What does it take to make you truly happy on vacation? A minimalist boutique hotel in a stunning setting? A wine tasting where the grapes are grown? A meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant? Or a spa so peaceful that you almost forget you have to share it with other guests? You’d travel for each of these things individually. But there’s a spot in Portugal where you can have them all.
L’AND Vineyards is a wine resort in Montemor-o-Novo. The medieval hilltop town lies just 15 minutes west of Évora, famous for its Roman ruins, and 45 minutes east of Lisbon. It’s also part of Alentejo, the region that’s considered the breadbasket of Portugal. Rolling hills and rich soil make the rural area an important cork, cheese, and, yes, wine producer.
But back to the wine resort. L’AND Vineyards lies three miles from the center of Montemor-o-Novo. Mature vines, a small lake, a pool surrounded by grass, and whitewashed buildings dot the property. The buildings’ color is the only way they’re traditional, though. The architecture is modern and striking with lines that are straight but irregular. The main building, which holds the reception lounge and the restaurant, was designed as a prism with its corners cut off. It’s decorated with black-slate floors and eucalyptus wood. The townhouses, where you find the suites, were built to blend in with the landscape and maximize the view of the lake. They all have fireplaces on their private terraces. Upgraded SKY-view suites also include skylights above the beds for stargazing and indoor plunge pools.
Despite a full day, you aren’t ready to stargaze quite yet. The morning started with coffee on your terrace. Last night’s empty bottle of wine still sits near the gas fireplace. You went to the spa early, so that you really would have it all to yourself. The sleek space has an indoor pool and a spacious sauna. Low wooden sunbeds sit atop the gray-wood floor. Light streams through the full wall of windows. Since it offers Caudalie—the master of vinotherapy—treatments, you started with a Crushed Cabernet Scrub. The mixture of grape seed, honey, brown sugar, and essential oils is supposed to restore your skin’s radiance. It already felt softer by the time you moved to another sun lounger by the outdoor pool.
After your spa treatment and a few laps, you borrowed a bike. You rode the long way around the lake before stopping at the winery for a tour and a tasting. You learned about the entire winemaking process—grape selection, fermentation, barrel aging, blending, and bottling—before falling in love with their creamy, full-bodied red wines. Then you had just enough time for a short nap before you had to start getting ready for dinner.
That dinner is about to be served in the second-floor restaurant. The space, with upside down gold and copper pendant lamps overhead, looks futuristic. It overlooks a concrete terrace with a long fire pit and thick-cushioned chairs. The chef, Miguel Laffan, brought the first Michelin star to both the hotel and Alentejo. The food is local. Oysters from the Sado river. Seafood from the Setúbal Estuary. Cheese and yogurt from down the road. Citrus, herbs, and veggies from the gardens. The menu changes based on whether asparagus or raspberries, merino lamb or pork neck is available. While it’d be foolish to decline the wine pairings. You can’t think of a single thing that’s missing at L’AND Vineyards.