Convento do Espinheiro
Fascinating for its history, authentic for its charm and only one hour away from Lisbon, the Hotel Convento do Espinheiro, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa has given life to a 15th century convent, considered a national monument, where important nobles have outlined the history of Portugal. Convento do Espinheiro is tucked away in the scenic Portuguese countryside, in a centuries-old convent, where history, art and a dedicated staff open their doors and arms to visitors which is the ideal introduction to Portugal’s Alentejo region. Set on 23 acres of stress-meltingly beautiful countryside at the edge of Évora, the region’s tiny, frozen-in-time capital city, the hotel is like a synthesis of everything that makes Alentejo so irresistible, a bucolic setting, incredible food, layer upon layer of history and a contagious local mellowness that seems to just saturate everything. It’s all been given new life as a result of the region’s rediscovery by the world’s most tuned-in travelers, and so you find Convento do Espinheiro, a gorgeous old convent from Portugal’s 15th-century golden age, looking as fresh as ever after the three-year renovation that turned it into a hotel. The Convento do Espinheiro Hotel & Spa is located in the building of a fifteenth-century convent and this building has been beautifully restored to a level fitting of this UNESCO World Heritage destination, it is considered a national monument and offers guests the perfect base from which to explore the city.
Over the last ten years the Alentejo has welcomed a series of smart hotel openings that have been attracting luxury travelers and health tourism. The Palacio do Convento do Espinheiro Hotel and Spa has been leading the way since 2005, when it opened its doors to the renovated grounds of a historical monastery near the city of Evora. It manages to perfect a hard balancing act, marrying relaxation and the cultural break, an ideal destination for anyone looking to recharge without needing a full-immersion retreat, the curious explorer’s energy booster. The hotel has taken full advantage of its heritage, with a careful renovation that preserved architectural details, artifacts and the extensive gardens in a smart adaption, reinventing tradition to cater to the comfort of guests.
The Convento do Espinheiro Hotel & Spa offers a total of 92 rooms with 6 different categories of room, including 6 large suites, decorated in a variety of styles to suit your preference. The standard Heritage rooms, as well as the Deluxe Suites and the Royal Suite are in the original 15th century convent, and feature classic styling and period detailing. The contemporary Design and Grand Deluxe guest rooms are in the striking new wings. All offer comfort and luxury as a matter of course, combined with eclectic styles dating anywhere from the fifteenth-century origins of the convent itself through to the quirky styles of 1950s’ interior décor. Each visitor to this 98-room hotel is treated like a family guest. Elegant linens, fine furnishings and world-class service are characteristic of each guest room and suite at Convento do Espinheiro. If you really want to push the boat out, opt for a Deluxe suite with fine Bulgari touches or the Royal Suite, named after King John II of Portugal and occupying an impressive 110 square metres with sweeping views from the private terrace right out over the city of Évora.
It houses one amazing restaurant, the Divinus Restaurant, which is located the convent’s ancient wine-cellar converted into the Wine-Bar. It is an exclusive location, entirely dedicated to wine-tasting and the enjoyment of the excellent Alentejo regional produce. The Pulpitus Bar is situated in the ancient kitchen where the monks prepared the food for large banquets and it serves refreshments, cocktails and snacks. The hotel has a wine bar located in what was a gothic water deposit during the 15th Century. The wine bar has many exquisite wines on offer and provides wine tasting.
The hotel also has two pools, one indoor and one outdor and in this latter there’s a delicious bar that provides great summer heat relaxation. As facilities it also offers tennis and paddle courts with complimentary equipment and bike tours throughout the grounds and local area. The Spa has many relaxing or enervating treatments available that have been derived from different ancient cultures, brought to you in a meditative, beautiful and peaceful environment. The Convento do Espinheiro Hotel & Spa occupies one of the largest leisure spaces of any hotel in this area of Portugal. There is a children’s playground and mini club to entertain the little ones throughout the day and a gymnasium combines to Spa is perfect for the health-conscious.
A straightforward drive from Lisbon took just over an hour, the Convento is situated in a wide expanse of fields about ten minutes from the UNESCO World Heritage town centre of Evora, in the southern inland area of Alentejo. The location feels deceivingly secluded, the approach in itself speaking to the history of religious contemplation. White-washed walls and a prominent 15th century church are visible from the driveway adding to the feeling of a retreat, yet one only has to enter through to the first courtyard to realise that this property is much less about contemplation than it is about some serious pampering. Portugal is a lively country, offering rich culture and beautiful countryside to travelers. It is known for its wines, and more recently, for its excellent world-class golf courses. Évora has been named as a UNESCO as a World Heritage City and can be reached by car within 90 minutes from the Lisbon International Airport.
