Castelo de Paiva, Portugal
What it is
A 56 room, 5-suite retreat inspired by its oenophile locale.
What it isn't
Themey and off-putting. The design here is as delicious as a bottle of Alicante Bouschet .
What we think
Guests of Douro 41 can pick their view, be it a languidly rolling river or lush mountainside—which tells you something about the level of relaxation one can expect here. You'll find minimal interiors—all the better to take in the lush landscape beyond your floor to ceiling windows, where are just as sleekly stunning as Philip Johnson’s iconic Glass House. On-site experiences are equally spa-like: you can glide along the Douro River in a kayak; attend a wine tasting where you’ll sip the green (yes, green) wines of Castelo de Paiva, the local town (population: 16,733); or hike alongside a high-mountain shepherd and his flock in the Serra de Montemuro. For anyone who loves the ghost towns of the Wild West, stopping by Aldeias de Xisto is a must—the ancient village has been deserted since 2009.
You're here because
You travel to eat. Chef Ricardo, at the helm of Raiva, knows his stuff. On the regionally-focused menu: pork belly in garlic wine sauce, saffron flower risotto, and deer in tonka bean crust with glazed chestnuts.
This hotel is so relaxing you hardly need a spa treatment. But when you see this newly renovated treasure trove of calm—with a Turkish bath, tepidarium, and pair of swimming pools that peep out on the Douro River—you can hardly wait. When you lower yourself slowly into your frothy soaking tub, you let out a contented sigh. This is vacation.
Set directly on the Duoro River, 11 miles from Castelo de Paiva, a village home to 5.5 miles of riverside Paiva Walkways that evoke M.C. Escher’s Relativity (that iconic lithograph of the endless staircases).