Review: Convento do Espinheiro, SPG Luxury Collection in Evora, Portugal
One of the things we enjoy the most when going to a new country is finding unique hotels for us to stay at. And precisely unique is the word that comes to mind when thinking of Convento do Espinheiro in Evora, a small historic town in Portugal.
This hotel is a member of The Luxury Collection Hotels (within the SPG family of brands) and, as expected, is well within the range of luxurious. From their website:
The Luxury Collection® is a selection of hotels and resorts offering unique, authentic experiences that evoke lasting, treasured memories. For the global explorer, The Luxury Collection offers a gateway to the world’s most exciting and desirable destinations. Each hotel and resort is a distinct and cherished expression of its location; a portal to the destination’s indigenous charms and treasures. Magnificent décor, spectacular settings, impeccable service and the latest modern conveniences combine to provide a uniquely enriching experience.
And that’s a really good description of the properties within this brand. We’ve been lucky to have stayed at a few properties from The Luxury Collection, such as The Nines in Portland, ITC Mughal in Agra (a great hotel if visiting the Taj Mahal, King George in Athens, out of which only the last one seemed a perfect fit for The Luxury Collection, the first two not so much.
We were really excited about the Convento do Espinheiro stay and even more so when, after driving a few hours outside of Lisbon, we pulled into their driveway. The hotel is a renovated 15th Century convent surrounded by olive trees and attached to a still functioning church (don’t worry – just one Sunday a month). This is the kind of hotel you stay at if you’re looking to fully rest and relax – which is exactly what I like doing.
We stayed in the Don Afonso V Suite, which we booked using 10,000 of our SPG points, since this is a Category 4 hotel. The suite goes for approximately €370, which is where your Starwood points come in handy. The SPG Amex credit card signup bonus easily covers at least two nights at the hotel. Since we’re SPG Platinum Ambassador we were offered the upgrade to the suite. Here are the pictures.
Quick Twitter Walk-through of our room:
— No Mas Coach (@NoMasCoach) September 4, 2017
The Hotel Grounds
The Convento de Espinheiro is surrounded by century old olive trees, and the grounds are ample enough to go on a walk for a while and get your relax on. If that’s not enough, there are two pools. One open air, outside pool surrounded by beautiful landscape. The second one is inside the hotel and is a heated pool, near the spa.
Church and Tour of the Grounds
If you’re looking to learn some history while staying in the premises, the Convento offers free tours of the hotel and adjacent church, which goes through the history of all the monarchs who used to stay at the then-functioning convent. Rooms are named after royals and nobles who visited, and the tour takes you from altar to cloister, as well as the cellar where the monks used to store the wine bottles they treasured back in the XV century.
If you’re feeling more spiritually inclined, you can also take part of a very cool wine tasting they do every day in the evening. You will be enjoying a few of their own, both white and reds, as well as dessert wines. As a bonus, they also offer a taste of their own olive oil, of which be brought back a couple bottles. If you feel like extending your drinking time past the tasting, you should definitely pay the bar a visit, and try a sip of the espinheira (sour cherry liqueur), very typical from Portugal.
Breakfast at the Convento is pretty complete and very European. You’ll find plenty of pastries, jams, jellies, cakes, tarts, Pasteis de Nata, doughnuts, cookies, cold cuts, cheese, a wide selection of breads and fruit. You better not be ordering an Americano. Be a man, get an espresso and start your day right. You’re in Europe, after all.