at Tik-Tak, a laidback side-street tapas joint. Or head to old-school fish restaurant Canastra, where the sole on your plate is so fresh it might have leapt there straight from the crashing surf below.
Work up an appetite papping Instagrammers’ fave Pena Palace in nearby Sintra, with its intense turmeric-yellow and paprika-red towers, then make for nearby Tulhas. This local institution is set in a converted grain warehouse, all dark-wood beams, moody gothic chandeliers and mosaic tiling. Specialities include delicate grilled octopus and the must-try bacalhau com natas, a heart-stoppingly creamy gratin crammed with locally caught cod.
The surfing contingent ensures that, despite its relatively rural location, Ericeira enjoys a lively nightlife. Hemingway's Bar Café is a cute cocktail bar with a smattering of tables available on the cobbled street outside. Arrive early if you want to nab one – it gets seriously crowded here on summer evenings, thanks to pleasant temperatures, an ace selection of cocktails and 70+ (count em) varieties of gin.
A very short stagger from Hemingway’s, Jukebox Bar is a similarly cute low-rise whitewashed building with terracotta roof tiles and hand-painted furniture. Stop by for local craft beers, caipirinhas and live music that continues late into the night.
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-conscious hillside hideaway in Portugal’s picturesque Mafra region and reacclimatised to the real world, a full account of their zen-like surf n’ spa break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Immerso in Ericeira…
If you’re a sucker for the freshest seafood, still-warm pasteis de nata and beaches you’d happily get shipwrecked on, then Immerso is where it’s at. Tucked away on a hillside down a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it side track near the cute fishing village of Ericeira, this remote hotel also promises top-drawer relaxation and picture-perfect sea views from every room.
Towering cliffs dotted with sheltered sandy coves help create the conditions that have made Ericeira a mecca for surfers. The hotel can organise lessons for budding boarders, while those who favour a gentler pummelling than the North Atlantic can provide should make for the spa, where a range of massage options are available.
Evenings are spent on broad wooden terraces, sipping Immerso’s signature Bica Beer, a crisp craft brew that’s perfectly complemented by balmy sea breezes, as dusky pink sunsets give way to tapestries of stars.