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Get Your Fill of Pampering at These Luxe Spas

The Alentejo may be dominated by undulating terrain and expansive cork forests, but this vast, pastoral region dotted with Medieval hilltop towns also is home to some stellar spas with high-end treatments that are sure to delight your senses. These three are standouts. 

Sublime Spa at Sublime Comporta

Nature is front and center at the Sublime Spa at Sublime Comporta that’s landscaped with colorful flowers, umbrella pines and eucalyptus trees, and surrounded by white beaches, vineyards, and pine forests. For example, some spa treatments can be conducted in the cedar wood yoga pavilion or elsewhere outside so that you’ll be surrounded by the sounds of birds twittering, the feel of a soft breeze on your skin, or the scent of eucalyptus. Lined with cedar wood, the yoga-pilates room has one floor-to-ceiling window that also provides views of verdancy. Relish in the heated indoor pool where sun streams through the duo of expansive windows. Of course, you’ll have views of nature, whether it’s the pine groves, or an olive tree in the indoor patio. 

Many of the herbs (including thyme, rosemary, lemongrass and calendula) used in the treatments — whether for the skin infusions, inhalation ceremonies or herbal massages — are freshly harvested from the estate’s 40-acre organic garden, or they are sourced from local producers. And the sea salts that are used in body scrubs and detox treatments come from Comporta. In addition, several of their treatments, such as the Deep Cleansing Facial and the Gentleman’s Facial, rely on the organic, sustainable Amala product line that are available for purchase.

Book a rejuvenating Detoxifying Ritual experience that includes a stimulating exfoliation with sea salts and an olive stone polish, and a cleansing seaweed, cypress and myrtle body mask. Or, you and your partner can luxuriate in a more than two-hour Couples Experience that includes a soothing footbath, and a bliss-inducing aromatherapy massage. For a full sensory experience, you may want to choose the Healing Grounds Ritual where you first inhale the aromatic scents from botanicals gathered from the organic garden. Then, relax your tight muscles, thanks to a full body massage done with a locally-sourced herbal poultice. At the end of each of these treatment experiences, you’re invited to sip an antioxidant or detox spa beverage that’s infused with botanicals from, what else, but their garden. 

When choosing a massage, you have the option of selecting one of several different oils that are blended using local botanical essential oils. For example, a tension diffusing blend would include marjoram, rosemary and lavender, while an oil containing eucalyptus, camphor and black pepper could relieve muscle tension. 

The Wellness and Fitness Spa at Convento do Espinheiro 

Just outside Évora’s historic city center, the Wellness and Fitness Spa at the Convento do Espinheiro Historic Hotel is set on a property blanketed with 20 acres of blooming gardens. The spa offers guests plenty of water-related amenities, whether it’s the hot tub, hammam, heated indoor swimming pool or sauna. 

The design of the treatment rooms combine the contemporary with the traditional: granite and slate materials meld with hand-painted Portuguese tilework. Each room conveys a sense of serenity, thanks to the windows facing the tranquil gardens. Even the relaxation room provides garden views.

The spa’s signature massage and exfoliation treatments revolve around olive oil for its antioxidant content. Ytsara treatments — such as the Jasmine Rice Scrub and the Siamese Healing Herbs massage — make use of products sourced from botanicals (flowers, fruits and herbs) that are sustainably and organically grown in Thailand, including on the company’s farm. Interestingly, the Siamese massage uses a tok sen, which is a traditional, wooden Thai massage tool. 

Another appealing treatment that’s sure to unkink tight muscles is the 75-minute Hot Stones Massage where the rocks are volcanic. 

The Spa and Wellness Centre at the Tivoli Évora Ecoresort

Also, a few minutes from the historic city of Évora, the Tivoli Évora Ecoresort is noted for its Spa and Wellness Centre. Aside from relaxing in the indoor and outdoor pools, a Turkish bath or a sauna, avail yourself of some of the specialized treatments using techniques from around the world. These include a Tibetan bowl session. When the outside of the metallic bowl is struck, a pleasant sound resonates and engenders a dramatic sense of relaxation. (These bowls are often also known as Tibetan singing bowls because of the way the sound vibrates when the mallet is rotated along the rim of the bowl. However, though historically, these bowls have long been used as a meditation accessory, whether they actually originated in Tibet is unclear and much disputed.)  

With another treatment, the couple’s Indian head massage, warm Argan oil is applied to the scalp as well as the face, neck and shoulders, not only nourishing the skin but also provoking a deep sense of relaxation. (Indian head massage is a technique that’s been used for thousands of years.) A body wrap containing a mix of seaweed and sea water along with an extract of red wine provides your body with an elixir that’s chock full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals. Another nourishing treatment is the body scrub with argon oil and royal jelly, which together produce a deep body cleansing. 

*Michele James is a Connecticut-based journalist and photographer who frequently travels to Portugal.

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