To me, Montemor-o-Novo meant holidays, countryside, that place where we let loose. As I grew older, I became aware of its specificity and its beauty. Despite that, for a long time, I never thought of starting a business in Montemor. But we owned some land, and my mother decided to divide some of the properties amongst her children. My siblings and I thought it made sense to take this property, which used to be a pasture, and build something to do with wine and the place’s identity. We, then, planted the vineyards and made everything from scratch.
The design is inspired by the Mediterranean houses with courtyards, where the building is continuously connected to the outdoors, allowing for a stronger relationship with the landscape where the olive trees and the orange trees give that Mediterranean touch.
The goal is to value the region’s identity, and the scenery is a strong element of that identity. We needed something that made our project stand out, so we came up with the idea for the sky suites, where you can open the roof at night and see the stars. It’s something very romantic that takes advantage of one of Alentejo’s best assets: the night sky.
We also wanted the spa to be connected to wine. Therefore, most of the products we use are made with grapes or grape seeds and some of the massages are even a replica of the different phases of winemaking.
Our story and mission
My mother’s family is from Alentejo and has been for many generations, so although I was born in Lisbon, I always felt strongly connected to Montemor-o-Novo. I used to spend my holidays here, and my grandfather was one of my biggest influences. He was a farmer but also worked in finance, and he was an exceptional person. In the 1950s and 1960s Alentejo was a rough place, people struggled, and my grandfather always tried to change what he could in his own way.
Alentejo has a lot in common with the South of Europe. The Arab influence is strong here too. I believe it’s interesting to preserve that influence as we search for our identity. So we tried to find a design concept that focused on the region’s identity, and we asked several architects to create their concept of houses with courtyards.
This used to be pasture and, when we planted the vineyards, we weren’t thinking about the wine business but using wine as a complement to the hotel. We started producing in 2009, but we sell most of it at the hotel. We don’t export or sell it for retail because our production is not big enough. But because this project includes a real estate business, whoever builds a house here can produce their wine at L’And winery.
To us, being connected to the land is extremely important. For example, most of our staff is from Évora or Montemor, because for us it’s crucial that we create steady job opportunities in the area.
The Mediterranean on the Atlantic coast
For a few years, I lived in Lisbon and came here every day. Earlier this year, since my oldest son started school here, I moved here and spend the weekends in Lisbon. I’m really enjoying myself: I live in the countryside, and it’s a fantastic environment. I’ve also saved on trips and fatigue.
There were no factories in Alentejo. The region was connected to farming. But I believe it’s essential to value tourism now while respecting the region’s identity. Otherwise, it won’t be sustainable.
I began to like Alentejo even more through all the process. I started to admire the rhythm of the seasons and the natural cycles. The Alentejo landscape changes drastically throughout the year, and it’s hard to see it elsewhere.
I began to like more of the history and became part of the region. To me, what best defines Alentejo is the idea of a vast space that’s still preserved and has a bit of a wild side. And the crossing between its Atlantic side and its inward side is unique. In a way, L’And values that identity.
Convento da Saudação, a 16th-century convent, is nearby. It’s used as a culture research centre and a venue for shows, a project by dancer and choreographer Rui Horta called “O Espaço do Tempo” (“The Space of Time”).