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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.