Arrival/Check-in: I drove from Lisbon to Evora in an hour and a half, circumventing part of the walled city to head to the Convento do Espinheiro Hotel and Spa. As we arrived, staff members Paul and Nuno were on hand to greet us, take our luggage and park our car. It was like arriving at a private residence and being treated to a special trip with friends. For the rest of the trip the car was not needed, as hotel staff drove us to various points.
Check-in was swift and pleasant, and we were shown our two rooms, Nos. 210 and 207, which make up the Garcia des Resende Suite. The hotel was formerly a monastery (convento), so it has appealing, interesting architectural aspects. Monks’ “cells” have been combined to create rooms and suites. The property covers many acres and includes a beautiful 15th-century chapel, which was painstakingly renovated. (29/30)
Guest Quarters: We had a beautiful suite, with a large hallway and a round table upon entrance. Off the hall was a half-bath to the left and a sitting area to the right, where we could comfortably relax, read or watch TV. Off this room was a spectacular patio overlooking the property. The patio measured 35 by 16 feet with a stone table and bench, where I worked at my laptop. The final room was the master bedroom, behind the main room and down a small hallway. The room had great views and contained a king-sized bed, a chest of drawers, night tables and a small, comfortable chair. The master bath included a shower and separate tub, a nice touch, and was quite large. A heated toilet and seat, with electronic controls, completed the package. Bulgari products, including a shaving kit and other accoutrements, were available and smartly displayed. (29/30)
Services/Amenities: We had several meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, in Divinus Restaurant, an ancient wine cellar. The chef embraces regional cuisine by utilizing local ingredients. There is a fine selection of wines; we enjoyed Portuguese Rosé with many meals. The Diana Spa is a wonderful place to unwind. I had a magnificent massage on my last day, making me want to extend my stay. My daughter enjoyed a facial and manicure. The wine bar is in the original 15th-century Gothic water reservoir, converted like many of the rooms on the property. There are beautiful gardens and a lovely pool, but the weather was unseasonably cool when we were there, so guests were using the indoor pool. Close proximity to the walled city of Evora, a UNESCO site, is a plus; and several wineries are nearby, including Carthusian, named for the area monks. (39/40)
The Experience: This is one place I wish I had more time to enjoy. I had a wonderful tour with the general manager, Dinis Pires, who is well versed in the property’s history. I found the chapel tour most interesting.
Total Score: 97/100
Convento do Espenheiro
Canvaviais, Apartado 594
7002-502 Evora, Portugal
tel 351 266 788 200
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