Nestled within the Vincentine Coast Natural Park lies a new haven for nature lovers
The new Praia do Canal Nature Resort spreads over 220 hectares of forest area, down through the valley and to the ocean where the waves break onto the shore of Praia do Canal beach.
The resort boasts 56 rooms and suites which cater to everyone — from lone travellers to large families, guests can enjoy luxury living with panoramic views of a national park, or the Atlantic Ocean from a spacious balcony or terrace with direct access to an outside area.
Another highlight is the dining experience at Praia do Canal. “Ingredients are hand-picked, regional delicacies from local producers,” states manager Maria Fernandes. Guests can enjoy sausages and peanuts from Rogil (Feiterinha) and Serra de Monchique, cheeses from Odemira, Serpa, and Évora, fish from the Atlantic Ocean, seafood from Ria Formosa and Ria de Alvor, black pork from Barrancos and Estremoz, and even steer from São Teotónio.
The hotel’s main restaurant, Azeitona, meaning ‘olive’ in Portuguese, offers a fine-dining experience based on the freshest, local, and organic ingredients from the land or sea. It is open every day to resort guests and to the public and is the perfect way to discover the region’s most exquisite culinary traditions and recipes.
The Plaza is located in the heart of the hotel and is where guests can unite and socialise. From afternoon teas to select cocktails named after the surrounding beaches by a traditional fireplace, Medronho Bar is the place to go.
And finally, located to the hotel’s main pool area, Zimbro restaurant exudes a more relaxed atmosphere. It makes for the perfect setting for a midday meal or casual dinner and boasts unrivalled views. The signature dishes include fresh grilled fish and shellfish from the coast, all seasoned with the iconic blend of Alentejo garlic and coriander. Grilled chicken from local farms is another standout, all accompanied by fresh seasonal vegetables, such as Aljezur’s iconic baked sweet potato.
The Esteva Spa & Health Club offers acts as the perfect refuge to relax and rejuvenate. Located in the gardens of the hotel and surrounded by the extraordinary landscape of the South-West Alentejo and Costa Vicentina Natural Park, “it is calm, yet stylish and extremely well-equipped with the top facilities”, ads Maria Fernandes.
The spa features a heated indoor and outdoor swimming pool, two massage rooms, a Hammam, a 90ºC Finnish sauna, a 70% bio sauna, an indoor and outdoor relaxation zone. “For the fearless, there is a cold plunge tank and an ice water bucket,” she says. All face and body treatments are performed with Elemi products, a renowned skin wellness brand with an “aromatherapist’s soul, an artist’s spirit, and a scientist’s commitment to results”.
“We pride ourselves on our relationship with the local community and Portuguese traditions. In fact, over 80% of the hotel staff are locals.” The resort is also carefully decorated with art pieces that are in keeping with Portuguese techniques such as their repeated use of Portuguese textiles — a rich part of Portuguese history.
The resort has an impressive selection of activities, on and off the property. Aligned with their ethos, they have links to many authentic experiences such as visits to regional wineries and distilleries, fruit harvesting, or cooking lessons with the chef.
Other, more active opportunities to explore the local area include surfing and stand-up paddle activities, dolphin and seabird watching, cave trips, and fishing trips. For those who would prefer to stay on land, there’s hiking along the many paths and the infamous Rota Vicentina, running, cycling, birdwatching, horse riding, motorbikes, or a jeep safari.
Everything from the outside of the property to the hotel itself is spacious, comfortable, authentic, and discreet. It is spectacularly isolated, offering breathtaking silence and a rare opportunity to gaze at the stars. “It is a celebration of the beautiful landscape and local people,” states Maria Fernandes.
By ALEX BRENNAN
Article originally published in Inside Lagos Magazine