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The best hotels in Portugal 2024

Written by Travel Adventures

Many people who come here are drawn by the Almendres Cromlech, Portugal’s most important Megalithic site, which dates from 6,000BC to 4,000BC and is minutes away. Those who return, however, do so for Imani itself, its perfectly round swimming pool, 13 hectares of garden and parkland where the two donkeys, Almendra and Eça, graze and Cat, the cat, roams through the fragrant lavender that lines the cobbled paths. The long drive is flanked by cypress trees leading up to a row of what were once stables and are now six bedrooms with one more up a flight of stairs. It’s all very smart. Basins are made from local marble or shiny columns of porcelain; lotions and potions are Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte; keys to the rooms are attached to old cowbells: the look is a striking mix of vintage and modern, reflecting the taste of the owners, Lisbonites José Pedro Vasconcelos and Mariana Roxo (she’s a producer, he’s an actor and well-known Portuguese TV show host). Graphic-printed rugs, cowhide stools and vividly painted pieces of furniture add punch to the white-walled backdrop and a touch of urban chic next to the wood-burning stoves and rural surroundings. Down the path past the owners’ house is the restaurant.

In summer, caprese salads and tuna burgers are served on the black-and-white chequerboard terrace; but in the winter months, the dining room, with its roaring fire, piano, pool table and collection of curiosities, is an ideal retro den. Tuck into pasta con gamberetti and a bottle of Imani’s own wine, Improviso, created by acclaimed local oenologist Paulo Laureano. Mary Lussiana


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