A Sublime Getaway in Portugal

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Rice barns may seem like an unlikely source of design inspiration for a beach getaway, but not at the Sublime Comporta boutique hotel. The Comporta area is located about an hour south of Lisbon in the Alentejo region, where the land is crisscrossed with canals and a patchwork of rice paddies, sandwiched between the forest and the dunes bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

This area has quietly drawn a stylish crowd from Portugal and across Europe – Christian Louboutin and Philippe Starck have homes here, and everyone from Madonna to the royal family of Monaco have vacationed in Comporta. The big appeal is the unspoiled beaches and low key atmosphere coupled with fresh seafood (and cocktails). Most people rent a villa but if you’d rather stay in a hotel, there’s only one option- the aptly named Sublime.

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The boutique hotel sits on 17 hectares of land dotted with olive and cork trees, and was once the vacation retreat of a Portuguese family. It opened as a hotel in 2014 and has 34 rooms located in A-frame structures that reference the simple architecture of a rice barn. Designers José Alberto Charrua and Miguel Câncio Martins (of Buddha Bar and Man Ray fame) have created a low key but stylish retreat. The guest rooms are white washed and simple, with slipcovered bed frames and understated décor using natural materials, such as weathered wood. The sprawling bathrooms feature soaking tubs and powerful rain showers.

The villas range in size from one to five bedrooms, some with private plunge pools, so it’s ideal for couples or a family retreat. On a recent visit the hotel was also popular for multi-generational getaways and the Sublime’s low key vibe makes it welcoming for families without being overrun with children. There’s an adults only pool area but families will appreciate the kid pool as well as a Kids Club in the main building.

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The Sublime also places a big emphasis on wellness which is evident in everything from the menu to the activities offered. Start your day at the poolside yoga pavilion, where classes range from full circuit body training to hatha yoga. The spa area offers indoor and outdoor treatment rooms, and all products used are organic.

There are multiple dining options at the Sublime. Fuel your body at the healthy breakfast buffet, featuring freshly squeezed juices and platters of fruit garnished with edible flowers. Everything from smoked fish to pancakes is also available. The Sem Porta restaurant features plenty of seafood if you’re looking to keep it light. Start off with the pickled horse mackerel before tucking into squid stuffed with shrimp and coriander. Be sure to enjoy plenty of housemade bread dipped into the local Azeite olive oil.

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For a special evening, book a seat at the Food Circle, the Sublime Comporta’s outdoor restaurant located among an organic garden. Only 12 seats are available for the multi-course tasting menu where food is freshly picked and grilled on an open fire.

Exploring the area is also a must. The hotel is located inland so rent a car and drive about 10 minutes away to the beach town of Carvalhal – stop for a simple lunch of grilled sardines or mackerel at the beachfront restaurant O Denis, along with a bottle of local wine. Finish it off with an espresso before hitting the beach to get into the Comporta vibe of relaxing and unplugging.

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