Carmo’s Boutique Hotel: A Small Luxury Hotel In Portugal’s Most Spectacular Region

Carmo’s Boutique Hotel: A Small Luxury Hotel In Portugal’s Most Spectacular Region

  It’s no secret that, given our travel lifestyle, we’ve stayed in countless hotels, hostels, resorts and apartments of all shapes, sizes and prices around the world. Throughout this time, we’ve learned that our favorite kind of accommodation is the small luxury hotel. The type of place that’s more like a friend’s guesthouse than a business—accommodation where you feel right at home (albeit more often than not at a much more stylish and luxurious home.) These small and personal hotels always go down as the most memorable, actually enhancing our travel experiences rather than just serving as a place to fall asleep at the end of a long day. Carmo’s Boutique Hotel in Ponte de Lima, Portugal, is exactly this kind of place (and more.) The family-run luxury hotel is not only uniquely gorgeous in every way, but it’s also conveniently located in one of our favorite spots in Portugal, the Minho region. If you’re looking for a memorable, off-the-beaten-track Portuguese experience, this is it. Here’s a closer look at why we love Carmo’s Boutique Hotel and the Minho region so much:   Carmo’s Boutique Hotel: A Small Luxury Hotel Of The World   It doesn’t take long to realize why Carmo’s consistently wins awards for being one of the world’s best small luxury hotels. Located down a quiet country road surrounded by rolling hills, you might drive right past Carmo’s if you didn’t know to look for it. Once inside, the hotel grounds begin to unfold into a quiet oasis of gardens and vineyards.     Carmo’s Boutique Hotel has just fifteen suites and two ultra-glamorous tents. You’ll...
A Must-Try Douro Valley Wine Tour in Portugal

A Must-Try Douro Valley Wine Tour in Portugal

    The Douro Valley makes a dramatic first impression. With its rolling green hills, a mighty river and lush vineyards and olive groves, it’s hard to imagine a better backdrop for sipping fine ports and table wines.     While the Douro Valley isn’t necessarily a secret, the destination doesn’t see nearly as many tourists as other famed wine regions such as Bordeaux or Napa. Drive just a few minutes outside of the main town of Pinhão, and you’ll encounter picturesque towns devoid of any tourists, seemingly pulled straight out of a storybook.     Even with its sleepy charm, you won’t have any trouble discovering spectacular vistas, delectable cuisine and memorable wines—if you know where to go.   Enter: Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours     It’s no secret that we love wine and food tours. From Hong Kong to Paris to Boston, we’ve had quite a few incredible foodie experiences. But of them all, our Wine and Olive Oil Tour with Jorge easily tops out as most memorable—for all the right reasons. The best wineries in the Douro Valley are spread out, and most require advanced reservations for a tasting. We wanted to discover top table wines, but we also wanted to do it in a way that would let us get to know the winemakers and ideally find undiscovered wines from small but passionate producers. Jorge Barefoot Wine & Tours was the perfect solution. We set up a private, full-day tour, meeting from our apartment in Provezende, then set out on what would be the highlight of Portuguese adventure.   An Introduction To Winemaking In...
An Inside Look At The Art Of Making Mezcal—Oaxaca, Mexico

An Inside Look At The Art Of Making Mezcal—Oaxaca, Mexico

    Think of Mexico and chances are that a few of the first beverages to come to mind are tequila and Corona. But visit Oaxaca, Mexico, and you’ll quickly discover it’s actually mezcal that tops the list for beverage of choice.     We had never heard of mezcal (let alone tasted it), so we were immediately intrigued by the intimate mezcal bars we found tucked away in ever-so-charming Oaxaca City. Naturally it only took one spicy mezcal margarita to convert us into avid fans of the artisanal liquor. However, it wasn’t until we received an inside look at the process of making mezcal from a local farmer that we truly began to appreciate mezcal for the art form that it is.   An Inside Look At The Art Of Making Mezcal—Oaxaca, Mexico   Photo by Cantimplora Travel  What Is The Difference Between Mezcal and Tequila?   Mezcal, like tequila, is made from the agave plant. But while true tequila can only be made using the Blue Agave plant, mezcal is produced from over 30 varieties of agave. Additionally, most tequilas are made in industrial size, stainless-steel pressure cookers. Artisan mezcals are hand-crafted using a variety of more traditional techniques.     Talk to many Mexicans and they’ll tell you that they much prefer organic mezcals to chemical-laden tequilas. This is especially true in Oaxaca, where up to 90% of mezcals are produced, and each batch of mezcal has its own unique, wonderful flavor.   Meeting A Mezcal Farmer   We had the one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet an inspiring mezcal farmer and learn more about the mezcal making...
The Ultimate Romantic Dinner Experience – Dining in Santorini

The Ultimate Romantic Dinner Experience – Dining in Santorini

Santorini is hands-down one of the most romantic places we have ever visited. The iconic white-washed buildings with bright blue domes, the expansive Aegean Sea, the uniquely dramatic caldera vistas…it’s enough to make anyone swoon.           On top of the picture-perfect views, Santorini also boasts world-renowned wineries and delectable local products—the perfect conditions for a wonderfully romantic five-course dinner. It had been a while since we’d dressed to impress and enjoyed fine dining, so our first night in Santorini we decided to join Gastronomy Santorini for one of their five-course tasting menus. The experience turned out to be so delightful—and the food so delicious—that we opted to do it again our final night in Santorini, too! Both occasions with Gastronomy Santorini were absolute perfection, and easily some of the best food we indulged in during our entire thirty days in Greece. The five-course dinner is set at the restaurant of Above Blue Suites in Imervigoli. Imervigoli, in our opinion, is the absolute best place to watch the sun set in Santorini; a dinner here is worth it for the breathtaking views alone. If you head to Oia, Santorini’s most famous (and, as a result, most touristy) neighborhood to watch the sun go down, you’ll be dodging selfie sticks. At Above Blue Suites, we had nothing but tranquility, mouth-watering food, and, of course, a few glasses of wine to accompany our sweeping view.       Since we did the Santorini Five Courses Menu twice, we were able to indulge in a variety of different menu items. We don’t want to spoil all the details, but...
Sunday Snapshot | A Trip Through The Tuscan Countryside | Italy

Sunday Snapshot | A Trip Through The Tuscan Countryside | Italy

Where was the last place that you traveled that made you feel giddy? I don’t mean like it blew your mind or made you feel a million miles away, but a place that made you so excited that you just couldn’t sit still. When we were in Greece just a few weeks ago, the views of Santorini blew my mind and rock climbing on Kalymnos made me feel a million miles away. Tuscany makes us giddy....