We spent a delightful 11 days at the Quinta do Monteverde at the tail end of the 2013 summer season. Tucked away in the unassuming rural town of Castelo do Neiva, behind raised old stone walls, this Quinta is a little piece of 16th century paradise. The ample and well cared for grounds encompass the main house, a number of outbuildings, an ancient spring, orchards, a swimming pool, and a tennis court located on the edge of a small, shadowy grove of pine trees.
We stayed in one of the converted outbuildings, a small cottage with a westerly view across the luscious lawn, taking in the house and the neighbouring church, with the sea just over a kilometre away. In the main house several rooms, tastefully furnished in traditional Portuguese style, are also available. The cottages, however, of which there are four in the converted outbuilding, have the advantage of stepping out of the front door onto the terrace and into the early morning sun upon waking up. Each cottage is provided with its own table and chairs with a sunshade, which strengthens the connection of the cottage with the garden and the swimming pool is merely a few paces away. The cottage was well furnished and spacious with separate bedroom with en suite bathroom and a comfortable and cool living room with a small kitchenette. Again, tastefully furnished in Portuguese style; although the bed was a little small and, at 1.93 m, I would have preferred something a little roomier.
Breakfast was served in the recently converted building that was formerly used to press grapes to make wine. The tasteful furnishing, which features a number of local and family artefacts, was complemented by a very high standard buffet breakfast comprising local products, freshly squeezed juices and freshly baked bread and cakes. With some good strong Portuguese coffee the perfect start to the day.
There was nothing to fault regarding service. All of the staff were extremely friendly and obliging. A gardener worked continuously to keep the groups in perfect condition and the level of hygiene and standard of cleaning was very high. The owners, Fatima and José were a mine of local and historical information and tips regarding places to visit, the best beaches and where to eat were spot on.
A common room in the lower story of the main house was open to all guests and featured a pool table, a comfortable lounge and a reading/games room, all with the mellow, musky smell that goes with an old house. And of course, tastefully furnished, a recurring feature of the Quinta. A self-service bar/kitchen area is also included for that bedtime tipple: a glass of Port in our case.
If there is any drawback to this beautiful house and its grounds, it is the location. Castelo do Neiva is dominated by recently built holiday homes and the few original, stone-faced houses of the village are lost amongst this somewhat disorganised sprawl of dwellings, which occupy a fairly large area of the fertile agricultural shelf between the sea and the hills behind. Out of season, we found Castelo do Neiva a fairly lifeless place; and, although during the day, this was hardly an issue, in the evening the offering of local restaurants was limited to the cluster of 3 or four local establishments a short drive away in the Pedra Alta area, adjacent to the small fishing harbour. Of these, Quebra-Mar (Sea Breaker) was by far the best; two of the others offering somewhat indifferent food or service. Having said that, the rustic simple fare provided was very good value for money and, if you don’t mind eating fish every night, you will at least eat well. The next town northward, Amorosa also has couple of restaurants, but for a more comprehensive choice, a 7 km drive to Viana do Castelo would be required. Occasionally, Fatima and her crew will provide a five course typical Portuguese evening meal in the breakfast room. We were privileged to experience this once during our stay and a very pleasant and comfortable evening it was too. Making this a more regular feature would certainly alleviate the rather repetitive hunt for the evening meal for those who stay for a week or more.
During the day, there is a small but adequate local beach in the Pedra Alta area and a walk through the small holdings - a scruffy collection of cornfields and melon patches - down to the sea and the peaceful, meandering river estuary is pleasant enough. A short drive northwards leads to larger beaches and extensive, partially forested, sand dunes. Day trips to local sights such as Viana do Castelo, Braga, Guimaraes and up the rivers Lima and Minho and easily enough made and, with Porto half an hour away down the motorway, the Quinta Is a good base for visiting and exploring this North Western corner of Portugal, which certainly contains enough to keep you busy for a couple of weeks. The river Douro and locations such a Bragança further east and south are more of an effort to reach and relocating to visit these is probably a better option.
All in all, I would highly recommend the Quinta. Certainly for a short stay of a few days for those touring Portugal and, providing you are prepared to compromise regarding nightlife – and especially if you appreciate low key local living – you will certainly enjoy a nice relaxing time. And, should we return, I’m sure they will have found a way to – tastefully – make the beds larger!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This manor house was built in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Cunha Lobo Barbosa and Sottomayor family just 1 km from the sea. In 1820, the Genoese Judge Luigi Vital Monteverdi married the owner of the estate and the house became to be known as Quinta do Monteverde. The manor house was completely renovated but the interior retains the touch of the seventeen hundreds. Quinta de Monteverde is a walled estate between the hills and the sea and close to the river mouth. In Castelo do Neiva, the sandy beach rolls on and on; sand dunes and unspoilt stretches lend a wonderful sense of isolation to the surroundings. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, TripOnline SA, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets, Priceline, Hotwire and Cancelon so you can book your Quinta do Monteverde reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.