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A hotel in harmony with its vineyard
Text and photos by Filipe Morato Gomes
I arrived in the parish of Telões in the evening, welcomed by the last rays of a bright winter sun that warmed my soul and the olive green facade of the main building of the Monverde – Wine Experience Hotel. And the warmth continued inside. The human warmth of Tatiana, Joel, Bebiana and all of their team. It was like staying at an old friend’s house.
In the middle of the building, in an inner courtyard of a farm cleverly transformed into a hotel by architect Fernando Coelho, something immediately caught my eye. On the roof, covered with a huge skylight which lit the common spaces magnificently, hung an enigmatic sculpture in a chaotic scene that was impossible to ignore.
“Chuva de Folhas” (Rain of Leaves), as the creation by artist Paulo Neves is called, pays homage to the men and women whose sweat waters the vines every day so that the region’s characteristic vinhos verdes can be produced.
'Chuva de folhas'
Monverde is the first hotel incorporated into the Vinho Verde Route and has just won the Architecture and Landscape category of the Best Of Wine Tourism 2016 awards, a distinction awarded annually by the Great Wine Capitals network, a region to which Porto belongs alongside some of the best wine producing regions in the world.
Fernando Coelho wanted to create a closer relationship between the vineyard and the hotel; he wanted the vineyard – the soul of Quinta de Sanguinhedo – to be visible from all the rooms, to be the focus of guests’ attention wherever they might be. Essentially, he wanted to provoke sensations. And he’s managed it, in an incredibly harmonious way. Through the careful selection of materials, in which the stone from the farm itself and the unvarnished wood (because “nature isn’t varnished”) are predominant, and through the colours used – from spring greens to autumnal browns. And through the interior décor and the interaction of the buildings with the vineyard landscape he has created a dialogue between man and grape that I have only ever seen in very few places. Yes, everything in Monverde makes sense!
In fact, harmony was the word which struck me often as Joel, who personally took charge of my arrival, showed me around the hotel’s facilities in various different locations dictated by the farm’s pre-existing buildings.
After visiting the winery, I set my bag down in a spacious and airy room decorated with very good taste in the hotel’s east wing. When I pulled aside the heavy curtains over a huge window with a view of the vines, I started to understand the architect’s idea better: the vines were right there inside the room!
It was already dark as I walked under the trellises towards the spa to enjoy a Turkish bath and indulge in the absolute tranquillity of the indoor pool. As all it left me wanting was more, I decided to put myself in the hands of Andressa the following morning, partaking of a reinvigorating Vichy bath which allowed my body to realise the full potential of wine therapy treatments.
Mid-morning, after an excellent breakfast, Bebiana introduced me to the various Vinho Verde produced in the vineyard before me. This wine tasting came with a surprise: an excellent red vintage drunk in a mug and far less astringent than the typical rough stuff I was used to.
The wine tasting is just one of the wine-related experiences provided by Monverde for its more interested guests. From creating your own wine to wine-therapy treatments or even activities in the vineyard itself, such as planting, pruning or grape harvesting, there is no lack of reasons to stay just a day, or two, or three longer... In total harmony with the vines.
Quinta de Sanguinhedo
Amarante – Portugal
Tel. +351 255143100