Set in a vineyard, between Braga and Guimarães, in the grounds of Quinta da Tapada, the Pool House has stunning views over the Serra do Lombão and Serra da Falperra. It is 10 minutes from the Roman city of Braga and 20 minutes from the World Patrimony medieval city of Guimarães. Taipas, with its weekly market, thermal spa, cafés, supermarkets, banks and shops is 5 minutes away and the village of Longos boasts several cafés, excellent local restaurants and a mini-market.
The Pool House is a short walk away from the owner's granite stone farmhouse, on a lower terrace, with stunning views over the mountains and distant villages. Guests arrive to a welcome hamper and wine made at the farm.
Guests have free access to wander around the vines. They are also given a bottle or two of the house wine.
Fruit trees abound - figs in the autumn, oranges, lemons, kiwis in the Winter, plums in the Summer. Guests are invited to help themselves and to make fruit juice or even jam, if they are inspired.
The house looks over the pool, 5 metres from the veranda. The pool is tiled, salt-water and measures 12m x 6m. It is shared only with the owners, who use it rarely. The pool is illuminated at night and the garden is lawned at the front and has fruit trees and raspberries behind the house. At night, in the distance, you can see the twinkling lights of various villages.
There is a solar shower next to the pool, sun loungers, a hammock, parasols, with various tables and chairs throughout the garden.
The house has 2 good sized bedrooms. The front bedroom has sliding doors onto the garden. The bed is Queen-sized (1.60mx2m). It has a large wardrobe, table, chairs, bedside lockers etc.
The back bedroom has twin beds, a large wardrobe, table, chairs etc. All the windows have electric blinds as well as white voile curtains.
The veranda has the dining area to one side, next to the BBQ and the sitting area to the other side with a wall mounted TV, showing all Portuguese and British channels through satellite TV. There are bi-fold doors, which can be kept shut on chilly days and open on hot summer days. There is a wood burner on the veranda, so guests can enjoy a room with a view (over the valley and the pool) as well as enjoying the atmosphere of a wood burning stove.
All the rooms have central heating.
The ceilings throughout the Pool House are sloping, beamed and made of solid pine. The doors are also of pine and the bathroom has wooden panelling.
The bathroom has a large shower, heavy glass wash-hand basin and WC. The owners provide shampoo, shower gel, soap, toothpaste and there is a hair dryer.
There is another bathroom near the pool, down a small flights of steps. It has a shower, WC, wash hand basin and is set on its own terrace, with a table and chairs - to enjoy a moment of quiet and calm, watching the setting sun in the evenings, over a glass of wine.
The kitchen is fully equipped, with state of the art washing machine, dishwasher, induction cooker, microwave, lots of cupboards, Nespresso coffee machine, crockery, glass-ware etc. The table seats 4-6 people.
There is another sitting area in the kitchen itself, with a flat-screen TV, a DVD player, coffee table, bookshelves etc. It has large full length sliding glass doors onto the veranda, which has been converted into a sitting room, with its bi-fold doors, wood burner, table, sofa and chairs, a wall-mounted large flat TV screen with satellite TV - all overlooking the pool, with mountain views and surrounded by pleasant gardens and vines on various terraces above and below the house. A few feet away from the veranda there is a built-in BBQ.
Guests enter through the wrought iron gates of the farmhouse (where the owners live with their 3 children) and then turn off to their own car-park. A little gate gives them access to the pool area and house. The owners rent a ground floor apartment in the farmhouse during the winter - the pool is exclusive to the Pool House and the owners. It is possible to rent both houses (the Pool House and the apartment) - ideal for large groups of up to 10 people. Both are separately listed with HomeAway.
The Pool House is a beautiful place to spend time. The views are beautiful day and night, summer and winter.
Behind the farmhouse there are forest walks, which come out at Sameiro and Bom Jesus. Both have beautiful gardens and several cafes, views over Braga and baroque churches. The area itself is rich in churches, monasteries, Celtic sites and natural parks. The seaside at Esposende is a 35 minute drive away. Porto is 1 hour away and it is possible to drive to the Douro valley and be back in time for afternoon tea.
The pool is shared with the owners and their children, who take the occasional dip. They also come down to the house to water the grass and clean the pool (with a state of the art robot!) They are happy to make suggestions to guests- tell them about local festivals that are happening and to recommend restaurants. They have been living here for 20 years, so know the area well.
If you like to feel you're in the country, but near shops, restaurants, winebars, cinemas - this is the perfect place for you.
This is the ideal place for the health conscious - in the Winter there is an abundance of oranges, lemons and kiwis. For those who like cycling they can do the cycle route from Guimarães to Fafe - hiring electric bicycles. The shop is right next to the cycle path and prices are reasonable.
Pilates is an option - bringing a qualified teacher to the house to start the day with gentle warm-up exercises, set to soft music. (Additional cost involved)
Behind the house there are lots of woodland walks - leading to Sameiro and Bom Jesus. This year Bom Jesus has been qualified as a World Heritage site. It is well worth the walk or drive to see the Baroque church and staircase, with beautiful flower beds, a lake, grottos etc.
If you like history, the Celtic settlement of Citânia de Briteiros is 10 minutes away - it's fascinating to see how people lived over 2000 years ago.
On to the sports front - there is a table tennis table with bats and balls provided.
5 minutes away is the spa town of Taipas - it's possible to spoil yourself at the thermal spa. The indoor pool is naturally heated and next to it is a Turkish bath and sauna. If you book a day or two in advance it is possible to have a massage or vichy shower.Get the full listing »