Beauty and bliss at Areias do Seixo

  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.

Carlos rediscovers his favourite chair next to the fireplace

Carlos rediscovers his favourite chair next to the fireplace

Details in the spa

Details in the spa

Details in the main hotel building

Details in the main hotel building

The hotel exterior and infinity pool  

The hotel exterior and infinity pool

 

  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.

Tania and Jop's work area

Tania and Jop's work area

Harvesting kale

Harvesting kale

Marrows, pumpkins, peppers, prickly pears and nasturtiums are just some of the produce on display

Marrows, pumpkins, peppers, prickly pears and nasturtiums are just some of the produce on display

Seed stores and a to-do list

Seed stores and a to-do list

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Carlos' favourite thing - the rope pump

Carlos' favourite thing - the rope pump

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Jop with one of the hens, and moving the hen house to a new site

Jop with one of the hens, and moving the hen house to a new 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.

Produce waiting to go the hotel kitchen

Produce waiting to go the hotel kitchen

Jop, Carlos and Tania

Jop, Carlos and Tania

  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.

We loved seeing Gilberto again, who always looks after us in the restaurant

We loved seeing Gilberto again, who always looks after us in the restaurant

Pork skewers with roast vegetables and potatoes

Pork skewers with roast vegetables and potatoes

Mango mousse and vanilla and chocolate cheesecake

Mango mousse and vanilla and chocolate cheesecake

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.

Marta and I with Sam, our van

Marta and I with Sam, our van

Our leaving gift of herbs and flowers from the garden - it reads "Enjoy life, following the sun"

Our leaving gift of herbs and flowers from the garden - it reads "Enjoy life, following the sun"