At L’And Vineyards in Portugal, the estate’s red wine is free flowing, which will probably add to your enjoyment but they almost needn’t have bothered: there are so many other things here to keep you entertained, from the (wine-based) treatments in the Caudalie spa and star-gazing through the retractable roof of your sleek suite to working your way through meals packed with quality local produce in the hazy glow of a hundred Tom Dixon lamps at the restaurant. The squat, sloping, all-white buildings blend beautifully into a backdrop of bright blue skies, green vines and the odd mediaeval castle crumbling away on a hilltop in the distance.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in is 3pm, also flexible.
Double rooms from £195.85 (€215), including tax at 6 per cent.
Rates usually include breakfast.
Construction work on new villas is taking place around Villa Arinto for the foreseeable future. Noise disruption will be kept at a minimum, but guests will likely notice some yet-to-be-landscaped areas near the construction site.
Due to Covid-19 precautions, bookings must be made for two nights or more (three nights minimum for villas) and customer ID will be requested in advance; the reception will be open 24 hours a day, and check-out will also be contact-free. The pool is open, but there’s a limit on the number of people allowed in at one time and sunloungers are spaced two metres apart. The spa is also open and treatments can be booked for indoors or outdoors, but the sauna remains closed. Turndown service is available on request.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, tennis court, car park. In rooms: free bottled water, tea, TV, Nespresso coffee machine, minibar, air-conditioning and Vinoble bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Sky View Suites get our vote for lots of reasons, but mostly the private plunge pools in their gardens, where you’ll also find a fire helpfully lit by the staff each evening as you enjoy a glass of wine. We also rate their bath tubs and roomy proportions. For even more space, book one of the multi-bedroom villas.
There’s a sunlounger-surrounded pool in the middle of the garden, and an adults-only one inside at the spa.
The Vinoble spa offers facials, massages and – natch – vinotherapy. There’s also a sauna and regular Pilates, yoga and fitness classes.
Bring an appreciation of fine food, even finer wine and crumbling castles.
The communal areas are accessible for wheelchair users and a couple of the ground-floor rooms have been specially adapted.
All ages are welcome, but the hotel is better suited to bigger Smiths (over-13s). Babysitting is available with a day’s notice for €20 an hour (€30 for two children). Little ‘uns are welcome in the bar, but the restaurant has a no-pushchairs policy.
Nab a table closest to the wide windows for a side order of garden and lake views with your supper.
Sculptural jewellery to match the multitude of shiny Tom Dixon lamps or pops of colour to change up the sleek white space.
A breakfast spread of local farm eggs, charcuterie, house-made bread, jams and pastries is served in the main restaurant (or on the terrace). By night, it’s slicker than your average, chef Nuno Amaral's tasting menu showcases excellent Portuguese produce: cheeses, meats, local herbs, seafood from Setúbal, cattle from nearby farms and fruits and vegetables. We highly recommend ordering the wine flight with it. There are à la carte choices too.
The bar has huge windows so you can admire the gardens at the same time as your goblet of Alentejo wines. Food is served between noon and 10pm, whether you fancy a snack (prosciutto platters) or fully fledged meal (a trad local tomato soup with poached egg and sausages). The Sky Lounge opens during the summer.
Breakfast is served between 8am and 11am. Dinner hours are 7pm to 10pm. The restaurant opens for lunch at the weekend (1pm to 2.30pm), and the bar hours are noon to midnight.
Steaks, sandwiches and the fish of the day can be delivered to your room on request.
Herdade das Valadas
Estrada Nacional 4 apartado 122
You’ll find these rows of grapes near the Alentejo town of Montemor-o-Novo, east of Lisbon.
The capital’s main airport is 100 kilometres away; the drive should take around 50 minutes. Hotel transfers cost €150 each way for two people.
The nearest rail station is Ventas Novos, 20 minutes away by car; from here, you catch Lisbon-bound trains (www.cp.pt).
It’s a five-minute drive to Montemor-o-Novo, and the estate is a little over an hour by car east of Lisbon. If you want to tour the other vineyards in the region (under the limit), your own set of wheels will come in handy. The hotel has a car park.
Worth getting out of bed for
Once you’ve imbibed a reasonable amount of the hotel’s output, you should probably head straight for the spa or pool, but if you are feeling more active, head up in a hot-air balloon, stargaze after sundown or tour the local villages. After that? More wine-tasting, obviously. The hotel can arrange guided tours to the walled, Unesco-celebrated city of Évora, a 30-minute drive east of the vineyard. Don’t miss the Temple of Diana, the 12th-century cathedral or the assorted baroque gems. If you just can’t get enough grape juice, visit another winery – Quinta do Quetzal has the added bonus of its own art gallery. For sandy Atlantic scenery, make the hour drive west to the coast and hit up the beautiful beaches of Comporta. The neighbouring town of Montemor-o-Novo is one of the highlights of the Évora district – be sure to check out the ruins of its ancient castle, which has been rebuilt over the centuries.
This is definitely a destination hotel, with the on-site establishments serving up the best food for miles and miles. But if you’re determined to eat further afield, head to Estremoz, a 50-minute drive east of the property, and try Gadanha for a delicious meal, with the chance to stockpile wine from its cellar and olive oil, cured meats and chocolate from its shop afterwards.
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 wine hotel in Portugal and unpacked their fruity reds, a full account of their bucolic break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside L’And Vineyards in Alentejo…
An hour or so east out of Lisbon, into the Alentejo heartlands, L’And Vineyards sticks out like a sugarcube of grand design, and the only thing better than the clean white lines of this modern masterpiece is the bright blue backdrop and grassy green hills. In the distance, you can spy the town of Montemor-o-Novo, with the ruins of the castle on the hillside reminding you that things weren’t always so glossy and glassy. The hotel’s Brazilian architect employed stone, slate and wood, with unique artworks and statement pieces of furniture completing the contemporary look; many of the rooms have fire-toting terraces, but there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy a glass of homegrown red wine throughout the 66-hectare property and its flower-filled gardens, olive groves and vineyards. The wine may be the star of the show here, but the tantalising menu at the restaurant does its best to compete. This is definitely one for the stretchy-waistband attire.