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Naturarte Boutique Hotel –  Portugal

Location: Alentejo, Portugal
Airport: Lisbon (2 ½ hour) or Faro (2 hours)
Horses: 10 horses in total. Most of them Lusitanos. 2 ponies.
Discipline: Classical dressage, Working Equitation, Trail Rides
Number of guests: Maximum 4 riders. The hotel has a capacity of around 50 guests in total.
Season: Year-round
Level: All levels from beginners to experienced riders.
Website: www.naturarte.pt
E-mail: naturarte@naturarte.pt
Facebook: www.facebook.com/naturarte

Naturarte is a nice, family-run boutique hotel located in the south-west of Alentejo, around 13 km from the coastal village Vilanova de Milfontes and 1 km from Sao Luis. The hotel is split into two locations; Naturarte Campo which is closest to the stables and Sao Luis, and Naturarte Rio around 10 minutes` drive towards the coast.

I visited Naturarte in May 2018, and you can read about my experiences here.

Philosophy
The Graca family who owns the hotel has a passion for the region, architecture, gastronomy and art in addition to the horses, and they have put a lot of work into the details as well as to run a sustainable business. Pamela Wieser, who is in charge of the riding at Naturarte, and her husband Rui Graca, are dressage riders themselves training by the traditional classical principles focusing on lightness, patience and sensitivity. It is important to them that the horses live as naturally as possible, outside in a herd with a lot of space to move, and that they are treated with fairness and respect. Even though the hotel has a capacity for many guests, they limit the number of riders at a time to be able to give full focus and to not overwork the horses.

Accommodation
Naturarte Campo has 10 double rooms, 2 apartments with 1 bedroom and 1 apartment with 2 bedrooms – all individually decorated, and some with antique furniture and artwork belonging to the family. On this location, there are also common areas such as reception, lounge, swimming pool, tennis court and dinner service. The dinner is 3 courses and the menu vary from day to day. During the day they serve light meals such as salads, toast or omelettes.

Naturarte Rio has 3 apartments with 1 bedroom, 3 apartments with 1 bedroom + a mezzanine (4 beds in total) and 1 apartment with 2 bedrooms. This location is more secluded and private than Naturarte Campo, and as it is set high up in the terrain it has beautiful views. Rio also has a swimming pool, and it is possible to order meals delivered to the room from the kitchen at Naturarte Campo.

Courses
The riding is booked separately, and there is a choice of dressage, Working Equitation and trail rides (1 hour). The horses are steady and gentle, so both children and adults at all levels are welcome.

Horses
The horses live outside all year and have access to large areas where they live as natural as possible in a herd consisting of horses and ponies at all age levels. There are also stables for use when necessary. The stallions are in separate fields next to each other.
All of the horses are barefoot, and they use boots when going outside on the trails to protect the hoofs from rough terrain. Sidepulls are used for most of the horses, and with such a big focus on light aids, the horses that use a bit are never ridden with a strong contact. The saddles are English as well as classical baroque saddles. Most of the horses are Lusitanos, well known for their quiet temper and talent for classical dressage movements – the perfect teachers. The training facilities consist of a dressage arena, round pen, an arena for Working Equitation and beautiful nature trails.

Recommendation
Naturarte is suitable for everyone from beginners who want a safe introduction on steady horses to experienced dressage riders who want to develop their skills after the classical principles. This location is also very nice for those who want to combine the riding with other holiday activities in the summer season as it has a swimming pool and beautiful hiking trails, as well as the coastline a short drive away.
A charming boutique hotel with a homely atmosphere and hosts with good and sustainable values!

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