There’s nothing quite like strolling through a great art gallery, pondering the painted subject and appreciating the artist’s intention through their art. Allowing yourself to switch off from the everyday noise and let your mind go into deeper reflection. So imagine a retreat-style hotel that offers all of this and more. Convento Inn and Artists Residency in the Ribatejo area of Portugal is an interesting concept – a beautiful and inspiring place, where artists and thinkers can come together to discuss and create or just simply appreciate, an environment in which art and academia are celebrated in all their forms.
Built on the site of a 16th century Franciscan convent, and just over an hour’s drive from Lisbon on the banks of the Tabus River, the beautifully restored Convento Inn’s simplistic architecture is in no way reflective of the sumptuous comfort and eclectic design awaiting within. Inside is a celebration of the Arts, set throughout with interesting and thought provoking artworks and secluded spaces for mind reflection. This is a melding of traditional Portuguese history and modern amenities with a homely ambience, all coming together to pay homage to the Arts.
Recent visitors to the Convento Inn had this to say, ‘The elegant Convento was a visual treat with an interesting mixture of old and new art very tastefully arranged in the stunning and lovingly restored chapel and buildings. The beautiful selection of artworks of paintings, ceramics and sculptures were displayed throughout the various rooms revealing an eclectic mix of various styles and mediums. Every aspect of the convent was a visual delight’.
Guests and residents are openly encouraged to explore the natural beauty of the area with its green meadows, olive groves, the inspiring UNESCO World Heritage site of Tomar and Mira d’Aire limestone caves, as well as gothic churches and imposing castles with their hidden secrets about the Knights Templar – then there’s the local wine tasting and delicious fresh produce – all geared to stimulate the senses and intellect and get those creative juices flowing.
But what makes the Convento so very intriguing are the concepts of Artist Residency and Thinkers Club.
Vanda is the Convento’s Host and, as well as giving you a hearty Portuguese welcome on arrival, she handles enquiries and holds residencies for artists who are planning or in the throes of creating a piece of art whether it be through writing, a play perhaps, a masterpiece painting or sculpture and even music, theatre or dance – whatever the discipline, resident artists can work as part of a small group or on an individual basis, with mentoring from in-house artists on offer.
At the same time, for those of us who are deep thinkers and have a curious mind, there’s The Thinkers Club – a collaboration between the Convento Inn and the International Association of Studies about Mind and Thought which brings together like-minded individuals from the Sciences and Arts to engage in stimulating talks and exchange of ideas – this is open to residents and guests alike and is a unique and wonderful opportunity to expand the human intellect, to indulge and explore the depths of philosophy and neuroscience in a relaxed and comfortable environment. So if you’re feeling in need of inspiration to write your book or paint that canvas, this could well be the place to start your journey.
‘… It’s a very inspiring place to spend some days as an artist in residence or to be a participant in a workshop, or a symposium. Even travelling through, as we were, it is a place where we could relax and feel nourished in a calm and enriching atmosphere, taking time to read or just to smell the roses’.
If you’d like to know more about this unusual gem in Europe, please give Caroline a call on 1300 767 237 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.