Óbidos, about an hour north of Lisbon, is usually associated with its fortified hilltop town and the local cherry liquor. Now there is another reason to visit: the cutting-edge boutique hotel Rio do Prado, built and operated along strict eco guidelines.
With just 15 rooms, or better bungalows, it is a small operation living large eco dreams. The rooms are partly covered in earth, for insulation and to melt into the slowly sloping greenery. If you expect a kind of bohemian-rustic-eco atmosphere you are from it. Rio do Prado is decidedly modern, even avantgarde. Furniture is made of recycled wood used during the built, however you will also bottom-to-ceiling glass walls, polished concrete floors, free standing baths and walk-in showers. The latest technology is used to recycle water (to flush the toilets for example) and if you wish, you can check your daily imprint on the enviroment on the hotel’s computer system.
The greenery continues into the restaurant “Maria Batata” which uses ingredients from Rio do Prado’s own greenhouse and grounds or from nearby farms to create a surprising menu based on the seasons.
There is a small spa which has a sauna, Tukish bath, massages and a ‘floating room’ which creates a sense of absolute relaxation like being on the Dead Sea. If you long for more salt water: the Obidos lagoon and beaches are nearby and can be explored on foot or by bicycle. In the grounds is also a swimming pool.
At Rio do Prado living amongst nature does not imply giving up comfort.