Convento do Espinheiro

Location: Alentejo | Portugal & Madeira

Price guide: £££££ Less than £100 per person per night

Convento do Espinherio is a luxury hotel housed in a former convent dating back to the 15th century. The property's great age is belied by its gleaming white exterior, and by many of its rooms, which have a luxurious contemporary design. There's exquisite Alentejo cuisine on offer in the atmospheric restaurant, while fascinating Roman and medieval ruins lie in wait in the nearby town of Evora.

Perfect forRich history, good food and good wine in the Alentejo countryside.
In the knowThe story goes that a convent was originally set up here after the Virgin Mary appeared to a local shepherd above a hawthorn tree on the grounds. In later centuries it lay in ruins, even being used as a pigsty at one point.

Recommended for...

  • Food & Wine
  • History & Heritage
  • Landscapes & Scenery
  • Peace & Quiet

Hotel Overview

Sense of Place

The hotel’s setting is as peaceful as you might expect from a former convent. The sprawling grounds are dotted with olive, fig and pepper trees, and atmospheric views can be had of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which lies nearby.

Rooms at Convento do Espinheiro

At odds with the property’s historic appearance, many of the rooms would look more at home in a luxurious penthouse apartment. Chrome and black leather are everywhere you look, the walls are painted a stylish grey, and plush rugs adorn the wooden floors. More traditional are the opulent bathrooms, carved from white and green marble and featuring rainforest showers and huge, freestanding bathtubs. The rooms and suites in the oldest part of the convent also have a more classic look. All have their own balconies overlooking either the hotel’s gardens, courtyards or swimming pool.

Food & Drink

The aptly named Divinus restaurant promises a heavenly dining experience in an evocative setting beneath the vaulted ceilings of the original convent. The food is an homage to regional delicacies and fresh ingredients, with various menus reflecting the best that Alentejo’s land and ocean have to offer. Try the marinated octopus and hare salad from the tapas menu, or the braised monkfish with shrimp rice and clams.

For an after-dinner drink, head to the equally atmospheric Cisterna Wine Bar, housed in a 15th-century water reservoir, where you can savour a selection of wines from Alentejo and beyond. You can also choose to eat in the Claustrus Lounge, housed in the historic cloisters, or enjoy a relaxed drink in the comfy Pulpitus Bar. The Pool Bar, meanwhile, ensures you won’t have to go far to enjoy a drink from your sun lounger.

Facilities

The hotel’s outdoor pool and deck is perfect for cooling off from the Portuguese sun, while an indoor pool can be found at the luxurious Diana Spa. Named after a Roman temple in nearby Evora, the spa pays homage to ancient wellness traditions while bringing them into the 21st century with modern technologies. That means that while the facilities are state of the art, they make extensive use of traditional produce like olive oil and salt. Treatments include massages, body wraps, hydrotherapy and aromatherapy.

Activities at Convento do Espinheiro

The hotel is a historic attraction in itself, and it’s easy to spend hours wandering around and marvelling at the ancient architecture. There’s still a chapel on-site, where you can see a painting depicting the appearance of the Virgin Mary which apparently originally inspired the building of the convent. More historic delights await in nearby Evora, a UNESCO-listed city, home to countless Roman and medieval relics. Most striking of all is the Chapel of Bones, a macabre mausoleum lined with the bones of thousands of people. A half-ruined Roman temple still stands dramatically in the centre of town.

Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
  • Feb
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  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
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  • Nov
  • Dec
Best time to go

Hotel location

The hotel is a 1 hour and 20 minute drive from Lisbon Airport.

Stay at Convento do Espinheiro on these trips

More places to stay in Alentejo

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