Luxurious Tranquility at Torre de Palma Wine Hotel and Spa
The Ancient Romans, great proponents of personal hygiene, were known for their elaborate bathing rituals. They instituted the practice of ablution in the many corners of their vast empire, building elaborate bath houses and aqueducts. The public bath houses were called thermae, and, a bit like spas or hot tubs in our day, they were communal spaces where bathers socialized, gossipped and even debated. The bath houses were powered by aqueducts, products of genial engineering that ensured water could be transported over great distances.
While the majority of Roman inhabitants across the Empire took to the public thermae, wealthy families could sometimes afford to build such bathing complexes in their mansions. We can only imagine that the Ancient Roman Basilii family in Alentejo, whose villa’s ruins in Torre de Palma are only a stone’s throw away from what is now a luxury wine hotel inspired by the region’s ancient traditions, might have had a private bathing complex in their aristocratic home.
Address: 7450-250 Monforte, Portugal
Torre de Palma Wine Hotel was opened in 2014 by a couple of pharmacists who saw the potential of turning the property into an elegant resort. With agricultural activity focused on wine and olive oil production, Torre de Palma Wine Hotel nods to the pleasures of a Roman-style life. Naturally, good food, olive oil and house wine are primordial. Add to that rejuvenating bliss at the hotel spa. There are options, too: do you prefer to start your day in the outdoor pool, refreshed after a couple of laps? Or would you rather prefer to spend your afternoon floating at your leisure in the indoor pool, adjacent to the spa, followed by a delightful massage? If this decision proves too difficult, don’t overthink it and take advantage of both.
As in most places graced by sunshine, abundant soil and kind weather, simplicity truly heeds the best results. Imagine an unfussy continental breakfast with fresh fruits and pastries upon waking, and a satisfying lunch or dinner of regional flavours at the hotel’s restaurant called Basilii. Catch impressive views of the surrounding countryside from the top of the hotel tower and take walks around the olive grove, tracing your salad dressing (just a drizzle of extra-virgin is enough!) to the tree from which it was extracted. You can even make friends with the beautiful locally-bred Lusitano horses who reside at the hotel’s equestrian centre.
"We can only imagine that the Ancient Roman Basilii family in Alentejo, [...] might have had a private bathing complex in their aristocratic home."
The remains of the ancient estate date back to 1338 and were restored by the reputed architect João Mendes Ribeiro. Today the hotel complex is a series of low-lying buildings clustered around a central tower, traditional in style but updated to contemporary requirements, with whitewashed walls typical of the region’s villages.
Alentejo is a wine-producing region in the South of Portugal. Those seeking an immersive cultural experience outside the hotel’s limits can visit the nearby Torre de Palma ruins or the Roman city of Évora. Whatever your fancy, you are sure to feel refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated at Torre de Palma. Carpe diem, no?