The imposing main building of this hotel in Amares is unexpected after the twists and turns of a mountain road, where there are still old ladies with scarves on their head, lambs and goats in the pastures, and a rural and beautiful Portugal. Architecturally sublime, in a Souto Moura project, awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2011 (the greatest architecture award in the world), whereas the stones available were used to build a new space, protecting the notion of the ruins in transformation, which had so much influence over the centuries of history of this space.
It is much more than a hotel, it is a real trip back in time. And to get to the Pousada, you have to go to the center of Amares and follow the road of Gerês. It is the best way for an unforgettable stay.
Here, you can switch between contemporary arts, secular stones and stripped and monastic language, provides absolute comfort at all times, but never fails to forget its past austerity. With minimalist decor and key collection points, this is the most impressive monastery one may visit in Portugal.
Be amazed by the extraordinary strength of the cloister, where old orange further embellish the stone worn by time. A small river that comes from the mountains of Nossa Senhora da Abadia, makes its own way through here. You will meet it again at the bar and in the old tank reservoir, with its beautiful fountain wrapped in climbing plants. Order an aperitif or tea and let yourself be swept away by the hypnotic movement of the sun on the windows or by the huge fireplace that was left from the seventeenth century reconstruction.
If you're a photography and architecture lover, the corridor of arches - extending from the bar to the restaurant, through the games room, lounge and billiards - where the arches seem to get smaller and smaller, create a permanent optical illusion. Decorated with wood worked from the ancient monastery doors, they are a unique element.
Whatever the purpose of your visit is, you will surely be captivated by the tranquility and security that you get in this old house, whose origins are entwined with the very origins of Portugal.
If you come in the summer, there are numerous areas where you can rest or just contemplate: the huge terrace overlooking the reflecting pool and the grazing meadows, with their refreshing sun hats, is the ideal place read one of the daily newspapers, or use your tablet and enjoy the view. Also, you can go to the pool, the only one in the country made completely of marble and with a view of the endless mountains.
It's estimated that the Monastery of Santa Maria de Bouro was inhabited by monks in 1180, who rapidly grew rich because of the royal protection, which defended the religious community in Bouro, by the end of the sixteenth century. Upon arrival at the courtyard, the initial impact is impressive: the church, fully restored in the seventeenth century, with its two bell towers, and the monastery's structure rebuilt, symbolize the strength of a structure that repeatedly rose from its own rubble. If you are interested in history, the rich and curious story of the Cistercian Order, which was held for so many centuries in this space, gives you hours of research and interpretation of the spaces that surround you.
After all, it is not every day that you find details of everything about the Pousada de Santa Maria do Bouro: the hermits who lived here from the time of D. Afonso Henriques had access to cropland and herding, abundant water and, with the establishment of the Cistercian Order, art and enough ingenuity to be self-sustaining. Interestingly, it was necessary to create a division between the white habit monks, which followed the Cistercian religious rule to the letter, through prayer; and converted monks, who wore brown habits, entrusted with the responsibilities of the agricultural space, but living with greater freedom, and not being bound to the religious service seven times a day. After the extinction of the religious orders, a midwife moved into a part of the monastery where many babies entered the world.