This is a wonderful hotel, set in the beautiful countryside of Alentejo. It is a bit remote, on the road between Estremoz and Redondo, and you need a car to get there. But it is worth it!
Firstly the price - the cheapest rooms (which we stayed in) are €65, in an annexe near the main convent building. This is incredible value for money, even by Portuguese standards (we live in Portugal). We had a large room, with onsuite bathroom in marble. For more you can have suites or rooms actually in the old covent itself - our room was still in an old building though. For the quality and historic ambience the hotel is comparable to the Pousadas here, but half the price.
The covent is a beautiful old building, and large, between 800 and 300 years old, and it has been restored very well, keeping all the original features. Inside it is like a museum, with liretally hundreds of azulejos (decorated tile paintings) covering the walls of all the old corridors on the first floor (where the "museum rooms" are), as well as the lobby and a amazing little coutyard behind the hotel. It also has some fantastic mable fountains, and the sound of running water is everywhere. It is a very tranquil place.
The restaurant is good, and not too expensive (€12-15 for a main course, wine from €10 a bottle, beer €2.50), and we are ate there several nights and lunchtimes. The main dining room is decorated with old azulejos and frescos on the ceiling, and you can also eat in the cool cloisters (with the sound of a fountain), or on a terrace with a superb view (more on that later).
Inside the convent there is also a small chapel, a larger church (with azulejos and frecos), a games room with a pool table, and a beautiful terrace with more fountains, sun loungers and great view over the convent. It is full of little corners with great views or features to see, as well as some interesting 20th century art collected by the owners.
There is a circular pool at the back, surrounded by trees and woods giving shade all day long, with plenty of sunloungers, and hammocks in the trees. This also has a marble fountain so there is the sound of water. You can go walking in the woods and cork trees above the covent behind the pool, exploring and getting good views over the convent roofs.
At the front of the hotel is an even better, south facing rectangular pool which has sun all day, on a lovely old brick and stone terrace, which also has trees for shade, and a hammock. This also has a little fountain, so there is the sound of water. This pool was the old irrigation tank of the convent, and all the terrace around it is original brick and stone work from the convent, a very special setting. The covent is in the Ossa hills (Serra d'Ossa), and the view from here over a "sea" of cork trees is truely marvellous - this was my favourite point of the hotel to chill out. Some of the irrigation pipes are still used by the hotel to water a vegetable patch, garden and fruit trees below, where you can also walk.
We booked the hotel for two nights, to have a relaxing break on our way back home after a trip around Andalucia, but it was so cool we stayed on for an extra third night, just to chill out in the tranquil pools and gardens. If you want to explore the area, it is well situtated for day trips, but quite remote, with just a small hamlet nearby (which also has a decent, friendly restaurant - O Chana).
The staff were all very friendly and helpful too. This is the best hotel I have stayed in in Europe, and one of the best I have ever stayed in, amazing value for money, and a true experience. I cannot rate it highly enough!
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Convento De Sao Paulo Portugal/Redondo