Looking through my photographs I realise that they only tell half the story about the Quinta – the views and scenery. The other half is Frank, Daniela and their extended family and helpers.
The Quinta is pretty unique. It is not a hotel, nor a conventional B&B. It’s a bit like living in someone’s extended home, where you all meet up for meal times. Together with Frank’s and Daniela’s hospitably and kindness this is what really makes it. Somehow, through some form of serendipity, the mix of people and nationalities that get thrown together usually make for a very sociable time – much more so than in a standard hotel.
I can see that the Quinta isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – it is remote by most people’s standards and sharing meals with strangers (though they don’t usually remain so for long) is not for everyone. However this is what makes it. If you want tranquillity (except for the sounds of children enjoying themselves in the lake!), good company and great food away from it all this is the place to stay in Portugal. It’s very rare we actually go back to a place, but this year is our second visit. I can see us needing a season ticket. Many of the other guests are return visitors too.
Each room is individual with a large bathroom, and small sitting area outside. My wife keeps saying she needs to find out where Daniela gets the bed linen from because it is the best she has come across. The rooms are not air conditioned (this would be completely against the Quinta’s ethos) – we slept very comfortably with the door and windows open. In fact the lightweight duvet provided was just right for the night temperature most nights (this being in July). With each passing day, despite doing less and less, I found myself sleeping sounder and sounder.
As to other practicalities, the Quinta is easy to find (if you follow Frank’s directions), and the 4km track from the tarred road takes about 15 minutes. A lot of guests are happy to stay at the Quinta all day just taking it easy, and it is surprising how quickly the days go by with the occasional swim in the lake (in July the temperature is absolutely perfect), reading, chatting and taking the Quinta’s dogs for a walk (or swim). You need to let Daniela know each day whether you staying for lunch and/or dinner - lunch is served at 1pm and dinner at 8pm. If you do want to venture out for the day it is about an hour and a quarter’s fairly easy drive to Zambujeira do Mar (on the West coast, with a great beach in a cove and numerous little restaurants). On the swimming pontoon there are a couple of kayaks and pedaloes for the guests to use and also a sailing dinghy (currently a Laser 13 for anyone who wants to know) for those who can sail.
If you are looking for somewhere to eat lunch before arriving at the Quinta, there is a small local restaurant (Casa Pepe) in Santa Clara a Velha. It is in the building immediately beyond the petrol station as you drive into the village. It provides good local food at local prices. There is also a tiny supermarket nearby.
And, if you strike it really lucky while you are staying, you’ll have some of Carolina’s crepes for pudding….
- Also Known As:
- Quinta Do Barranco Da Estrada Hotel
- Quinta Do Barranco Da Estrada Hotel Santa Clara a Velha
- Quinta Do Barranco Da Estrada Santa Clara a Velha, Portugal - Alentejo
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The essence of the Quinta is a small, intimate, holiday retreat for peace and relaxation. It boasts a blend of traditional hospitality, "International home-cooking" cuisine and a friendly atmosphere with excellent, friendly service.Set in a beautiful lakeside location, the Quinta is surrounded by unspoiled countryside with a wide variety of wildlife and rare birds in its gardens and surrounding countryside. In short it's Paradise in Portugal. ... more less
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