são lourenço do barrocal / portugal

a couple of weeks ago i took julia and my friend for a quick getaway to São Lourenço do Barrocal – it was a gift i got from my besties and i was really looking forward to staying there.

we first stopped in monsaraz, the quaintest little medieval town, where we had lunch at sabores, a restaurant recommended by the hotel – featuring local dishes, everything we had was insane!

the hotel is so welcoming and peaceful, we knew, once we arrived, we wouldn’t want to leave. the service was seamless and every detail in the property, featuring the estate’s history and the local traditions are incredible. the estate, surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and holm oaks, has been in the family for over 200 years.

there are guest rooms and cottages, known as ‘casinhas” and we were lucky enough to stay in one :)

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cooking & nature / portugal

cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-16we were in lisbon for over a month, i chose not to travel and stay in the city – giving me enough time to see everyone and enjoy our vacations without having to rush anywhere…or pack! but on the last weekend before we left, we made a little escape and spent it at the cooking and nature emotional hotel. located  in a small village right in the heart of candeeiros natural park, it’s only an hour away from lisbon.

cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-2cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-15 cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-13 cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-1cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-3julia and i went with my parents and couldn’t have had a better time, specially julia. we saw sheep and cows, only that can be pretty exciting for a toddler. we went on a bicycle ride, which was too much fun. we had a cooking lesson to make our own dinner with local ingredients. and the highlight for julia was definitely the afternoon spent at the indoor pool (i had barely put her bathing suit on, when she started running around the room as if with the highest sugar rush!). as for us adults, it was really the perfect place to relax, read and actually spend quality time with each other without interruptions.

cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-11 cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-10 cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-9cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-8the hotel has 12 rooms, each one decorated differently, julia and i stayed in a fun one, the shelter room, with penguins on the ceiling, a cozy rocking chair perfect for reading and a bathtub that looked like a pool. the public areas are big, with lots of rooms and different nooks to chose from, with lounge chairs, fireplaces and an honesty bar.

cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-14 cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-12 cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-5cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-4 the staff were super friendly and helpful, our dinner and breakfast were delicious, with a lot of attention to detail. the hotel was full, but because of all the lounging areas available, we always felt like we had our own space. cooking-and-nature-by-myseastory-7

it was a really nice hotel to spend a winter weekend, – and i don’t think i can say this about many hotels. i’m hoping to be back with the summer weather to enjoy their swimming pool and outside areas too.

ps – other great places we’ve stayed before

the raleigh hotel / miami

raleigh-hotel-by-myseastory-12when travelling from turks and caicos to portugal or back, we like making a pit stop in miami for a night. it helps break the long trip, plus, shopping is great and so is the food. we’ve been doing this for almost 5 years, so miami feels a little bit like our second home. we’ve stayed at several hotels, some we really like, some not that much. but our favorite by far is the raleigh hotel. Continue reading

soprarno suites / florence

soprarno-suites-by-myseastory-3during our vacation in portugal we were itching for a city break that would make us feel we were abroad. florence seemed like the obvious choice – it’s close (we could get a direct flight to bologna and then a quick train into the city centre of florence), perfect city to walk, great for shopping, and the food never disappoints!

we stayed at a really cute bed and breakfast, soprarno suites, and loved it! Continue reading

pestana / miami

whenever we go to miami, we are on the look out for the perfect place to stay – we don’t really want to splurge in a fancy hotel – we basically spend the days out and about shopping and dining. but we do like staying somewhere nice, well located, close to lincoln road and easy access to parking.

we have previously stayed at the townhouse, a small boutique hotel that we really liked, although the rooms were slightly on the small size. then we decided to try out an art deco hotel in ocean drive and stayed at the victor, but we found it too busy and noisy, and not worth the upgrade.

whilst i was looking for a place to stay on expedia, i found a newly opened hotel, that belongs to the portuguese hotel company pestana, and with a very friendly opening rate.

the hotel was exactly what we wanted, a small boutique hotel in a convenient location, nice and simple decor, close to parking, friendly staff – and brand new!

i specially loved the simple decor, all whites and brights, with beach themed black and white pictures in rooms and public areas.

the breakfast was simple, perfect to grab something on the go and served at the coffee shop by the pool – the capuccinos were delicious!

we will definitely try to stay here on our next visit to miami, i hope the property is well maintained and the prices don’t get too high.

ps – pestana south beach’s website, and other favourite places we have stayed and liked