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Discovering rare places brings a sense of achievement that you savour all the more when you are not expecting it. Not far from the Alentejo coast, in the south of Portugal towards the Algarve, Santiago do Cacém if the perfect spot to experience this sensation. Away from the more touristy areas, the village is crowned with impressive ramparts that tumble down the hillside and the peaceful streets lined with white houses. Among them is the Casa de Santiago, a somewhat inconspicuous property with its large simple facade. It has a passion for keeping the memory of its long history shaped by illustrious characters alive. From furniture and paintings to trinkets and original decorations - each piece showcases past generations with an open and generous spirit. Outside, the limpid sky illuminates fields and hills down to the ocean. And if that is not enough, the extraordinary archaeological site in the ancient Roman city of Miróbriga nearby will surely convince any in doubt of the region's exceptional nature and heritage.
This house has belonged to our family for over two hundred years. Our grandparents, our parents and ourselves have lived here. After inheriting the house, my brother and I decided to create a "turismo de habitação" (a kind of unique bed & breakfast) and developed the "Casa de Santiago" project. It was an opportunity for us to return to our roots and reinvest our heritage so that we can pass it on to future generations. We also wanted to sustain the welcoming spirit developed by our ancestors by sharing this unique family spirit with guests at Casa de Santiago.
The house has two floors and thick walls that are painted white. On the first floor, tall French windows with balconies and ironwork are framed by stone lintels that form a classical facade. One of them overlooking the inner garden is surmounted by the family coat of arms carved in granite. All of the windows and French windows have their original wooden shutters. The floors are parquet and some of the ceilings are in wood. The roof is made from canal tile and is surmounted by a single skylight with a sash window. The house was rebuilt after the great earthquake of 1755 and still has the atmosphere of a traditional 18th century family home with different living spaces, lounges with objects steeped in history and an old kitchen with copper and brass utensils on the walls. The outdoor areas consist of a topiary garden in the shade of a large araucaria, a garden with fruit trees near the pool, and an organic vegetable garden used for home cooking.
It was once home to the warrior brothers of the Order of Santiago. They took care of the parish church of Santiago (St James the Great), which is right next to the house. In the 16th century, the house belonged to the Feio family. Destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, it was rebuilt between 1797 to 1802 by Francisca Teresa of São José Nobre Pacheco, the widow of João Falcão Murzello of Mendonço. She then passed it on to her grandson Jacinto Paes de Matos Falcão, the first count of Bracial and an important landowner and benefactor of Santiago do Cacém. His daughter then inherited the house. Widowed and childless, she bequeathed the house to her cousin and goddaughter, Maria Dores Cabral Parreira, who was married to Cavalry Captain António Lobo de Vasconcellos, son of General José Lobo de Vasconcellos, senior army officer and aide de camp of Their Majesties the Kings D. Carlos and D. Manuel II. Maria and Antonio were our grandparents.
Staying at Casa de Santiago is like travelling back in time, but with the comforts of the 21st century. Each salon is unique and has its own identity. The main living room is decorated with several portraits and rare wallpapers that depict hunting scenes and line the dining room. The dinner room is equipped with a fireplace, you can spend hours listening to music there. The gardens are perfect for sipping a cocktail before dinner or simply relaxing under the gigantic araucaria, amidst a variety of rosebushes, plants and archaeological pieces. You can enjoy your meals on the patio with Alentejo paving, or explore the upper garden with a heated pool, a former dovecote and various spots for relaxation. Massages and yoga classes are available on request, along with private cultural walks and excursions with electric bikes. Most importantly, we offer our guests the experience of a family home. We are there to host them, prepare exclusive and seasonal meals upon request, organise cellar tours, horse-riding on the beach, surfing lessons, bird-watching and many other activities.
At Casa de Santiago, traditional meals are served with fresh produce from the garden or local producers. However, we would also recommend some top gastronomic spots such as the "Retiro do Escova" restaurant, the "Mercado Mesa" or "Luis" for some superb grilled fish. A visit to Pastelaria (pastry) Serra is a good opportunity to savour "pastéis de nata" and other traditional Portuguese treats and pastries. Comporta with the softness of Portuguese life, glowing sunsets, rice fields and long, quiet beaches as far as the eye can see is not very far from here.
1500 € - 1750 € / week
The house can accommodate fourteen people. Six of the seven bedrooms are spread over the two levels of the house. Some are equipped with private bathrooms and others have a shared bathroom. The seventh bedroom is a suite with a bathroom located in the garden. The house has fourteen rooms in total, including several lounges with different atmospheres and experiences, such as the large living room, the TV room overlooking the garden, two dining rooms with a cosy fireplace and the book room which a privileged place to read, work or simply relax.
120 € - 185 € / night
Six of the seven bedrooms are spread over the two levels of the house. Some are equipped with private bathrooms and others have a shared bathroom. The seventh bedroom is a suite with a bathroom located in the garden.