Carvalhal, Alentejo, Portugal
Circle in the Square
This vast pool villa dropped into nature not far from the sparkling coastal community of Comporta presents a unique footprint—a veritable bull’s eye of relaxation and earthy elegance, with a spacious courtyard creating a natural circle at its heart, and seven sleekly designed modern bedrooms set squarely around the circle.
Circle in the Square
This novel architectural home features a circle in a square layout, a design that offers a bull's eye garden at its heart, a pool occupying one exterior angle, and plenty of space to spread out around its unique central courtyard circle.
Named for the silvery olive tree grove that fills its central courtyard and extends well beyond its outer walls, intermingled with soaring coastal pines, this villa offers a unique layout. The novel architectural home sets its many bedrooms around a wide circumference, creating private sleep spaces for a crowd that edge out into its well-defined quarters. The space doesn’t scrimp on common gathering areas, offering minimalist, contemporary styling that tends angular, spare, and exposed in its styling, with huge picture windows that open to the circular courtyard garden.
The glinting, white-on-white space features a pool at one exterior angle, reached via stylishly lit curving pathways and boardwalks connecting its disparate volumes. Interiors feel like starkly modern natural observatories given their statement windows—oversized, architectural panes that orient all eyes outwards. Whether lounging on beds, couches, tables or sun loungers, guests remain firmly in sight of the trees that tangle across the white sandy soil, characteristic of the unspoiled coastal Alentejo.
This stretch of Portuguese coast has some 40 miles of relatively undeveloped beaches of golden sands with ochre cliffs as backdrops. Grass-tufted dunes insulate the waterfront areas from local communities, and Carvalhal is rural and slow-moving, surrounded by rice paddies and pine forests. The village is adjacent to the Sado estuary’s nature reserve and is made up of a single main street flanked by homes, hotels, and shops. Carvalhal beach feels a bit lost in time, a quiet stretch of sand located at the end of the village’s main street on the outskirts of town that’s a favorite of local families and famed for its sunsets, one of seven beaches in the Herdade de Comporta. There’s a small, waterfront restaurant serving traditional fare, and loungers and umbrellas for rent. Pego Beach is set more deeply into the pine forest and dunes, a remote crescent of sand that’s home to a locally famed restaurant, Sal, and a pod of dolphins named for the Sado reserve. Big waves make the entire region a surfing hotspot for pros and beginners alike, and the region is well served by surf schools and local guiding companies. Carvalhal is also known for its boutiques, antique outlets and simple cafes and taverns.
Nearby Melides is a favorite enclave of design-conscious shoppers and patrons of the arts who delight in the burgeoning selection of galleries, studio/workshops, and carefully curated boutiques, and Comporta offers easygoing elegance and trendsetting boutiques and restaurants. Lovers of the laid-back and rugged will thrill with horseback rides along the rolling surf. The area’s golden sands extend for miles, backed by dunes, cliffs, and wind-sculpted pines—beaches not to be missed are Praia da Galé-Fontainhas, Praia da Comporta and the Praia da Melides and the protected lagoons, their waters rich with birds and wildlife, including Lagoa de Santo André and the Lagoa de Melides.
Carvalhal, Alentejo, Portugal. Nearest airport: Lisbon (1.5 hours)
Best time to visit
April to October
Here’s what you can expect during your stay:
- Indoor Fireplace