In rugged coastal Portugal, Areias do Seixo hotel is a stylish, eco-conscious retreat with an outdoor pool and scenic terraces. A modern, concrete-and-glass creation, it offers hands-on experiences just as cutting edge: guests can learn to pickle vegetables, pluck shellfish from the sea or help tend the garden. Gather around the bonfire to savour a glass of wine and vistas of golden semi-sunburnt land and gleaming ocean.
Sustainability issues shape the hotel, rather than being a secondary consideration. An abandoned chicken farm once occupied the hotel’s perch – when Areias was built, the farm was ground down and its materials reused. The hotel uses geothermal energy and solar power, and recycles as much as possible. Guests can even add green ‘experiences’ to their stay, including a compost circuit or an agricultural lesson with local farmers.
Every night, the hotel hosts drinks where guests mingle around a fire on the terrace or on the gazebo by the pond (free wine lubricates conversations). Keep on eye on the blackboard in the lobby for other activities; the twice-weekly bonfire in the grounds with nibbles and traditional Portuguese folk music is not to be missed.
Povoa de Penafirme, 2560-046 A dos Cunhados, Portugal http://www.areiasdoseixo.com/hotel-overview.html