The lowdown: Bringing ‘the outside in’ is the philosophy of the Hotel Oitavos. From the minute you enter the stunning 80ft long lobby it is clear they practise what they preach. In its short life (doors opened on September 1st this year), the Oitavos has started as it means to go on – a location that has seemingly evolved from the dramatic landscape of the west coast of Portugal and offering all that is best in organic lifestyle and cuisine.
The vibe: The eye is immediately drawn through the floor to ceiling sheer glass to the natural surroundings of the stunning Quinta da Marinha estate; 168 hectares of land perching on the beautiful Estoril coast. Past the sand dunes and the pine trees, rugged coastline brings to mind the wildness of Cornwall. (And like Cornwall, this part of the coast is a major surfing destination - we even spotted world champion surfer Kelly Slater having lunch at the hotel). Yet inside, the Mediterranean sun streams in over the wide-open space and low level, stone coloured furnishings, evoking a laid back Californian feel. A soft, sea blue colour is the hotel’s signature and it seeps into every corner; from the blue that washes the foyer floor to the blue details in the bar and soft furnishings, right down to the colour of the ovens in the kitchens. With the Portuguese blue sky and ocean, the colours of the interiors seemingly melt into the colours outside. All furniture is on wheels and moveable canvas screens divide the restaurant/lobby/ bar area giving the impression that with time the hotel will change and evolve as organically as it’s surroundings.
A room with a view: Each room is a mini version of the hotel lobby; open plan and with the same stone grey and blue colour scheme overlooking the sea. Blissfully, the relaxed and understated aesthetic, not to mention the practical design features (iPod dock, universal wall plug, Wifi), made me feel more ‘at home’ in a trendy studio apartment than a ‘guest’ in a hotel. And despite the casual comfort, you won’t forget that 5-star luxury is the order of the day, epitomised by the deep blue (what else?) bath that sits snuggly in the window, looking over the ocean. (Not to mention fluffy white robes, a king size bed and a spacious private terrace).
Spa-tacular: Feeling a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city I’d only just left behind, I couldn’t be more relaxed. Or so I thought. And then I visited the spa. I opted for the Revitalising treatment. Lying on a bed with water underneath and lit to the colour of your choice, every minute a wave ripples underneath your body whilst a fully body massage takes place. The spa uses Voya products; organic hand-picked seaweed from Ireland. It was divine. The scent was addictive and my skin felt soft and tingly with goodness.
Fine dining: When not relaxing in the tub or being pampered in the spa, guests have the choice of heated indoor and outdoor pools or a world-class golf course. A trip to the Club House for lunch is a must. Breton-stripped clad staff serve crisp white wine surrounded by reclaimed wood and chic blue and white décor - all very Hamptons. For dinner the hotel’s French chef Aimé Barroyer, one of the most renowned chefs in the country, serves sea-salt fresh, beautifully presented fish flavoured with the tastes of his very own herb garden growing outside the kitchen.
How to get there: Flights with BA from London Heathrow to Lisbon, www.britishairways.com (Hotel a 30 minute drive from airport) To make a reservation go to www.theoitavos.com. Rooms start at 200 Euros.
By Marisa Bate