The Xintara Retreats take place in Sintra, Portugal. The combined Xintara properties of Quinta Sao Bento and Quinta Matalva are located on a 10 acre site within the UNESCO World Heritage National Park of Sintra and adjacent to the Botanical Gardens of the Palace of Monserrate.
The property is a 30-40 minute drive from the International Airport of Lisbon but at the same time is located down a quiet and secluded track/’caminho’ with a small number of other private properties.
The property is a 16th Century historic Quinta originally built by Gaspar de Cisneros, a noble Knight of the House of the Duke of Braganza. The property was subsequently gifted to the Monastery of the Trinity and used for hundreds of years as a small monastic retreat for ailing monks to convalesce and benefit from its regenerative properties. In 1981, the property was acquired and renovated by the Bryers family.
The Quinta has 10 bedrooms across two buildings, two swimming pools, a chapel and extensive private gardens. Xintara retreats can host a maximum total of 20 people across the 10 bedrooms but the average number of people on retreat tends to be 12 to 16.
The name ‘Xintara’ comes from the old Moorish name for Sintra. The Moors arrived in Portugal from the dry deserts of North Africa in the 9th Century and identified the cool forested mountain range and clear springs of Sintra as an earthly paradise in which to build their palaces and castles.
The moors brought with them an advanced civilisation, fruit such as oranges and pears, and sophisticated cultivation techniques. Sintra has a long tradition and history of poets, writers and hermits seeking its refuge to find inspiration, beauty and calm. The Portuguese royal family selected Sintra as its summer retreat to escape the summer heat of Lisbon. The English poet Lord Byron described Sintra as ‘a garden of Eden’. Sintra is now a UNESCO World Heritage protected National Park, only 30km up the coast from Lisbon.
Xintara uses a large ground floor room of a converted barn as an indoor yoga room. The room has multiple doors opening out onto a terrace and arched colonnade surrounding a lemon tree, and is bordered by geranium flower bushes and a large fig tree.
Matts, blankets and cushions are provided. Capacity in this room is between 16-20 people, with an adjacent outdoor terrace and colonnade providing some extra space.
There are a number of different outdoor yoga areas including a long lawn on a terrace above the swimming pool, and the surrounding area of the chapel with views down the valley.
For meditation or Nidra sessions, we have a range of quiet room options available including the use of the chapel or the 16th Century Main room with arched ceilings.
Accommodation options and bathrooms
There are 10 bedrooms at Xintara each named after a famous foreign visitor who fell in love with Sintra. Summary plaques of the history of these visitors is provided in each bedroom.
Of the 10 bedrooms, 6 have double beds and 4 have twin beds.
Four of the bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms, and 6 of the bedrooms share 3 bathrooms between them.
Full details of rooms and bed sizes/bathrooms can be provided on request- seen on the Xintara website.
There are two swimming pools available to guests, a large heated outdoor pool with an infinity edge towards a historic fountain and a smaller pool located on the terrace of Quinta Matalva.
Most of the time we try and eat outdoors on the large terrace that looks out onto the garden and down the valley towards the sea. If the weather does not permit this, or during winter evenings, we will use the beautiful dining room with its 16th century ceilings or the kitchen which benefits from a long oak table. We have the capacity to cater for up to 20 people outside on the terrace, and a similar number indoors.
We have specially selected menus based on Portuguese traditional flavours as well as vegetarian options. The proximity to the sea ensures a good supply of fresh fish and produce from our own garden as well as the local farmer markets provide a wide supply of fresh vegetables and fruit.
Modern Portuguese cooking has increasingly become recognised through the work of renowned chefs such as Nuno Mendes of London’s Chiltern Firehouse and his use of anchovies from the Azores and croquettes of cuttlefish. Specific cooking (vegetarian, vegan or Portuguese) classes can also be organised for an additional charge.
The beautiful gardens of the Quinta are one of its most notable features. The Quinta is located in extensive gardens including a central hedge garden, sloping lawns, and terraced plantations of fruit trees and flowers that extend the hill towards a forest backdrop. A range of vegetables and fruit are grown in the garden for use in the preparation of meals for guests.
The Quinta is a place of rest and repose. There are large outdoor terraces around both houses where most of the meals tend to be taken. There are also quite chill out terraces upstairs in both properties that allow for private relaxation looking onto the backdrop of the forested hills that sweep down the valley towards the sea.
Communal lounge with fireplace, fully equipped catered kitchen.
Table Tennis and BBQ is also available for guests.
Secure gated parking is available.
- Cooking classes
Activities offered offsite include:
- Body boarding
- Coastal hiking
- Cultural trips to the Palacio de Monserrate, Sintra Palace, the monastery of Capuchos and the Moorish battlements.
- In addition, and depending on the season, evening arrangements can be made to visit bars where live Fado (traditional Portuguese folk songs) can be experienced.
The Xintara Retreat hosting package is designed to allow a Retreat Leader to just focus on their teaching with their group and for everything else to be provided ( Airport pick up and drop off, shuttle for daily travel, full board and accommodation, cleaning and services, local advice from guides).
Each package is designed specifically for the Retreat Leader. An example of previous packages includes the outline below:
Xintara Retreat Hosting Services for 2020 over a 5 night retreat
Quinta Sao Bento- £895 per person
Quinta Matalva- £695 per person
Single supplement of £250.
Minimum number of guests 10.
Location and how to get there
Xintara Retreats are located about 30km north of Lisbon. It is a 30-40 minute drive from Lisbon airport to Xintara and airport pick-ups and drop-offs are provided as part of the Retreat Hosting package. Sintra also has a small train station with frequent trains to Lisbon- Rossio Station.