The six storeys are cleverly arranged on a seven-acre hillside site so that all public spaces and bedrooms face the front, and giant windows maximise the view. Public spaces are on the upper floors, with acres of marble, a magnificent staircase and walls in lemon, pale green or light blue, with white cornicing and columns. Each floor opens to the outdoors, to terraces, the pool or the croquet lawn. The bar (open 24/7) and lounge are scattered with inviting sofas, and there’s an elegant library and a business centre. The lifts are wallpapered with photos of vineyards and barrels: guests can tour the cellar from 4pm to 6pm (arranged north to south through Portugal’s 11 wine regions), and the corridors are used for exhibitions – we enjoyed one on cork. The spa has a gym, sauna, hammam and indoor pool-with-a-view.
Each of the 70 spacious rooms and 12 suites is discreetly themed around a wine partner: decor in our light-filled superior double included paraphernalia from Quinta Vale do Bragão, in the Alto Douro, a couple of hours inland. Louvred shutters separated the carpeted bedroom and marble bathroom and both were places to linger, with pistachio-green and sunflower-yellow walls, double-layered curtains (one striped gauze, one heavy-duty), top-notch bedding, a powerful shower, with Portuguese tiles forming a sensible recess for toiletries, a large bath and books and magazines in English. The corridors display interesting wine – and history-related images. All rooms have a balcony or terrace. Bacchus is the smartest suite, with a copper bath and revolving bed.