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Convento do Espinheiro is a unique hotel that makes a wonderful addition to the excellent properties of the luxury collection series of hotels around the world. It serves as an idyllic retreat steeped in the historic splendor of an ancient monastery amidst some of Portugals most memorable landscapes in the Alentejo region.
For a guest who truly appreciates quiet luxuries, panoramic beauty and historic relevance this is most certainly a place to enjoy. Set just a one hour drive from Lisbon, this fascinating property is minutes from Evora, a historic walled city that boasts many attractive parks, charming streets and ruins like the ancient Roman temples and the massive aqueduct. The city is home to many schools, beautiful museums and churches as well as plentiful restaurants serving the savory local cuisine.
The first impression one gets when driving up to the historic Convento do Espinheiro hotel is “are we at the hotel or at a museum?” The outside perfectly preserves the 15th century monastery complex down to the last detail, but don’t worry, it hosts elegant and relaxing treasures inside. The check in was friendly and expedient all done in a historic foyer dimly lit and gracefully decorated with precious works of art. We were offered a welcome drink, taken and shown our room and had the facilities explained to us. There are a total of 92 rooms including 6 suites. Some of the rooms are transformed portions of the historic convent with garden and cloister views while an entirely other section of the hotel has a more modern construction. In all cases the rooms have the elegant decor of the golden years of these monasteries operation with rich fabrics, heavy and dark furniture and elaborate artwork. This impressive display is complemented by excellent beds, spacious bathrooms and quick service. The wifi was included but it was hardly functional, most of the time it did not work.
The gym facilities were small and a bit under appreciated. There was often no one in attendance at the gym and spa desk for assistance. The indoor pool, sauna, steam and jacuzzi facilities are in a nice space and are of great quality. The design is modern and inviting. The hotel takes advantage of its luxurious environs to display elegant furniture, artwork and patrimonial objects in spacious bars, lounge areas and sitting rooms. Breakfast is offered in a labyrinthine hall full of arches, rich stone floors and intimate spaces. The breakfast was superb and well presented. One of the most enjoyable experiences is to walk the corridors of this monumental facility and be surprised at the unconventional architecture, fine artistry and the surrounding gardens. The chapel is a highlight of splendor with its richly decorated facades and timeless grace. The outdoor pool area amidst the gardens is an exquisite site to enjoy the rich sun and bountiful land this region is so known for.
Convento do Espinheiro is a great way to experience the excellent and often affordable luxury hotel scene that Portugal has gained a reputation for. This place is certainly a unique destination with excellent facilities. Being an excellent property it could be described as perfect if they would address the gym and wifi issues as well as even more emphasis in a personalized interaction. All in all it is an attractive and worthwhile place to get immersed in historic luxury while being in the modern age of hotel leisure.