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Quinta dos Tręs Rios

Portugal   Montanhas   Parada da Gonta   Why Montanhas?
Porto 145km / Lisbon 275km
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Reviewed by Laura Dibben

“EN FAMILLE"............

After 20 years of running a successful smokery business in South Wales and Gloucestershire, Hugh and Jane Forestier-Walker decided it was time to escape to more peaceful pastures, far away from the daily grind of life in the UK. When they came to Portugal for the first time in autumn 2004, they unexpectedly found their paradise – a 19th Century farm house set amongst a 7-hectare sea of pine, oak, chestnut and olive trees, traversed by the “Rio Pavia”. Nestled on the edge of the quaint little hamlet of Parada de Gonta between Viseu and Tondela, they knew instantly that Quinta dos Tręs Rios was to be their home. The year to follow would bear witness to a process of painstaking restoration; they rebuilt their Quinta from the ground up, managing to bring original pine floors, doors, shutters and tear glass windows, miraculously back to life.

I arrived at Quinta dos Tręs Rios after dusk one chilly December night and was delighted by the sight of the stunning stone house as I descended down the last stretch of winding country road to the entrance gate. Warmly lit and with a steady stream of smoke rising from the chimney, it looked as if it had been plucked from a storybook. The stars and meteor showers were a sight to behold…feeling somewhat like a 5-year-old on Christmas Eve the anticipation of the following morning’s sunrise became unbearable and I could not wait to see those views in the light of day!

The feeling upon entering the house is one of space and light. A large entrance hall with towering ceilings welcomes you in; walls painted in a butter yellow are adorned with portraits and other works of art – all family heirlooms that have been passed from generation to generation (the antiques found throughout the rest of the house are seemingly infinite and are most certainly conversation pieces!). One staircase leads upwards to the bedrooms on the 1st floor (more on these later!) whilst the other leads down to a lovely open-plan salon and dining area. Here one can share one’s daily adventures with Hugh and Jane and the other guests over pre-dinner aperitifs, served at around 7:30pm (also in the company of the family’s well-mannered dog and cat!). The convivial conversation then continues over a delicious meal at the “family” table. Summer is extra special when mealtime moves outdoors.

Hugh and Jane’s daughter, Caroline, brings culinary expertise to the table. A top pastry chef (most recently of The Glasshouse in Kew which bears one Michelin Star), she bases her creations on traditional Portuguese home cooking, using the freshest of local produce (home grown where possible of course!). Choose from a limited 3-course menu (including home produced wines) and whatever you enough room for dessert! Special dietary requirements are well catered to with some notice. Dinner is by reservation only so please let Hugh or Jane know if you would like dinner by 11.00am each day.

After dinner, where better to retire to than your lovely Suite? That’s what I thought! All come with a comfortable bedroom, salon and en-suite bathroom (some of which have showers as opposed to a bath so please state your preference on booking). Three of the 6 Suites (“The Vineyard”, “The Woodlands” and “The Oaks”) can be found off the entrance hall, and are my absolute favourites at the Quinta. Brimming with elegant country charm, they are the most spacious, and have been furnished with some of the most comfortable sofas I have ever had the pleasure of sitting upon! All of the ground floor rooms feature a small balcony with expansive views over the estate. “The Oaks” is a 2-bedroom Suite (one bedroom has Twin beds and is fully wheelchair accessible) with private entrance and kitchenette – ideal for families who enjoy their independence whilst on holiday. The Suites on the upper level (“Rio Pavia”, Rio Asnes” and “Rio Vila Cha”), also with views, are “under the eaves” and are more simple, but are still charming with their exposed beams and pitched ceilings. “Rio Pavia” is a 2-bedroom Suite with kitchen and dining table – also ideal for families. All the rooms are equipped with Satellite TV, mini-bar and tea and coffee-making facilities. Telephone and Internet access are available on request (albeit not in the bedrooms – understandable given the thickness of these walls!).

A charming breakfast room, with a delightful crackling fire to accompany in the winter months, is situated just off the entrance hall. Continental breakfasts of fresh fruit, homemade jams, yoghurts and cakes are lovely, and the muesli is delicious – homemade too of course! Lunch is not served at the Quinta as guests tend to spend the day discovering these glorious surroundings – one is, after all, in the heart of the Dâo wine region (Dâo and Douro wine tours can of course be arranged)!

Hugh and Jane’s remarkable integration into their newly adopted country has afforded them a wealth of knowledge on the area. They are actively involved in the experiences of their guests; whether accompanying them on wine tours, bird watching walks or hikes, cycling or visiting nearby areas of interest....when “en famille” you will be treated as such! Explore the local villages by bicycle (available to borrow), and for a quiet day on the Quinta, games, books and a small snooker table are also available.

An ideal Hotel for walkers, nature lovers, wine lovers and all who are looking for a relaxing holiday in a warm and welcoming family atmosphere. A lovely stop-over point for those touring through Portugal, and definitely recommended as a base from which to explore this glorious area. With Coimbra at less than an hour away, Porto at 1 hour 30 minutes, Viseu at 20 minutes, the possibilities are endless for a memorable holiday.

Dinner on Request
A No Smoking Hotel


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From 100€ to 165€

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Low Season: 1st October to 31st March

High Season: 1st April to 30th September

A minimum 2-night stay is required for all reservations.

The Hotel requires credit card details in order to confirm a reservation.

Cancellations made less than 5 days of the arrival date and up to the day of arrival: 25% of the total cost of the reservation will be charged by the Hotel.

Cancellations made on the day of arrival and "No Shows" will result in the full cost of of the reservation being charged by the Hotel.

For all cancellations will charge an administration fee of 15 Euros.