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8 May 2018

three luxury stays in rural portugal

there are so many options when it comes to finding great accommodation when travelling these days, and i've tried just about everything from boutique hotels to villa properties and everything in between, but the one type of accommodation i rarely ever spring for unless it's a really special occasion, is the luxury kind. i guess because it comes at a higher price tag to what i'd usually want to pay while on a weekend trip, but sometimes when you've been on the road all day, a little luxury is all that will do. while in portugal recently i was lucky enough to sample a number of different properties that took my breath (and stress) away after busy (and hot) days on the road, and offered a little taste of luxury.

douro palace hotel resort and spa ****

the douro valley is a breathtaking region of portugal, and at one point the valley cliff rise almost 1000ft above sea level - it's verrrrry high, and steep too. when we drove into the car park of the hotel, we were blown away by the view; it was almost to the edge of the cliff, and overlooked the ancient vineyards below. from the reception, you descend to your floor instead of going up, as the rooms are below where you drive in - which was unexpected!

of the 60 modern rooms, the view from my spacious room was as lovely as the one at reception, but at ground level. as in, the terrace from my room opened straight out into the garden area where i could walk around in the gorgeous twilight, wine in hand, feet on the grass.. it was the perfect way to unwind before dinner at the in-house eca restaurant, or before spending time using the complimentary spa facilities. being so far away from a big city (more than an hour by car to porto) usually means being far away from creature comforts, but the douro palace was the perfect place to unwind while being surrounded by the serenity of the portuguese countryside.

find the hotel here

natura glamping

ok, so basically, i'm not into camping. at all. i don't like the idea of roughing it, of not having running water, or not having electricity (not even for entertainment reasons, but even for just like, reading by light reasons), and i just quite like my basic comforts like.. well, a bed. but glamping seems like something i can definitely get on board with - if natura glamping in fundao is anything to go by. the geodetic domes that sit on the edge of the serra da gardunha are not only impressive to look at, but also contain all the creature comforts of home - with the added bonus of an incredible view.

each of the domes is fully equipped with two double bedrooms, a bathroom and cooking facilities, as well as a wooden balcony that overlooks the valley below, which - at sunset, allows for the most insane golden hour. the setting sun washes the obscure domes with warmth and light, and the make the inside of the huts radiate with invitation. the interiors are tastefully decorated with the hut's exterior in mind, and come june, there will be an infinity pool nestled in amongst the domes, taking sunset to a whole 'nother level. although we didn't spend the night, i 100% want to go back so i can.

find out more about natura glamping here

alentejo marmoris hotel and spa *****

have you ever stayed in a five star hotel? well, i hadn't before this hotel, and - now i feel like every hotel i stay in will forever be a disappointment in comparison to the marmoris hotel and spa in alentejo. from the moment you walk in and are greeted by marble absolutely everywhere, you know this is a fancy place. in fact, it's more of a museum to marble, with gorgeous suites attached to it, because seriously - there's a lot of marble. there's a marble staircase in the lobby, a marble bathtub in my suite (yes suite not room), and in the restaurant - narcisus - there's a whole table made from one giant block of marble, with a glass pane atop it. seriously. 

the estremoz region is known for its marble heritage, and this hotel honours that with a passion; the stone spa at the marmoris is the epitome of tranquility and relaxation. the unique formation of the spa from its original design is clever and modern, and is the ultimate place to relax after a long day. deciding how to spend your time while in the hotel is the hardest part; for me, i went for a wine-paired dinner in the traditional restaurant before unwinding in my suite's marble bath, and falling asleep in my fluffy dressing gown in the giiiiiant super king i had all to myself. honestly, it was unfair to only stay one night, so i will absolutely be back to fulfil all my "queen of portugal" fantasies.

find out more about the marble museum here

*i was a guest of taste portugal and my stays were complimentary. all words are mine!