Deluxe Garden View
A true taste of the Portuguese heritage, the 36 deluxe guest rooms at the Convento do Espinheiro, Évora offer an exquisite combination of luxury design and comfort that is expected from a Luxury Collection Resort. Deluxe rooms are available in a selection of two distinct views, Deluxe Garden guest rooms offer a private balcony with breathtaking views of the resorts garden and court areas, Deluxe pool view overlooking the splendid pool and garden areas as well as the local landscape.
Heritage – Deluxe Convent
Breathe the renowned essence of the local history that dates back to the 15th century. Located in the ancient Convent, the Heritage guest rooms are perfectly blended together with traditional décor and a selection of modern technology and offer guests that additional benefit of spacious living.
Inspired by the 1950’s, the Design guest rooms welcome guests with a balanced combination of modern decor and 15th century heritage in a spacious living area. Design guest rooms are all located in the new wing of the hotel; with a modern design to reflect the glamour and luxury of the 1950’s and showcase stunning views of the resort’s vast landscape.
Grand Deluxe Room
Embrace the lifestyle of extraordinary luxury in the Grand Deluxe guest rooms. Guest rooms are available in two varieties of décor, from the traditional Heritage design, maintaining luxurious historical feel in conjunction with its surroundings to the more modern glamour design, reflecting the era of the 1950’s and views of the Garcia de Resende Chapel.
Located in the 15th Century convent of the resort and once reserved for Portuguese Kings when travelling to Évora, the Deluxe Suites are the extreme of superior luxury. Historically regarded as royal accommodation, the Deluxe Suites provide guests an ample lounge area and a selection of the finest Bulgari bathroom amenities, exclusively available in all suites. All are equipped with air-conditioning, international direct dialling, LCD plasma TV, in-room movies, DVD player, CD player/radio, in-room safe, mini bar, slippers, bathrobes, hair-dryer and Bulgari bathroom amenities.
This suite invites the Guests to endeavour on a historical journey and embrace the true luxury which was once reserved for the Portuguese Royal Family. Named after King John II of Portugal, the 110m2 Royal Suite was reserved to accommodate the King of Kings and offers a truly unique experience. Royal suite consists of the main bedroom with private bathroom, ample living area with guest bathroom and access to one of the most breathtaking views of the local city of Évora from a private terrace.
The Diana Spa owes its name to Évora’s “Roman Temple of Diana”. It is a perfect retreat with a luxurious atmosphere, where modern therapies and history meet. The quality of the treatments, the magnificent view from the Relaxation Room and the interior swimming-pool, all designed to offer tranquillity and the rejuvenation of mind, body and soul. Their treatments have been created by E’SPA, permitting us to offer a total and luxurious therapeutical experience. E’SPA is the fusion of various elements: natural ingredients of excellent quality, known for their pureness and integrity, facial treatments which combine the best modern and ancestral therapeutical techniques and holistic treatments which produced unequalled results.
The outdoor pool embraces the breathtaking scenery of the Alentejo landscape while enjoying a selection of cocktails. Located by the hotel main building, guests may benefit from the outdoor pool facilities including children’s pool, pool area specific for babies as well as complimentary sun beds. The outdoor pool is supported by the Aqua Lounge Pool Bar, offering a variety of refreshments and snacks. Enjoy the 17 mt indoor swimming pool with massage showers or simply relax in the Jacuzzi while admiring the extraordinary views of the hotel gardens.
Gym & Tennis Courts
The hotel gymnasium is equipped with the latest technology of the Technogym brand so that it is easy to maintain in shape during the stay with a selection of fitness machines, cardio and free weights. The Health Centre also features a Turkish bath and Sauna. Tennis and paddle rackets are available at reception for guests of all categories; From tennis entuasiasts to beginners, benefit from a full size synthetic grass tennis and padle court located on the hotels grounds.
Children Playground and Mini Club
A wonderland for the little ones. Guests may enjoy the vast complimentary outdoor playground facilities with an array of fun for all ages as well as an indoor mini club with a selection of board games and toys.
