We give back to Guimarães and within minutes we passed shoe factories that give rise to and cultivated green fields on the slopes. We are coming to São Torcato and the imposing sanctuary of the same name immediately draws attention. It is almost impossible not seeing, perched on top of the village. Curve curved surrounded by Minho road stone walls, we got to the first local accommodation of the land , on the slope that extends the shadow of the sanctuary.
When Armindo Carvalho decided to venture into this business, for more than three years, São Torcato had "one bed" to receive those who visit them, for business or tourism. The entrepreneur, native of this village of Guimarães, He did not let himself be ashamed and wanted to bet on a "different segment". For the company that manages for 22 years, in the field of decorative fabrics - or were not we in a part of the country where the textile industry is queen -, seeked experience in materials. And the cabinet CREAR - Design and Architecture and Engineering Studies, from Guimarães, the draft straight lines and earth tones that contrast with the rest of rural houses and white. It is the Vale de São Torcato.
"My idea was to create a sort of village, a gated community ", tells the owner. The land has a slight slope and the houses - modules with 40 square meters - accompanying the rise and provide little nooks between porches and stone walls that divide spaces (also all accessible by ramps). The pergolas that dot the gardens, with fruit trees and camellias in bloom, and the wood of the houses and the huge deck wood in the pools area transmit the look "more rural" village. "Our ambassadors add some modernity and differentiation", underlines Armindo Carvalho.
The ambassadors refered are the two artists whose works are exhibited in all areas of the Vale de São Torcato, Pedro Guimarães and Dinis Ribeiro. The large screen prints signed by the first, natural of Guimarães, occupy the walls of the rooms, ass well as Wine Bar's. It is also designed by this artist representing the São Torcato shrine that serves as the logo tourist resort. The second, born in São Torcato and training in masonry and woodwork, He is the author of stone sculptures scattered throughout the property and also in the accommodation.
Common to all seven houses is the T1, with kitchenette totally equiped, dining table, sofa and armchair and a private porch with a right to deck of wood and canvas chairs. The invitation to peace comes, this way, from every corner of the enterprise. The decoration of houses - and double room located near the reception - Armindo Carvalho's responsibility, which is concerned primarily with one aspect: comfort. And after a good night's sleep, end-of-week storm Hugo, we can say that the mission was accomplished. Because the houses are soundproofed, nor roosters in neighboring yards are heard. And because the beds - this fundamental element in any hotel room - are dressed in cotton clothing "100% Portuguese" and quantity in pads, we came almost late for breakfast, served at the Wine Bar during the colder months.
Here there is no buffet: the first meal of the day is served at the table, entitled to the classic coffee with milk and tea, orange juice, cereals and seasonal fruits, yogurts, a basket of fresh bread and croissants and a cheese board and Minho's sausages , of those which fill the eye. And for those who prefer to take breakfast in the comfort of home, is possible - upon request at no extra cost - receive a personalized basket and put the table still in pajamas .
This that is, this way, the first (it's unique) accommodation unit in this Guimarães village about 3300 population (according to the Census 2011) "stirred with the local economy". The loaves and croissants served for breakfast are made in the village bakery, who also adapted the production to the needs of the Vale de São Torcato, such as the local laundry. The new development also allowed the restoration of a green area near the brook that runs across the street, with a small miniature circuit and an area designed for picnics, with barbecue available to guests. Soon is the construction of a small glass building near the pool area, which they will be installed a gym and a massage room, and the presentation of the Wine Bar with a new concept and refreshments.
The families, continues Armindo Carvalho, are attracted by the wide spaces where children can play and be outdoors - from the playground to the bike tours, passing through the two pools, one for adults and one for children -, but also many Spanish tourists arrive, outing the region and in search of Guimarães traditions, only six kilometers away. Now the rest of St. Torcato is already recognized outside, the entrepreneur who conceived the mission already has another, very ambitious: "I would like to see São Torcato be recognized as Guimarães's capital of Popular Culture."
Fugas was housed at the invitation of the Vale de São Torcato
Henriques, Ana Maria “Sleeping in the shadow of St. Torcato”. Fugas. 31 March, 2018.