A luxury hotel in Évora, the Hotel Convento do Espinheiro, is the only Portuguese establishment to be included in a ranking of the world’s 500 best hotels compiled by the north-American Travel and Leisure magazine. Converted from a 15th Century building classified as a National Monument, Hotel Convento do Espinheiro is a five-star ‘Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa’ now internationally recognized thanks to the recent ‘500 World’s Best Hotels 2010’ listing. It is the only Portuguese establishment to feature amongst the top 500. The ranking was established from readers’ votes, of which the Convento do Espinheiro obtained 87.50 points out of a possible 100.
Taking first place on the list was Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat, in South Africa, having achieved a total of 98.67 readers’ points out of 100.
Speaking to Lusa news agency, the Hotel Convento do Espinheiro’s director Dinis Pires said “It is recognition of the hotel’s quality and the quality of its services, as well as the work we have been doing with the northern-American market, in conjunction with intensive investment over the past few years”.
Dinis Pires also claimed that the coverage and publicity the hotel gained through Travel and Leisure’s ‘500 World’s Best Hotels 2010’ listing put it in great demand with the northern American market, which he says has since become the unit’s main market.
It is also further acclamation for a part of Portugal that was once greatly overlooked as a tourist destination but is now one of the country’s most promising regions.
Last year the Alentejo enjoyed its most successful year ever in terms of tourism and demand.
In October last year António Ceia da Silva, President of the Alentejo Regional Tourism Entity (ERT Alentejo) said: “We are enjoying our best year to date”.
“We have had an overall rise of 22 percent in terms of occupancy figures, which rose to 23 percent in August. Overall intake and revenue also increased significantly, meaning this year the Alentejo has grown in every sense”.
Located just two kilometers from Évora city, Hotel Convento do Espinheiro comprises 82 rooms, 10 suites, a spa, conference rooms, interior, and exterior swimming pools, tennis courts, and several gardens.
It also boasts a gourmet restaurant, located in the convent’s old wine cellar.
The hotel was created from a converted convent, Convento de Nossa Senhora do Espinheiro, which was originally built in 1458 following a decision by the then bishop of Évora, D. Vasco Perdigão, with the support of the Royal Family and D. Afonso V.
Over the centuries it has provided accommodation to many monarchs and high-profile visitors.
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