In the timeless setting of Alentejo’s pine forest, dunes and rice fields – a few minutes’ drive from Comporta’s you-have-to-be-in-the-know beaches – boutique retreat Spatia Comporta stands out for its modern look and informal feel. Its sociable clubhouse (with a restaurant, lounge and bar), minimalist rooms and family-friendly villas eschew the frilliness of Portugal’s old-school pousadas and are laid out over a manicured clearing with neat lawns, two enticing pools (one for kids) and fragrant gardens with rows of lavender bushes and herbs in sandy beds. Here, you have the luxury of space, privacy and choice – with just a handful of guests at any time, staff can offer highly personalised service, be it a tailored stand-up paddleboarding and dolphin-spotting trip to the Sado Estuary, a picnic basket packed with the finest from local farms and wineries, or simply a cocktail brought to your sunlounger at the press of a button.
Get this when you book through us:
Welcome drink on arrival and early check-in or late check-out (subject to availability)
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £290.99 (€340), including tax at 6 per cent.
Rates usually include a breakfast of cheeses and cold cuts, eggs any way, pastries, bread, coffee and tea (otherwise €20 a person). Until October 2021, there’s a minimum two-night stay, otherwise there’s a required two-night stay at weekends.
The staff are romantics at heart and will happily set the scene for honeymooners and cosy twosomes, whether it’s arranging a candlelit meal on your private terrace or setting your room up with flowers, fresh fruit and champagne.
At the hotel
Small indoor lounge and library, outdoor lounging area with a fire pit, free WiFi (can be a little spotty in the outdoor areas); a spa and beach club are in the works for 2022 as well. In rooms: 40-inch TV with satellite channels, free high-speed WiFi, Nespresso machine, tea-making kit, fresh fruit on arrival, minibar, bathrobes and slippers, individual temperature controls, free bottled water, and Maison Codage toiletries. Villas have a private pool and a full kitchen too.
Our favourite rooms
The hotel have made it remarkably easy for you to choose a room by designing all 10 in the same style, with terraces and hammocks to swing in, high vaulted ceilings with beams and huge expanses of window to welcome in the sun and give you a cinematic view of the scenery. Furnishings are modern in organic materials – the owners wanted guests to enjoy a fresh pine scent indoors, so there are plenty of eye-catching wood features, and to add a little Portuguese flavour there are handicrafts from Alentejo’s artisans, such as crocheted hangings, woven blankets and cushions, rattan rugs, decorative screens and whimsical pottery.
Moonstone-blue and sunk into a trim grassy lawn, the unheated main pool is an enticing refreshment on a hot summer’s day; equally so, the glasses of chilled Portuguese wine you can summon with the press of a button. Coupled-up around the sides are white loungers shaded by parasols, where you can lay back and look out at the pines and be soothed by the scent from the lavender bushes. Just next to it is a shallow square pool for toddlers to splash about in – it’s unsupervised, but there are loungers parents can keep watch from.
The hotel’s spa is still in the works, but the obliging staff wouldn’t let you go without some pampering; they’ll happily arrange for a local masseuse to set up a table on your private deck or in your room.
There’s little in the way of distraction, so bring some gentle offline pastimes for lazier days – if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to knit or crochet, the hotel feels like an ideal setting for it. And, leave a few wine-bottle-shaped holes amid your clothes and essentials for bringing something drinkable back.
Throughout the Clubhouse and in the rooms and villas there’s plenty of elbow room, so getting around in a wheelchair shouldn’t prove a problem. And there’s one adapted room.
Children of all ages are welcome. There’s a pool for smalls, and daily activities to keep them occupied, plus family-sized villas to stay in (extra beds can be added to each room from €50 for 3-12 years and €80 for ages 13+).
Environmentally friendly materials were used in the construction of the hotel, and the gardens are built to absorb rainwater and cut down on how much the hotel uses. There are also smart taps and showers in rooms and villas. Staff try to use as few disposable products as possible, recycle duly and use eco-friendly cleaning products. Ingredients for the restaurant are acquired from local sources and the hotel are cultivating their own organic kitchen garden too.
A table on the terrace is a no-brainer, especially when the gardens have such considered perfumes and the scenery deserves your attention. For drinks, the hotel’s fire-pit-warmed alfresco sunken lounge will make you want to leap into its cushions.
Spatia Comporta is happily placed at the locus of Portugal’s natural larder, with oyster farms and a bustling fishing harbour at Sado and Sesimbra to the north, paddy fields in the wetlands to the south, and inland the farms fed by the Tagus, where vegetables and fruits grow fat and flavourful and Iberian pigs and sheep are reared for their distinctively rich meat. Which is to say, you’ll eat very well here, whether you’re having a simple Serrano ham sandwich or a date-night-meal array of meat and seafood. Spatia Club is the hotel’s more casual lounge-style lunchtime eatery, which serves burgers, salads (dressed with partridge, codfish or octopus), small plates and Portuguese desserts (chocolate mousse with lavender from the garden, cottage cheese with jam or Sericaia egg pudding). Nesto is still laidback in attitude, but has a more refined dinner menu of black-pork cheeks, cuttlefish with black rice, roasted octopus, partridge and thick juicy steaks. And, because the hotel adheres to an ‘anything goes’ motto, you can also choose to dine around the pool, in the grounds, on your terrace – take your pick.
