Vale do
Gaio

Rural Hotel in Alentejo
From €90 per night

Vale do Gaio is set over a beautiful dam. The sunsets here are breathtaking.
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Terrace - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Bedroom - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Terrace - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Outdoor Breakfast - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Plants - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio River - JO&SO

A relaxed boutique hotel in a breathtaking setting in the deep heart of Alentejo.

In the deep heart of Alentejo, over a beautiful dam, you will find the stunning Vale do Gaio – the perfect place to take a deep breath of beauty and quietness. It’s a rural hotel but with modern rooms, remote yet only a 1h20m drive from Lisbon.

This is the sort of place where you come to relax although there are plenty of activities at hand, be it fishing, kayaking, bird watching or simply enjoying the swimming pool or playing board games.

Watching the sun slowly setting above the dam is an unforgettable experience.

Awesomeness

You’ll be surrounded by the beauty of nature and immersed in its timeless silence.

Excellent food and wine menu.

Lots of beds to lay down on and watch some amazing birds fly by.

Bikes and Kayaks to explore the surroundings, are provided free of charge.

Cozy living room, with loads of books, newspapers and games.

Bear in mind

It can feel a bit busy during school holidays.

This is a rural hotel so expect a relaxed attitude and service. The luxury here is to be surrounded by the beautiful nature.

Wifi can be a bit slow sometimes but you’re here to switch off.

The bathrooms feel a bit outdated but a redevelopment is on the cards.

Nearest restaurant is a 20 minute drive but the hotel has a great menu.

Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Terrace View - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Facade- JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Terrace View - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Terrace View - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Bedroom- JO&SO
One of the rooms with a fantastic view over the dam.
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Landscape - JO&SO

Activities:
Biking
Bird watching
Board games
Canoeing
Culture
Fishing
Hiking/trekking
Kayaking
Sightseeing
Swimming pool

Local Action

This is the perfect place for those who love fishing, walking, jogging, biking, and canoeing (they provide all equipment) – as well as more relaxing activities such as astronomy, bird watching, enjoying the swimming pool, reading a book and having a good sleep.

If you want a bit of cultural action go to Évora (58km), a UNESCO listed city, wander through its whitewashed alleys and visit the Roman ruins. Whilst there we highly recommend visiting ‘Restaurante Fialho‘ – serving gorgeous traditional and regional dishes, currently overseen by the third generation of the family.

Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Birds - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Birds - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Birds - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Birds - JO&SO
The Alentejo region is home to a huge variety of bird species.
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Landscape - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Nature - JO&SO
Be surrounded by the beauty of nature and immerse yourself in its timeless silence.
Evora Unesco World Heritage - JO&SO
Evora Unesco World Heritage Street Mirror - JO&SO
Evora Unesco World Heritage Street - JO&SO
Evora Unesco World Heritage Street - JO&SO
Visit Évora (58km), a lovely small town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Restaurante Fialho Evora Unesco World Heritage Street - JO&SO
Restaurante Fialho Evora Unesco World Heritage Street - JO&SO
Restaurante Fialho Evora Unesco World Heritage Street - JO&SO
Restaurante Fialho Evora Unesco World Heritage Street - JO&SO
Visited by tourists and the Portuguese alike, restaurant Fialho (in Évora, 58km) has become a world reference by the "Alentejana" Portuguese cuisine.

We interviewed Vasco Galego, the owner of Vale do Gaio.

Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Owner Vasco Galego - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Landscape - JO&SO

1995 – Love at first sight.

Vasco first discovered Vale do Gaio in 1995 as a guest and immediately fell in love with the location. Years later he acquired the hotel.

Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Facade - JO&SO

2008 – The beginning of the new Vale do Gaio

Vasco acquires Vale do Gaio which marks the beginning of its transformation. The outside area wasn’t being exploited to its full potential, and the interiors felt very outdated.

Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Prior Construction - JO&SO

Before

One of the rooms before the acquisition and refurbishment. A far cry from what it is today.

How did you come up with the idea to start Vale do Gaio?

