Flanked by olive trees and fruit orchards, Octant Évora is set on a sun-baked estate that provides tranquillity and grows much of the produce used in the hotel’s restaurant. Families can flock to the outdoor pools, feed the farm animals and take countryside walks together; those looking for some quiet time might follow the boardwalks to the three adults-only plunge pools overlooking the plains. Regroup at dinner time in the À Terra restaurant, feasting on homemade breads dipped in olive oil, hearty couscous salads, baked cod and farm-fresh vegetables – hitting the hay after a nightcap in the sunken, fire-pit-warmed alfresco bar.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £96.87 (€108), including tax at 6 per cent.
Rates include a pile-your-plate-high breakfast in the restaurant – but those staying in a villa can opt to have a spread delivered to their door.
At the hotel
11 hectares of farmland with two main pools; three adults-only plunge pools; a plains-facing relaxation deck; chef's table; spa with heated pool, sauna and steam room; fitness room; kid’s club; alfresco bar; petting farm. In rooms: Nespresso machine and capsules; tea-making facilities; terrace or balcony; desk; minibar; TV; WiFi; pool towels; safe.
Our favourite rooms
Premium terrace rooms have sunbeds overlooking the pool; villas are best suited to bigger groups and to cooler times of year, thanks to the fireplace.
Two large pools in the heart of the hotel are available to all, but three adults-only pools can be found elsewhere in the grounds: set to a backdrop of only-in-the-countryside silence. The spa has a pool, too, which is heated to 30 degrees.
The spa is tucked away inside low-lying white-washed walls, but it’s floor-to-ceiling windows let in the blue skies and sunshine from above. It’s open 24/7, and houses a sauna, steam room and small gym with cardio machines and a weights bench. Treatment rooms can be booked for one or two to enjoy – choose from deep-tissue massages or hydrating facials using local Portuguese brand D'Natureza.
A copy of Navigating the Night Sky to identify constellations among the blanket of stars (the lack of light pollution makes Alentejo a great stargazing spot).
The hotel is wheelchair-friendly, and one fully accessible room is available. The boardwalks make it easy to maneuver wheelchairs and prams through the grounds.
Children are very welcome at Octant Évora. Family rooms can accommodate two adults, two children and a cot; and all other rooms can be set up with an extra bed or cot on request.
Any and all ages are welcome at Évora: the hotel opened its doors on World Children’s Day, should you need further convincing.
Family rooms have a large double bed and set of bunk beds, and an extra bed for a child up to the age of 12 can be added to the room – making them perfect for a family of four or five.
A kids club is open to children between the ages of three and 12, with a fully fledged agenda spanning kids yoga, treasure hunts, feeding the farm animals and a pyjama party. And no, you can’t still pass for a 12 year old…
There’s a dedicated swimming pool for children next to the hotel, with plenty of sunbeds for eagle-eyed adults.
The children’s menu is created with special attention to nutrition – let the chefs worry about them getting their five a day.
A personalised check-in area (positioned suitably close to the lobby’s wine bar) will keep kids entertained while you take that first sip of holiday bliss.
Octant Évora is all about living off the land. Food is locally sourced (none more so than the produce picked from their own garden and grounds); energy is solar powered; and rooms are entirely plastic-free. And should you decide that you’ve outgrown a jumper or dress during your stay, you’ll find a bag in your wardrobe for clothes to be donated to local charities. Évora’s practices are rooted in reducing its carbon footprint – vegetable waste from the kitchen is turned into an organic fertiliser, breathing life straight back into the soil. The estate even has its own organic water treatment plant, which reuses waste water and irrigates the vegetable garden, orchard and grounds, saving water in a region where water scarcity is a problem.
We love the terrace – just sunken enough to avoid any unruly splashes from the pool, but still out in the buzz of the open air.
Go for something informal that allows for maximum enjoyment of the breads, hams and gins on offer.
