Comporta's blip on the tourism radar may have grown louder in recent years, but it's still one of Portugal's surest bets for sun and sand sans crowds. Even at the height of summer, the beach-to-bodies ratio along this stretch of Alentejo coastline is more favourable than probably anywhere else in Europe.
No doubt the blessed lack of an airport keeps oversized water parks and anonymous all-inclusives at bay. Yet, at just a 90-minute drive from Lisbon, Comporta is exactly the right amount of accessible for anyone seeking a few days of sun-soaked slow living in a place that doesn't feel like it came off a production line.
The region's small but growing offer of design- and wellness-led accommodation is discreetly tucked into a low-lying landscape of pine trees, rice fields and the occasional clutch of rustic whitewashed buildings. The newcomers' pristine chicness is balanced by the gentle dilapidation of the old-timers, their chimneys often crowned by colossal storks' nests.
Depart London on TAP Air Portugal at breakfast and you can arrive in time for a languorous, al fresco lunch on the terrace at AlmaLusa Comporta, the newest arrival and only hotel in Comporta village itself. A few hours lingering over green bean tempura, cod and chickpea salad and a few frosty carafes of crisp white from the vineyard across the road is the perfect way to kick off a stay in this laid-back beach town. The Comporta hype may be getting louder, but for now, at least, life here remains stylishly, magnetically quiet.
The hotel's 22 rooms and 31 suites have a barefoot luxury vibe expressed in a sun-bleached palette enlivened by splashes of ochre and mustard. The suites include spacious lounge and dining areas and well-stocked kitchenettes, so you can self-cater or feed hungry children outside meal times. The Samsung phones with free calls and internet are a nice touch, and you can use the hotel's app to book restaurants or taxis on them, too. That said, staff are super-attentive and available 24/7 to help with suggestions and bookings.
What's for breakfast?
Set your alarm to allow ample time to explore the hotel's expansive breakfast buffet, where the highlight (perhaps unsurprisingly) is the pastel de nata. Portugal's ubiquitous (but not always as excellent as these) custard tarts are acceptable at any time of day, but warm from the oven and teamed with an espresso, they're pretty much the perfect start to another day in paradise.
Lunch and dinner
The hotel's al fresco terrace café is open all day until 5pm, while the Library Bar offers oysters, tapas and pizzas (what more do you need?). Otherwise, try heading out to eat in the town. Comporta may be tiny - it's walkable in minutes - but it punches well above its weight when it comes to restaurants. Try Cavalariça for tightly finessed, seafood-heavy Portuguese cooking at its finest, set in atmospheric former horse stables.
Is there a bar?
Kick off your evening with literal sundowners on the hotel's west-facing rooftop bar.
Comporta holidays are really all about doing not much: eating, drinking, pool and beach time, perhaps with a facial in the on-site spa, a massage in the cabana or some gentle yoga. But if you insist on doing something, you can take one of the hotel's bikes - regular or electric, depending on how energetic you're feeling - to explore the surrounding rice fields. There are also wine-tasting tours, boat trips to spot dolphins in the Sado river estuary with Vertigem Azul, and horse riding along the beach with Cavalos na Areia (as Madonna once did). And an afternoon of swimming, sunbathing and feasting on the freshest Portuguese-meets-Japanese seafood at Soltroia Beach Club, a 20-minute drive away, is a must.
What are the hotel's eco-credentials like?
The hotel promotes a community-first agenda. It donates 15 per cent of revenue from sales of items such as the local artwork that hangs on its walls to a local charity that alleviates hardship in the region. Around 60 per cent of the onsite staff are from the area, and all ingredients used in the restaurant and bar are locally sourced.
The property's green credentials are on point, too: there's an efficient, recycling waste management system in place and water is heated using solar panels. Waste-reducing programmes are in place and there are even four spots for e-vehicles to charge up outside.
What about accessibility?
You will need a car to reach Comporta, and to explore the region. There's no lift in AlmaLusa Comporta's main building, so if you're travelling with a buggy or heavy luggage, or require easy access, you might want to request a ground-floor room.
What's the crowd like?
Barefoot and boho.
Within a short walk I can find…
At AlmaLusa Comporta, Portugal's rich arts and crafts traditions are showcased in the handmade ceramics and colourful woven baskets, and the beachy, boho design language the area is known for is expressed in the abundant use of natural materials like seagrass and wicker. You can buy into the Comporta lifestyle for yourself in the village's small but addictive handful of boutiques.
Things I should know…
It's best to book spa treatments at the hotel in advance.