by styletraveller, on 2011-04-19 04:16:40
First: this is an amazing designed hotel by renowned Portuguese architect practice Aires Mateus. It is even more amazing that it is located in Santiago do Cacem, a traditional Alentejan village not far from the vast beaches of the Sines peninsula. The architecture alone justifies a visit. The interiors are striking as well, combining the austere black architecture with black hallways (floor, walls, ceiling) and traditional fabrics from the Alentejo region. The hotel consists of two parts, the new wing and an older wing from the 1940's which used to be the second oldest state-run Pousada. The old wing houses some rooms (traditional style) and the restaurant where the breakfast is being served. Dinner was outstanding including the breakfast which included cooked-to-order eggs and bacon. The rooms in the new wing are interesting laid-out with a large marble-clad bathroom. As the bathrooms are not grouped together you get some noise from the drains. Noise is a problem in this hotel as the doors hardly keep the noise from the narrow hallways made up from stone and concrete. We had to change rooms as the staff sandwiched us between to a single family going up and down the hall between the two rooms next to us. Why is it that in nearly empty hotels you always get neighbors? Further, there are plenty (design) 'mistakes'. Our ground floor room had one chair on the terrace and one chair at the desk inside. But being a double/twin room... Views of the village with its castle above is beautiful, but you had to open the sliding door to admire it as the windows where not cleaned. Just after three years opening you could already see the wear and tear: cracks, bubbling paint, etc. We wanted to enjoy the wonderful looking pool (towels provided) but some men where taking of tiles of the terrace, so where unable to enjoy the otherwise quiet surroundings to just read a book. In the room internet was not working, not even after a second password provided. Staff tried their best, but did not seem to be very involved. All set for dinner we found out the advertised opening was in fact half an hour later. This hotel gets full marks for its design. If they work on the hospitality side some more and with some small design issues solved, this can be a truly fantastic hotel.