Meetings and Events
Convento do Espinheiro offers a unique setting to hold special meetings and events. The Convento do Espinheiro is the ideal place to host your next meeting or special event as it features various types of facilities; the variety of rooms it features, either modern or classic, are complemented by beautiful gardens with 600 years of history, permitting you to choose the scenery which best fits your event.
Since the 15th century, kings, queens, princes and princesses have chosen Convento do Espinheiro as their favourite spiritual retreat, the perfect setting for moments of peace. In 1481, King John II chose Convento do Espinheiro to hold court and since then, this unique convent has been the perfect stage for aristocratic meetings. Numerous legends and miracles are linked to the convent; every corner of this extraordinary building and its beautiful surrounding gardens tells a story, such as the 1098 year old olive tree, which, despite its old age, still produces olives from which they extract an exceptional extra-virgin olive-oil. They believe that a Wedding Day is a mark in one’s life and that the choice of the setting for this unique moment is determinant to make it last forever in the memories. Their 15th century church for the ceremony, the Manuelin style cloisters, ideal for the cocktail and the D. Vasco banqueting room, which can hold up to 300 guests, are the perfect settings for your day.
“Luxury Wedding Destination Hotel 2016” – awarded by World Luxury Hotel Awards
“2nd best hotel & resort in the Iberian Peninsula 2016” – awarded by Travel + Leisure Magazine
“Portugal Leading Spa Resort 2016” – awarded by World Travel Awards
“One of the 500 Best Hotels in the World 2010” – awarded by Travel + Leisure Magazine
“3rd place at 25 Top Europe Resorts 2009” – awarded by Condé Nast Traveller
“Portugal Leading Spa Resort 2009-2008-2007-2006” – awarded by World Travel Awards
“One of the Best 60 New Hotels in the World 2006” – awarded by Condé Nast Traveller – Hot List
The history of Convento do Espinheiro:
The origins of the Convento do Espinheiro are connected to a legend that tells of an apparition of the Virgin Mary above a thorn-bush (= espinheiro) around the year 1400. In 1412, an oratory was built in honour of Our Lady and finally in 1458, during the reign of King Afonso V, and due to increasing pilgrimage, a church and convent were built and settled by monks of the Order of St. Jerónimo, who stayed here until 1835. During the 15th and 16th century, this convent was frequently visited by the Portuguese monarchs such as King John II (who held court here in 1481), King Manuel I, King Afonso V and King Sebastião, who, when in Évora, stayed at the convent, invited by the monks. In 1999, the firm SPPTH, Ltd, owned by the Camacho family, bought the Convento do Espinheiro, with the intention of creating the first 5-star hotel in a region with enormous touristic potential.
On June 3rd, 2005, after 2 years of reconstruction, the Convento do Espinheiro, Heritage Hotel & Spa, one of the only two Luxury Collection hotels in Portugal, was inaugurated in all its splendour. Just 0,8 miles away from the city of Évora, the hotel is surrounded by 8 hectares of beautiful gardens and its interior has been luxuriously decorated, maintaining the character of old times.
In September 2008, 33 new rooms were inaugurated, thus totalizing 92 rooms. Perfectly combining the old and the new, the hotel offers a Gastronomic Restaurant located in the former wine-cellar and a Piano Bar in what used to be the old kitchen used by the monks. An area for wine tasting and the savouring of regional dishes has been created in the old gothic water deposit and numerous meeting and event facilities are perfect for the celebration of different types of business meetings or celebrations.
The church, with its valuable golden engravings and ancient hand painted Portuguese tiles has been carefully restored. Here, mass is celebrated once a month and weddings and christenings may be held. Immersed in history, the Convento do Espinheiro offers a peaceful and inspiring atmosphere, ideal for a relaxed stay.
