Sometimes, when we are looking for inspiration for our next fragrance, we need to go to a place where we can switch off all the trappings of the modern world and be at one with nature. These idylls are getting harder and harder to find, but tucked away on Portugal’s rugged Atlantic coast in Santa Cruz, where the sound of the wind in the dune grass is interrupted only by birdsong and cicadas in the pine trees, Areias Do Seixo effuses calm.
Designed by Marta Fonseca and Gonçalo Alves to offer uniquely styled accommodation with an environmental consciousness, this intimate eco retreat offers space for unwinding in natural tranquillity. With an inspiring focus on sustainability, the hotel has just fourteen enchanting guestrooms, all of which use geothermal and solar energy. The sublime clifftop setting gives all of the rooms their ocean views, except the Land Room, which is set in its own private garden.
Through thoughtful design in all areas of this creative bolthole, Areias Do Seixo achieves a welcoming atmosphere that stirs emotions and lifts the spirit. Whether it’s through the incorporation of the natural environment in their sumptuous bedrooms or strategically placed aromatic plants in their edible garden, their intelligent layouts are completely captivating.
From your welcome drink of home-grown lemongrass tea to the moment you walk into your room, you step closer to nature. With individual decoration, rooms are designed around the senses, transporting you to far-away places through their repurposed features, organic textures and fresh scents so that you can fully switch off. With influences from Portugal, Cape Verde, Morocco and beyond, interiors feature polished cement floors, light white linens, cosy fires and natural walls. Perfectly positioned lighting and sophisticated bathing areas fuse with rustic wooden terraces and ethnic textiles for a wholly unmatched experience.
Outside, the serene grounds are bathed with marine light. A wilderness of sand dunes separates the hotel from the ocean and a pine forest is the backdrop to the hotel’s food garden. It’s here that you’ll see nature hard at work, producing a variety of vegetables and fruits and filling the air with an array of fragrances from Phoenician juniper to sea lavender. Embraced by the Atlantic and refreshed with scented herbs, this diverse and self-sustaining garden has something to offer all year round and supplies the restaurant’s kitchen with a bounty of tastes and colours. From sweet strawberries to nutty courgettes, this fertile garden is bursting with amazing produce and you’re welcome to help pick it if the mood takes you. However, the lake-side deck makes a very attractive retreat and is particularly enjoyable with a glass of fine wine as the sun sets…
It’s that emphasis on relaxation combined with an appreciation of natural resources that makes Areias do Seixo so special to us. It is a truly magical place where you can reconnect with the nature world, which allows us to do what we does best – dream up heady new concoctions using the finest handpicked flowers, the freshest fruits and the most exotic spices the world has to offer.