I discovered Vale do Gaio around twenty years ago as a guest and at the time I was fascinated by its beauty, the location and the potential of the space – even though I thought it was very poorly executed. The original hotel was way too closed with lots of curtains and the outside areas weren’t being used to their full potential. The best thing here is the outdoors, the view… and they didn’t take advantage of that. At the time I realised a lot of work had to be done but I was in love with the place. About twelve years later someone told me that the hotel was for sale and I ended up making an offer with a project proposal; and I got it.

How long did it take to get everything ready to open?

At the end of December 2008 I got the news that my offer had been accepted and on the 1st of January 2009 it was mine. With the little budget I had left I did a bit of work in the communal areas, refurbished the 1st room and opened again in mid February. We needed to start generating returns so that we could afford to slowly keep investing back. We didn’t refurbish everything at once, but incrementally.

What was your experience working with hotels?

I didn’t have any experience working with hotels but I’d been running my XL restaurant in Lisbon for fifteen years. I’d always dreamt of having a hotel. All my life I kept watching how it was done. Some hoteliers might have studied to become hoteliers but if your heart is not in it, it won’t work out. The life experience itself is the most valuable lesson of all. I know I’ve made mistakes and if I could go back I probably would have done a few things a little differently. I also didn’t have any experience when I opened the XL restaurant and yet there aren’t many twenty-one year old restaurants left in Lisbon.

How do you juggle your time between both projects – the restaurant XL in Lisbon and Vale do Gaio in Alentejo?

I’m usually in Lisbon from Monday to Wednesday and in Alentejo from Thursday to Saturday. Sunday is my day off so I’m usually in Vale do Gaio.

We had some delicious food here and it’s something you obviously put care into. Can you tell us more about this?

At Vale do Gaio we not only have a big love for gastronomy but we also need to bear in mind that there’s nothing nearby. We’re quite remote which is great but I don’t want guests to have to drive lots of kms to go and eat. Hotels are usually places to sleep but you can also eat there. I wanted to have a place where people come to eat but where they can also sleep. For me the cuisine side of things plays a very important role and the restaurant at Vale do Gaio has received a lot of recognition so it’s been worth it.

"Firstly, I wanted to have a place where people come to eat but then sleep."

– Vasco Galego, Owner
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Terrace - JO&SO
Boutique Hotel in Alentejo Vale do Gaio Living Room - JO&SO

Feel at home

The furnishings of Vale do Gaio are super cozy with a homely feel.

How do you describe the architecture and interior?

We try to create a homely atmosphere where people feel relaxed. The rooms are spacious. Four of them have a beautiful view and the beds are marvellous.

Can you tell us something unusual about this region?

I adore Alentejo and its people. The nearest town to Vale do Gaio is Torrão and the hardest part of all of this has been to persuade the locals to work. I never imagined or knew that it was possible for so many people to have no desire whatsoever to work. They’re just too laid back… I love them. However, that means that I end up having to find staff from outside this region which is ridiculous.

What sets your guests’ experience apart from other hotels?

Both the location and the beauty of the surroundings are unbelievable. I think it’s a nice concept, very laid back and people feel they can kick back and relax. The food is amazing and the staff are always very friendly. The service alway gets a lot of praise.

What’s your favourite hotel worldwide?

The Amanpulo in the Philippines, it’s a paradise.

Where do you tend to go on holiday and which hotels do you stay in?

I haven’t been on a holiday since I acquired Vale do Gaio eight years ago. Since then there’s only been one weekend that I wasn’t here, and that was because it was one of my best friends’ birthday and he said he’d never talk to me again if I missed it. I love being at Vale do Gaio.

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Barragem Trigo de Morais, Torrão
7595-034 Alcacér do Sal
Portugal

Airport

Lisbon (LIS) – 116km
Faro (FAO) – 198km
Porto (OPO) – 404km

By Car

It’s a 1h30 drive from Lisbon to Vale do Gaio. Hiring a car is recommended if you want to explore the region. Otherwise, the hotel can arrange a transfer from the airport.

Car Rentals
We don’t own a car which means we hire a car for our JO&SO trips. We tend to use Europcar, as we like their cars, transparent fees and the service we receive. We always go for full insurance. It is more expensive, but we once had a flat tire and we were very happy to be fully covered.

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