When to go:
The weather in Évora contributes enormously to the popularity of this UNESCO World Heritage city. Évora is located in the Alentejo region of Portugal, in the southern central zone of the country and enjoys one of the best climates in the country. Évora weather is dry and very warm through the summer months, especially during July and August, however the summer season is lovely and long as a result usually stretching from early May to the end of September. There is very little rainfall during this period; however the nights are usually still cool enough to ensure a good night’s sleep. Spring and autumn are popular times to visit Portugal and Evora is no exception. The weather in Évora remains mostly dry during the early and late season months, and if you enjoy taking part in adventure sports or doing a lot of sightseeing on foot, the slightly cooler air makes this an excellent proposition. Most of Évora’s rainfall comes during the winter months. This is when the city is at its quietest and therefore ideal if you are looking to avoid the high season crowds. July and mostly August are the months with the warmest temperature, making your holiday an extremely hot one at this time of year. Despite the heat, you will find yourself enjoying long summer days by taking a quiet walk, or as you dine a traditional meal of tomato soup and lamb stew as late afternoon approaches. Luckily for many travellers who are big fans of sunny weather, Évora maintains quite a warm climate from May to September. You will probably find more tourists visiting the city between the months of June and September, in comparison to the spring and winter seasons. During the fall the city becomes very intimate and especially involving because of its captivating setting. In the winter you will find Évora to be cold and rainy. A lesser amount of tourists are seen, and the streets are more deserted. However, this ambience will give you a different look upon the town, and is great for those whom prefer to blend in with the locals and see the city through different eyes.
Located in the old wine-cellar, this is a gourmet restaurant with a smart and elegant atmosphere. It proposes an exquisite culinary journey embracing the traditional flavours of the local gastronomy blended elegantly together with Mediterranean cuisine. Located in an ancient wine cellar, the Divinus restaurant is the resort’s main gourmet restaurant and offers guests a true dining experience in a graceful atmosphere filled with its rich heritage.
This historically courtyard populated by the moors in 15th century as an area of meditation, in where by natural sunlight was a key factor. Open during summer months, the Claustrus restaurant offers a selection of cuisine from Mediterranean dishes to light snacks. Open also for breakfast and “à la carte” lunches.
Once known as the ancient kitchen, where monks prepared large banquets event for the Royal families and seasonal celebrations, the Pulpitus Bar provides an intimate atmosphere to enjoy an array of refreshments, cocktails and snacks while accompanied by a local pianist.
Cisterna Wine Bar
Formally a gothic water deposit during the 15th Century, the Cisterna Wine Bar has now become a must for any wine lover. Experience the exquisite collection of fine wines produced in this renowned region with expert sommelier. Discover how local wineries produce and select the richest of grapes for their produce. Private wine tasting available and must be pre booked at reception.
Aqua Lounge Pool Bar
With the arrival of the spring season in the Alentejo, guests may benefit form the warm climate and breathtaking Alentejo scenery at the Aqua Lounge Pool Bar while enjoying a variety of tapas, salads or a refreshing cocktail in a modern setting.
The Alentejo is an extensive region covering almost a third of Portugal. The boundary to the north is the River Tagus (Tejo) and to the south the hills of the Algarve. In the east, it shares a frontier with Spain and in the west it opens on to the Atlantic Ocean. Essentially rural and sparsely populated, it offers a landscape that is uncommonly well conserved. Its scenic beauty and the abundance and quality of the heritage found in its archaeology, its monuments, its architecture and its gastronomy make it an exceptional place for the kind if discovery provided by nature and cultural tourism. The character of the Alentejo requires you to leave the highways and favour secondary roads which offer the best means of enjoying a landscape made up of cork oak woodland, wheat fields, vineyards and olive grooves and to make contact with a people that are friendly and hospitable by nature.
Discover Évora – Dominating the Alentejo plain lies Évora, city of an outstanding beauty, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO since 1986. It is a treasure with much to offer, not only historically and culturally, there are about 300 monuments and churches to visit, but also in terms of gastronomy. Here, one may discover the genuine flavours of the Alentejo given the enormous variety of restaurants, located in a city embraced by fortress walls, lined by medieval streets and squares and filled with historic memories.
Wine Tour – In the regione of Alentejo there are many wineries that offer wine tastings and regional products of extremely high quality. The fabulous Cartuxa winery presents an outstanding wine offer. Wines such as the Pera Manca, Cartuxa or EA. The historic Herdade do Esporão with its wines integrated in the World Wine Route and was the first to be certified in Portugal. Let yourself be carried away by flavours and aromas of wines and oils of quality.
Tandem Jump – The Tandem jump or the Parachute Jump is the adventure experience most popular in Portugal, and the easiest way to do a parachute jump. The Tandem Jump is a unique and fantastic experience, full of unforgettable moments. The Skydive Portugal is in the Municipal Aerodrome of the historical city of Evora, it is the largest school of parachuting in Portugal, and the only one operating in Évora, forming hundreds of students and performing thousands of tandem jumps a year.
