*As seen in The Logbook
Offering a unique and wholesome glamping experience aiming to reconnect guests to nature and themselves, Aterra Glamping is an ecological campsite located on the Southwest coast of Alentejo in Portugal. Founded in 2012 by Francisco and Claudia de Brion, avid travellers themselves, and surrounded by grass and woodlands, guests often comment on the immense, inescapable beauty of the location and the warm and welcoming hospitality.
“Aterra offers guests a unique combination of comfort and contact with nature,” Francisco says, “They get to have an ecological experience surrounded by animals and nature whilst relaxing in very comfortable and beautiful surroundings.”
THE GUEST EXPERIENCE
Located in an oasis, Aterra is a paradise teeming with vibrant life. Secluded and yet close to the local town and beaches it possesses an exotic feel, combining aspects from Asia and other destinations around the world that the couple have travelled to and been influenced by.
Aterra Eco Camping is especially popular with families and offers everything that guests can expect of a successful glamping site. Francisco and Claudia seek to provide guests with a taste of the freedom, peace and tranquillity that they enjoy themselves. And, to achieve this goal they have approached it with a holistic, healthy philosophy.
“Aterra is a chance to reconnect with nature and has been carefully designed to reflect our experiences,” Francisco says, “Having lived abroad and travelled widely, Aterra reflects the influences and inspirations that we have had from different cultures and styles.”
It is thanks to this that the resort has a hybrid element that combines Portuguese and regional specialties with other stylings and flavours of the world. Such as the strong and immediately recognisable Indian connection and affection.
THE ATERRA ENVIRONMENT
Accommodation at Aterra includes romantic Rajasthani tents, stunning yurts and stylish tipis. Each one of these abodes offers a unique experience for the guest which colours the visit in a deeply personal fashion. Considering that, when many of us wake most mornings in drab rooms with right angled walls and flat expressionless ceilings, it sets the entire day on a fresh tone to wake up somewhere unexpected, airy and beautiful.
“It’s a happy surprise first thing in the morning that gets the mind excited for what other unexpected but beautiful things are to come,” Francisco explains, “For some of our guests who have come to us for breaks from their busy professional lifestyles, this is enough to change their entire outlook.”
Then of course there are the views. The camp is near Sao Teotonio near the Vicentina Coastline, an area of outstanding natural beauty that offers stretches of beautiful beaches and headlands. It is a marvellous view which does deserve a moment to pause and be appreciated.
Days can be enjoyed participating in one of the many activities on offer, such as horse riding, cycling, yoga and kayaking. Or, guests can enjoy the calmness of this secluded sanctuary with a massage or chilling at the large freshwater lake or surfing at the nearby Vicentina Coastline.
As Aterra is surrounded by gardens, fruit trees and a mixed forest, the only sounds that guests hear come from the trees or the animals from the free range farm. They have a range including ducks, chickens, peacocks and geese, horses, donkeys, and of course resident dogs and cats. So, upon returning from a day’s activities you can chill and relax and not be disturbed by sounds of traffic, noisy neighbours, loud music or cities.
With a maximum capacity of thirty five guests spread across eight tents and one chalet, Francisco says that while their minimum stay is two nights, some guests stay for two weeks.
“Aterra provides a luxury camping experience where guests are able to hear the sounds of animals, yet relax in a comfortable, beautiful environment,” he says, “You can enjoy good food with an international menu, participate in activities, meet people, make friends and fully unwind. All surrounded by fresh air, beauty and nature.”
All of the construction is made from natural materials, mostly sourced from the surrounding area including wood, earth, stone, bamboo and cane and the architectural aesthetic of the camp blends perfectly with the surrounding lands, increasing that feeling of being included in nature and not separate from it.
AN ECO TOURISM SITE
As an ecological destination, much has been done in the background to ensure that the site has next to no impact on the surrounding land. Francisco explains that while most guest mostly don’t even realize the infrastructure that has been assembled in the background, a great deal of work has been put into the site to ensure that their footprint is particularly green.
“There are a number of outstanding features that have been introduced to engage the guests more with nature,” Francisco says, “These include compost toilets, solar heated water and all of the structures are made from natural materials and as they are open to the nature, full of fresh air.”
According to Francisco, something that often goes unappreciated at eco-neutral glamping sites like Aterra, is the balance between being completely eco-focussed but still offering hotel standard comforts. Guests are looking for the best of both worlds when they arrive. Being able to enjoy the smells, sounds and sights of nature while knowing they’ll be able to lay their heads onto good pillows and sink into a comfortable mattress at night.
“A huge amount of maintenance is required from our team of ten,” he says, “As all the natural materials need constant care and treatment to maintain them. For example, in the spring we need to re-wax, oil or varnish all of the wooden surfaces and if anything gets damaged it needs to be repaired as soon as possible. At the end of the season, all of the tents are taken down, washed and carefully stored.”
This is over-and-above the daily routine of cleaning and maintaining the general parts of the site. Toilets and showers are cleaned daily and all communal areas are maintained constantly to keep them welcoming and tidy. Francisco tells us that part of the upkeep is also the calm, social respect between guests with considerate etiquette.
“Guests are asked to remove shoes when entering the main reception and dining areas,” he says, “An ideal paradise does not include muddy footprints on the floor.”
Their overall approach has been noticed and they were awarded the coveted Green Award by Trip Advisor and were ranked in the top 20 best sites for Glamping by The Times UK!
“We regard our business as an open house and therefore our relations between our staff and with clients is of upmost importance,” he says, “We introduce ourselves to every guest, I serve the breakfast every day and always like to have contact with everyone staying with us.”
For Francisco and Claudia, the real reward is for guests to leave feeling refreshed and renewed and wanting to return.
WIFI: There is good WIFI in the main reception and dining areas as well as seated laptop friendly areas with close access to power points.
TRANSPORT: It is advisable to hire a car to be able to explore the surrounding area and local beaches. There is parking on site.
PRICE: 65€ to 130€ per night.
ADDRESS: Carvalhal das Figueiras, Corgo da Casca, 5707, S. Teotonio.
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 00351936914279