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top flight:

a beauty
guru’s
portugal

Susanne Kaufmann, creator of the style set’s favorite luxe organic beauty line, shares her favorite locales around the latest It vacation spot.

Written By TARA LAMONT-DJITE

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The spa at HOTEL SÃO LOURENÇO DO BARROCAL / SUSANNE IN LISBON / the hotel spa / SUSANNE IN MONTSARAZ / PHOTOS COURTESY OF SUSANNE KAUFMANN

Austrian hotelier and spa owner Susanne Kaufmann is beloved for her line of minimal-chic organic beauty products, which she began creating in 2003 from locally sourced plants and herbs for her family’s incredible resort high in the Austrian Alps. From her renowned Nutrient Concentrate Skin Smoothing Serum (packed with active botanicals to soothe and plump fatigued complexions) to her apricot kernel-infused Detox Oil Body Scrub, Kaufmann’s collection is the beauty guru’s go-to for understated luxury. 

Kaufmann’s products are on the shelves of VIOLET GREY, but until recently spa treatments with the line were available only at Kaufmann’s eponymous Alpine spa. Fortunately for globe-trotting fans, a new location in trendy Portugal has them at the ready. This year, Kaufmann partnered with newly opened Hotel São Lourenço do Barrocal, a resort that shares her devotion to tradition, excellence, and low-key elegance, to open her first-ever stand-alone spa. Featuring four intimate treatment rooms, a dry sauna, and a hydrotherapy room with a wooden cedar bathtub, treatments range from Kaufmann’s signature Anti-Aging Facial (which incorporates her new anti-aging collection) to medicinal detox massages and a specialized postnatal body treatment that includes a skin-nourishing poultice for postbaby belly. 

While Barrocal is located deep within the rugged Portuguese countryside and features its own vineyard, cattle, and olive groves, the rest of the country is brimming with must-visit restaurants, vineyards, and shopping spots. Here, Kaufmann shares her favorites.

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: HOTEL SÃO LOURENÇO DO BARROCAL / COMPORTA BEACH / ESPORAO RESTAURANT / PHOTOS COURTESY OF SUSANNE KAUFMANN

STAY & SPA

In the Hotel Barrocal you’ll find furniture, dishes, and fabrics made from Portuguese manufacturers, which is really impressive. I didn’t realize what great craftspeople they have! Treatments in the spa are a must. I really enjoy the huge spa rooms; they’re incredibly special and stunning. The treatments are as effective as the ones we do in our Hotel Post in Bezau—I chose one of the anti-aging facial treatments because I love them. Barrocal also offers excellent local high-end cuisine. They use only products from the region and pursue sustainable development. My favorite dish is the fish from the Alqueva lake with cauliflower hot salad and coriander.

I also recommend horseback riding with Philipp (please say hello to him), especially the riding tour to and through the nearby town of Monsaraz. It was kind of an adventure; you feel like you’re in a Western movie! And of course you wear a cowboy hat.

SIP & SAVOR

Esporao is in the region of Monsaraz, and it’s a great vineyard with brilliant cuisine. I recommend having the wine pairing with the menu. My favorite is the Verdelho white and their very own 4 Castas red.

The restaurant Sabores de Monsaraz is an insider’s tip because of the lovely host Doña Isabel, who prepares wonderful traditional dishes. It’s a must if you like typical Portuguese food, and it’s only ten minutes by car from the Hotel Barrocal.

NEXT STOP: COMPORTA

The village of Comporta in the municipality of Alcácer [about two hours from Barrocal] is always worth a visit—it has a wonderful sandy beach, and the Museu de Arroz is a good reason to visit. But my favorite place in Comporta is the very old supermarket, called Cavalarica Gomes.

SAVOR

The restaurant Sal in Comporta’s Praia do Pego is famous for its wonderful fish dishes. Call Jorge, the manager, to reserve the table.

SHOP

Lavanda offers very nice bohemian chic clothes—I love the style.

Jacques Grange

This is the best place in Comporta to shop for interiors. The store is really beautiful and has lots of colorful decorations. Av. 18 de Dezembro, Carvalhal. 

WHEN IN LISBON...

Shopping musts

In Lisbon, I love DMG for glasses and Vista Alegre for dishes. I also got a great rug at Arraiolos Trevo.

If you have time while in the capital, this is another great place to eat—one of my favorites.

SEE

This is the the biggest museum in Lisbon and also the most beautiful. It presents a unique art collection that the Armenian oil magnate Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian left to the City of Lisbon. 

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