Canoeing – In a canoe, explore the calm waters of the river Degebe or paddle across the beautiful Divor Lake. A delight for the senses accompanied by the natural orchestra of the riverside birds. After a deserved local snack, enjoy the walk along the riverbank where rabbits, hares and partridges live amongst cows and sheep. Hours of total relaxation, ideal for those in search of peace and tranquillity.
Bike and Hike – Walk along the fantastic Silver Water Aqueduct, a 16th century engineering work of art, will reach a beautiful traditional Alentejo country house. Along the way the small farms and aromatic herbs that grow by the aqueduct will keep you company. At the farmhouse it’s time to stop for a drink and pick up the bikes. The return to Évora is made through an easy ecotrail, a traffic free green lane. Getting into town you will discover the Évora’s unique historical centre and follow the aqueduct inside the city walls, through the narrow and white streets.
Nestling with dignified repose in the heart of Portugal‘s sun-baked Alentejo province, Évora is one of the country’s oldest and most enchanting cities. Rising to prominence under the Romans, the town was also occupied for some 500 years by the Moors. Medieval Évora thrived as a center of learning and the arts, and was patronized by a succession of Portuguese kings. Its numerous churches and monasteries stand as testament to a devout and pious legacy.
Even if you can discover more about Évora thanks to our other article about it, we hereby to propose 4 day trips from Évora to discover the amazing area which is located around this historical city of Portugal. Considering as ideal introduction to Portugal’s Alentejo region the Hotel Convento do Espinheiro which has given new life to a 15th century convent, considered a national monument, where important nobles throughout history helped shape Portugal‘s destiny, here are our trips to do in your next vacation there.
Cromeleque dos Almendres
About 15 kilometers west of Évora is the isolated megalithic Cromlech of Almendres (picture above), a mysterious oval made up of 95 lichen-encrusted granite stones that date back to between 4000 and 2000 BC. This mysterious piece of Neolithic real estate is believed to have been a temple dedicated to a solar cult. Indeed, some archaeologists maintain that the circle functioned as some kind of primitive astronomical observatory. As if to strengthen the enigma surrounding their purpose, a solitary two-and-a-half-meter-high stone, known as the Menhir of Almendres, is positioned one and a half kilometers away from the cromlech. The two sites are linked by a marked pedestrian trail that snakes through an olive grove, and while kids will appreciate the hide-and-seek opportunities provided by the stones, mature minds will no doubt be moved by this ancient and sacred destination. […]
Evora is one of the few UNESCO medieval cities in Portugal. Historically, Evora has fell under Roman domination which has rewarded us with the Roman temple of Diana. In 1165 the Moors took over the city; La Mouraria and the now improved fortified walls were left behind. The kings of Portugal made this city famous and its beauty and friendly vibe speaks for itself. Nowadays this pretty historic Portuguese city is particularly festive in the run-up to Christmas, with roasted chestnuts, special cakes and Nativity scenes dotted around the streets.
Evora, in the Alentejo region of Portugal, comes into its own at this time of year, basking under ravishingly blue skies and brilliant sunshine. Within its old medieval walls, crisp cool air, enticing colours and flavours fill the historic centre, the chestnuts are roasted in the cobbled squares, while the leafy trees have turned a warm orange and excellent, unpretentious restaurants offer hearty dishes of local game, such as hare or wild boar, paired with rich regional red wines. During the Christmas Festivities, Evora is particularly lively with bakeries displaying their bejewelled bolo de rei cakes and brightly painted, life-sized Alentejano presépio (Alentejo Nativity scenes) dotted around the city.
Where to stay
The gloriously restored 15th-century Convento do Espinheiro Hotel & Spa rises in white‑washed splendour on a hill just north of the main city walls. the Hotel Convento do Espinheiro, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa has given life to a 15th century convent, considered a national monument, where important nobles have outlined the history of Portugal. The Convento do Espinheiro Hotel & Spa offers a total of 92 rooms with 6 different categories of room, including 6 large suites, decorated in a variety of styles to suit your preference. It houses one amazing restaurant, the Divinus Restaurant, which is located the convent’s ancient wine-cellar converted into the Wine-Bar. It is an exclusive location, entirely dedicated to wine-tasting and the enjoyment of the excellent Alentejo regional produce. The hotel also has two pools, one indoor and one outdor and in this latter there’s a delicious bar that provides great summer heat relaxation. […]