There are few better places for wandering around wielding a glass in your hand – no one will mind, and the clubhouse has spaces that flow into one another organically, so there’s no dedicated bar, as such. Here the wine list doesn’t travel very far, and nor should it: the hotel has its pick of Portugal’s fertile winelands to haul cases in from. And there’s a selection of refreshing sangrias too. When it comes to cocktails, there’s a reliable range of classics (caipirinhas, daiquiris, mojitos…), and a trio of signature drinks – vodka-based Viridi with cucumber and aquafaba is a unique and popular choice, and we like Terroir, a tempting muddle of butter-washed bourbon, vintage port, red vermouth and lavender-infused egg white.
Breakfast is served from 8am to a delightfully lazy 12 noon. Spatia Club runs from 12 noon to 7pm. Nesto is open for lunch on Fridays and Saturdays from 1pm to 4pm and dinner every day from 7pm to 10pm.
Absolutely – what are private terraces there for? Just take your pick from the restaurant menus and wait for the knock on the door.
Despite its name, the hotel lies just beyond the Herdade da Comporta, a 15-minute drive from both there and the Atlantic coast. It’s set amid the pine forests and sand dunes of the fertile Alentejo region, in a blissfully peaceful clearing.
Lisbon Portela Airport is the closest to the hotel, just over an hour’s drive away; planes arrive here direct from major cities across Europe and some further afield. Or, fly into Faro Airport, which is a 90-minute drive away.
The closest station is Grândola, a 20-minute drive away from Spatia Comporta, and you can catch a train directly from Faro, which takes around two hours. However, due to the hotel’s remote location you’ll be reliant on taxis to shuttle you back and forth.
You’ll need some wheels – the hotel’s wonderful seclusion makes it just that little harder to reach (but it’s worth the effort). Having a car means you can zip out to the beach, through Comporta’s rice paddies and pristine nature reserve, and hop between Alentejo’s history-rich villages – just designate a driver if you take a tasting tour of the region’s syrahs and cab savs.
Worth getting out of bed for
Alentejo and neighbouring Comporta are largely given over to nature aside from a smattering of heritage villages. Pine forests spread out into the dunes which lead to the Costa Azul’s unbroken stretch of blustery golden beaches (all Blue Flag). Bountiful crops crowd the fields and vineyards and stripy rice paddies are further testament to the region’s easy-grow nature. And so, ways to pass the time involve immersing yourself in the rustic setting, whether you hop on horseback or borrow one of the hotel’s bikes, or go on a twitching mission to spy the fantastically named birds that swoop over the region: great bustards and black-bellied sandgrouses, or even vultures and eagles. The coast is just a 10-minute drive away; Prego and Carvalhal are the closest praias, but further south Melides has a bohemian community and hasn’t yet been overrun by sun-seekers, and Praia do Pinheirinho is the future site of Spatia Comporta’s beach club. Windier shores make for top-notch surfing and windsurfing (the hotel can arrange instructors), and in season stand-up paddle-boarders in the Sado Estuary will be rewarded with dolphin sightings. The Arrábida hills and natural park offers more magical encounters with resident fauna too: foxes, wild boar and flamboyances of flamingos call it home, while scuba sessions in Setúbal reveal neon-flecked schools of fish and stylishly patterned octopi. And walks along the Vicentine Coast Natural Park show off luminous waters and wildflower-strewn hills. Nearby Évora has the remains of a Roman temple, fine examples of Gothic and Baroque architecture and even a chapel decorated with bones, while cosmopolitan Comporta has high-end mercados and indie boutiques to browse.
The hotel’s remote nature and the faff of using a car – for wine-lovers especially – means you’ll likely dine here in the evenings. However, there are beachside restaurants for long lazy lunchtimes out (people are rarely in a rush to finish a meal round these parts). Say, Sal on Praia de Pego, which has simple yet sumptuous grilled fish, giant prawns and zingy salads to accompany. Or try low-key, chiringuito-style eatery Dona Bia, just inland from Praia da Torre – renowned for rice dishes.
Sublime Comporta Beach Club on Carvalhal is suitably stylish for well-heeled Lisboetas on a day trip, with its wood and rattan furnishings, dreamy sand-meets-sea views and considered wine list.
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 as-you-wish-it hotel in the hinterland of the Alentejo region and unpacked their wetsuit and bottle of local wine, a full account of their easy-breezy break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Spatia Comporta near Grândola…
Amid the mussy heads of pine trees that grow through Alentejo’s dunes, as far as the eye can see out to the Atlantic coast, boutique hideaway Spatia Comporta looks remarkably groomed. Its expansive lawns and lavender gardens are trim; its clubhouse, rooms and villas are set in clean-lined minimalist riffs on traditional architecture, with sizzling-white walls and tiled roofs; and its two pools (one for water babies) have neat white sunloungers laid out around them. This not-a-hair-out-of-place look is rather fitting, because when you stay here, staff work hard to make sure everything is in order, whether you want a bespoke beach picnic, loved-up candlelit dinner, wine-tasting itinerary or a massage on your sun-kissed terrace. And, the ambience is as unfussy as the decor here (where embellishment largely extends to a smattering of Portuguese handicrafts, baskets of fresh flowers and some delicately patterned screens). Guests are spoilt with space to roam (book a villa and you’ll have a whole hectare to call your own), families can let little ones explore unfettered, and breakfast is even served till a leisurely 12 noon. And, indulgence comes with a true sense of place, beyond slipping effortlessly into the region’s easygoing way of life. Dishes such as black-pork cheeks with bread dumplings, stewed partridge and codfish salad delve into rustic tradition, while the wine list pays deference to the surroundings’ fabulously fertile winelands – yet another advantage to being far away from it all in Portugal’s wild west.