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Text and photos by Sara Riobom
It wasn’t the first time, and it surely won’t be the last, that I took a break at Monverde Wine Experience Hotel. This lovely hotel, hidden in the golden vineyards of the Green Wine Region, was the regional winner of the “Accommodation” category of the Best of Wine Tourism 2017 awards.
These annual prizes are awarded by the Great Wine Capitals network, whose members are the best wine regions in the world, such as Bordeaux in France and Porto, in Portugal.
Monverde Wine Experience Hotel opened less than two years ago to quickly become a worldwide reference in Wine Tourism. Its large and bright bedrooms are decorated in autumn tones, to go along with the vineyards that surround them. The reception and the spa facilities were placed in different buildings, to encourage guests to freely circulate in the vineyards. And, on top of that, from the restaurant you can enjoy a breathtaking view over this beautiful region.
What I particularly love is that at Monverde Wine Experience Hotel there are plenty of activities for guests in the vineyards, designed in perfect harmony with the lifecycle and needs of the vineyards.
For instance, during my first stay at Monverde Wine Experience Hotel, in September, I joined its full day harvest season programme. Collecting the fruity dividends of a year of hard work in the vineyards was a wonderful experience that everyone should try at least once.
My second visit was during the Winter, and as such I spent the morning pruning the vines, followed by a hearty toast to celebrate next year’s wines, that I was so proudly contributing to. I was also an “Oenologist for a day”, a fun activity during which I produced my own green wine, from choosing the grape varieties to designing the label of the bottle.
And it is this magical feeling of discovering so much about the wine production process, and making my modest contribution to it, that makes my visits to Monverde Wine Experience Hotel so unique every time I go there.
It's not all work. Few experiences can beat a session at the spa after a few hours of pleasurable physical labour, and the team at Monverde know this better than most. The vineyards are ever present, even here. My latest trip included a divine red grape massage. Other treats you won't find elsewhere include an exfoliating massage with grape seeds and a vinotherapy bath, which are on my checklist for the next few visits!
The variety of wine related activities, its in-house restaurant and spa make this hotel a perfect weekend getaway not only for couples, but also for families with kids. Moreover, Monverde Wine Experience Hotel has a superb location, just one hour driving distance both from Porto and from the Douro Valley. Close to the hotel you can find Amarante, a cute little city crossed by Tâmega river, as well as Guimarães, the cradle city of Portugal. Last but not least, for those of you interested in history and architecture, you can use the hotel as a base camp to explore the route of the Romanesque architecture in Northern Portugal.
Leisure time in harmony with nature, fun family moments in the countryside, romantic activities in the vineyards… you will find plenty of these at Monverde Wine Experience Hotel, which is why I recommend it for truly special vacations in the North of Portugal!