Floor-to-ceiling windows balance the dark woods and traditional materials adorning the interiors of the hotel’s restaurant. The seasonal menu takes its roots from traditional Alentejo cuisine, using regional products, local suppliers and the estate’s own fruit trees, organic garden and olive grove. The open kitchen means you can see the chefs serving up your cured salmon salad, baked cod or Lagareiro octopus. At lunchtime, the flames of the pizza oven warm fresh dough topped with pumpkin and asparagus; sun dried tomatoes and smoked pork; or ham and pineapple (if you can face the wrath of your companions). Picnics can also be arranged, with a blanket-friendly menu of salads, sandwiches, fruits and fresh lemonades.
The gin list at the sunken, fire-pit warmed hotel bar is extensive, but we loved the caipirinha alentejana cocktail, too – a combination of Aguardente de Medronhos (a Portuguese fruit brandy made with strawberries from the wild Medronho tree), lime and sugar.
Breakfast is available 8–11am; lunch from 12 noon until 3pm; and dinner 7–10pm. The alfresco bar is open from 11am–midnight in the high season.
Room service is available around the clock, with some menu limitations between midnight and 8am.
Octant Évora Farm Hotel & Spa sits in 11 hectares of Alentejo’s plains, just 19km from the walled, Unesco-celebrated city of Évora.
The closest airport is Lisbon; there are regular flights from other European cities. It takes around 90 minutes to reach the hotel by car, and our in-house team can arrange transfers.
Évora is the closest station (a 20-minute drive from the hotel), and trains from Lisbon take around one hour and 45 minutes.
The plains of Portugal are best explored by car; especially because this farm hotel is relatively remote. There are plenty of car hire options at Lisbon airport, an hour and a half drive from the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
Although the region of Alentejo occupies more than a third of Portugal’s land space, it’s home to just seven per cent of the population: with much of the area being used for olive orchards, vineyards and farmland. Occasionally, a city appears – such as the walled, Unesco-celebrated city of Évora. The historic town is all whitewash, ochre and granite; dotted with colonnaded squares, Baroque churches and temples. Make a grape escape from the heat to family-run Quinta do Quetzal vineyard, which also has its own art gallery – showcasing the works of emerging contemporary artists across all mediums. If you’ve got the time and the transport, head to the revered beaches of Comporta for a day of breezy sea-blues and seafood. Back at the hotel, explore the footpaths and meadows that wind down to the stream at the Monte Novo Dam – you’ll pass ancient watermills, olive trees and aquatic birds; or take to the skies for a hot air balloon ride over the plains. You can get involved in cooking workshops, picnics and wine tastings, too.
The bottle-lined walls of Dom Joaquim are 20 minutes away by car, where generous portions of typical Alentejo cuisine – pork cheeks are a must try – are served in the relaxed dining room; followed by traditional desserts including toucinho raçcoso and sericaia. Also in Évora is Fialho, a spot serving arroz de pombo, partridge, and black pork cheeks in red wine. Further afield, the intimate Taberna Al-Andaluz is famous locally for its lamb stew. The rest of the menu draws on products from the region, with specialities including Iberian jamón, Alentejo sausages and local cheeses.
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 family-friendly farm hotel in Alentejo with their Portuguese-summer tans, a full account of their down-with-nature break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Octant Évora Farm Hotel & Spa in Portugal…
The plains surrounding Octant Évora Farm Hotel & Spa give a real sense of being removed; a walk through the grounds affords that pin-drop, wind-whispering silence that can only be found in the most remote countryside. The hotel itself is something of a shrine to the land on which it stands – committed to circular practices (such as turning food waste into fertiliser) and use of local produce and suppliers. The three contemplation pools give a real sense of, well, contemplation – away from the distractions of day to day life. And as the sun roasts high over the sunbeds, you’ll find yourself settling into the relaxed rhythm of the farm; helped, we can only imagine, by a mojito or three.