Back in July we spent part of our honeymoon at Areias do Seixo near Torres Vedras, on Portugal's Atlantic coast. This unique hotel combines a deep connection with its environment and nature, and a design aesthetic that is both whimsical and contemporary. We fell in love with the architecture, relaxed atmosphere and, above all, the incredible team that looked after us. Owners Marta and Goncalo opened the hotel in 2010; we'd discovered it in the pages of CN Traveller magazine. We spent a heavenly few days there cocooned in the warmth and informality that they have created with their team. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to pass by again on this trip and say hello.
During our previous stay we'd been invited for a tour of the hotel's vegetable garden, by gardeners Tania and Jop, a Portuguese/Dutch couple with a passion for permaculture. We were so impressed that we asked if we could spend some time with them this time around to learn how they produce so much wonderful organic food for the hotel's kitchens as we hope to do the same one day for ourselves. They were very generous with their time and advice and we spent a fascinating morning discovering how they've turned harsh sandy soil into a rich self-sustaining site filled with fruits, vegetables and herbs. We also gave them a hand moving their latest arrivals, 12 chickens, to a new part of the site.
Jop and Tania sent us away with a bag of seeds to keep safe until we have our own garden and we thanked them for their time and made a promise to stay in touch. We learnt so much from them both, and left feeling very inspired about the possibilities of growing our own food sustainably.
We couldn't pass up on the chance to eat in the hotel's fantastic restaurant, so we spent a long lazy lunch looked after by the wonderful Gilberto who has always made us feel so welcome.
As we left Marta made us a simple but beautiful leaving gift and came to see us off. We can't wait to come back and we hope it's soon. This is one of our favourite places on earth, a remarkable creative vision infused with the genuine warmth of some very special people.