Magical is a word oft-overused in the hotelier’s vocabulary, for there’s usually very little that’s actually magic in the hotel experience; it’s the sum of its parts, even the very best of hotels are a kind of scientific proposition – a mathematical formula that creates the optimum experience for its guests. Bleeding-edge design – check. Comfort, quality and service – check. Hip communal spaces that attract those who aren’t just bedding down at the hotel – check… you get the picture: formulaic, not magic – no matter how wonderful the experience.
Areias do Seixo Charm Hotel, less than an hour north of Lisbon, describes itself as magical, and throws around all manner of other derivative, time-worn hotel stock phrases: ‘haven in nature’, ‘unique sensations’, ‘live every moment’, ‘romantic atmosphere’… if this place came with a press release alone, we’d have given up at the first paragraph. Thing is though, kids, Areias do Seixo is actually magical. Not in the Copperfield or Blaine sense of the word – there’s no tricks of the trade here, but the genie in a bottle kind; if we were given three wishes to help us muster up the perfect hotel, we’d still be miles away from the magic that owners Marta and Gonçalo have created, with the help of architect Vasco Vieira and designers Rosario Gabriel and Isabel Schedel.
We’re often at pains to stress designers’ use of unique materials, bold clashing of styles and ability to evoke emotion; very seldom is it achieved with this level of flair, grace and innovation. We often write how hotels have redefined the rules of hospitality, shaped new experiences and reimagined luxury; very seldom are those rules rewritten so poetically. Areias Do Seixo’s 14 rooms deliver some of the most aspirational aesthetics we can remember peeling our retinas back for; its story and way of thinking, its closeness to nature and dedication to sustainable tourism, its dedication to experience… this is a very special hotel. Sorcerous in its creation of extreme wanderlust, there’s only one word that can really encapsulate its charm – and you know what that is.