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Convento Arraiolos Pousada

detalhe da fachada  da Pousada Convento Arraiolos

Unlike most pousadas, which are set in high places, this one is located in a valley. Also, given that it’s in the usually arid Alentejo region, everything is surprisingly green. Just over a kilometre from the town, the Convento Arraiolos Pousada is situated in Vale Formoso, also known as Vale das Flores. The groundwater that supplies Arraiolos passes through this area, making it feel like spring for much of the year.

In August 1527, during King João III’s reign, the first stone of the Nossa Senhora da Assunção convent was laid. Built by the Order of Saint Eloi, it wasn’t finished until 1700, the year the church was finally lined with tiles. It was left for master tile artist Gabriel del Barco to paint a number of biblical episodes, as well as the history of Portugal. When entering or leaving the pousada, it’s impossible to ignore the blue and white spectacle.

Initially a convent, it also functioned as a farm, before being left abandoned between the 19th and 20th centuries. Despite being in poor condition, it was acquired by the State in 1980, although restoration work only began in 1991. The project took over four years to complete and was overseen by the architect José Paulo dos Santos, who combined the original buildings with the new areas he had created, lending them a simple and contemporary style. Good examples of this new architecture are the long dining room, the gym and indoor pool. All face east and are glazed from floor to ceiling, offering a breathtaking view of the valley, village and Arraiolos castle.

On the west side of the pousada, where the convent used to be, we see 17th-century Baroque style everywhere, but never in an ostentatious way. The former kitchen, now a lounge, has an Alentejo fireplace on the floor, as well as a few armchairs for guests to linger. In the old chapter house, which is now a bar, only the ceilings and vaults have been kept, and those are made more subtle by the contemporary style around them.

piscina interior  da Pousada Convento Arraiolos

Convento Arraiolos

A Pousada located in the heart of Alentejo, where it is Spring for a good part of the year.

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