‘A refuge from the city’: Casa da Comporta, the beautiful beachside villa an hour from Lisbon

‘A refuge from the city’: Casa da Comporta, the beautiful beachside villa an hour from Lisbon

Pego is one of Comporta’s best beaches: a hip, under-the-radar stretch of the unspoilt Alentejo coast, an hour south of Lisbon. Wild and backed by grass-tufted sand dunes, it is just 300 metres away from Casa da Comporta, a villa so tranquil that pop stars retreat here to recuperate after shows in the capital. With proximity to the sea rare in these parts, thanks to strict planning regulations, this 10-person villa is a super find.

A beautifully imagined, single-storey slab of polished concrete and glass, this casa from casa makes the most of its situation, with a wooden decked terrace that spans the front of the property and looks out across reed beds towards the coast. While the dunes prevent any sea views, it is a tranquil place to sit, in grown-up but ultra-slouchy Adico deck chairs, while watching the sun set and listening to the sound of crashing Atlantic waves.

The rooftop pool CREDIT: PEDRO AIRES

“We wanted a refuge from the city,” the owner Joao, a father of three children told me. “And a place where we can share great moments with our closest friends.”

It’s clear that the villa has been lovingly decorated over some years, with most of the pieces in the house coming from the owner’s frequent trips around the world, and visitors will immediately notice the property’s homely feel. A selection of masks from Mozambique welcomes visitors in the lobby, while handicrafts and other indigenous pieces from North Africa and South America are dotted about the place. Varnished driftwood furniture, bought in Bali, makes a few appearances, with a tall bench in the hall and an impressive bowl-shaped coffee table in the lounge.

The master bathroom CREDIT: APC

Joao refers to the style as «ethnic chic», but elsewhere the house is resolutely sleek and modern. The vast, floor-to-ceiling windows here are protected by stylish, slatted sliding doors that add privacy after darkness but also help keep flies and mosquitos at bay. Light floods in from all angles of the house thanks to the nearly 360-degree glass walls that surround the property.

The kitchen manages to feel fairly rustic, despite its industrial-like work surfaces, thanks to the scattered rattan baskets that we borrowed one day to collect shells from the beach. It’s stocked with a coffee machine and everything else you might need.

In the sitting room, a distressed metal dining table is accompanied by mismatched leather chairs, an oversized lamp and a cow-hide rug. A telescope for stargazing above the serene, undeveloped landscape stands next to the front terrace, while nearby woven baskets contain tartan throws for cosy sunset-watching.

The villa’s grounds CREDIT: FILIPE VERA-CRUZ

We found ourselves thinking of the property as a sophisticated cave-like beach house that might appeal to bohemian Europeans. Cool inside and with smooth stone walls, the space is soothing despite all that exposed concrete. The building also features a peaceful courtyard and dining space that makes art of a young olive tree and tall papyrus grass.

Surrounding the villa is a sandy landscaped garden, with pathways curving through lavender beds and clumps of prairie flowers, past a roughly hewn children’s playground and up to a statement rooftop pool.

Here, a long, shaft of blue water cuts a streak across the roof in the direction of the sea. (Disappointingly, we didn’t realise it is only heated on request — guests will need to pay an additional €195 a week for the service, and should give the owners at least a couple of days notice to ensure it’s arranged in time.) A lawn, Weber barbecue, outdoor poufs and sun loungers are also found on the specially designed sundeck, which shares views of the surrounding countryside.

One of the simply decorated bedrooms CREDIT: ANA PEREIRA DA COSTA

It’s likely guests will spend their days enjoying Casa da Comporta’s grounds and exploring the surrounding beaches and seaside restaurants, but the property again comes into its own come nightfall. The snug has a television, DVDs and a log fire for curling up beside after a wind-swept day at the beach, perhaps having borrowed the villa’s own boogie boards or bicycles.

There are five bedrooms in total (two with en suites). The master reveals a unique four-poster bed, the top of which is crafted to resemble the asymmetrical branches of the pine trees outside. The quilts in the other rooms are decorated in delicate florals that — what with all the bare concrete — look cool rather than chintzy.

With a good beachside restaurant, Sal, also just a short walk away, you have all the ingredients here for a blissful holiday. “Pego and Comporta are quiet and full of charm but also have so many things to do,” the owner added, and we found this to be true. “We have the best beaches in the world but also amazing countryside to discover. It is very hard to put a label on the area. It is pretty much unique.”

Casa da Comporta sleeps 10 from €2,950 a week in low season.

For more on what to do in the region, see our feature on why Comporta is Portugal’s chicest beach retreat.