See the guesthouse an Hermès creative director built
Victor Borges knows a thing or two about fine fabrics. He has worked with Chanel, Armani, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and most recently, as the creative director of silk and textiles for Hermès.
The white-washed exterior of Dá Licença.
But it was in the Alentenjo region of his home country, Portugal, that Borges found his true calling. While visiting the area with his partner, French art collector Franck Laigneau, both men were overcome by a sense of belonging. Among the fragrant fig and olive groves, they felt like they had come home.
The hotel is nestled among olive groves.
This led to them purchasing a piece of land in the area with panoramic views of the Alentejo hills. A former convent that produced olive oil, the estate has over 13,000 olive trees, as well as unique buildings that Borges wanted to restore and reimagine as an exclusive boutique hotel. Over five years, he worked with Procale architects to merge old and new aspects of the property, creating a tasteful guesthouse where the couple can share their little slice of arcadia with the world.
The Sky Pool Suite has a private terrace with views and a pool.
With only three rooms and five suites, Dá Licença is more like a high-end homestay than a hotel – it’s not unusual to find Borges himself manning the stove (cooking is one of his long-held passions). Breakfast is usually continental style, while lunch and dinner are a surprise. Let the kitchen know what you like (and don’t like) and they’ll create bespoke dishes using seasonal local produce.
Guests can enjoy meals together at this communal table (or at one of the smaller ones if they prefer a more intimate dining experience).
The hotel has two pools with views of the surrounding countryside; a prominent circular one that beautifully reflects the colours of Alentejo’s sunsets, and a more discreet rectangular pool tiled in a pretty emerald shade. (Two of the suites also have their own private swimming pools.)
The circle pool.
The emerald pool.
Alentejo is an area famous for its marble, which is on show in Dá Licença’s bathrooms. All feature marble sinks, moulded by a local artisan, and some suites also have lavish marble bath tubs.
Marble amenities in the bathroom of the Loft Suite.
A freestanding marble bath in the Rock Suite.
There is so much handsome art in Dá Licença that at times, it feels like you’re sleeping in a relaxed, open-to-the-outdoors gallery. In fact, there currently is an art gallery on site (pictured below), though there are plans to turn the space into a restaurant in future.
Dá Licença’s art gallery.
So does Borges miss the pace and pressure of creative-director life at Hermès? Does he regret trading Paris for pasture? When he looks out across his own olive grove to the ocean beyond, it’s hard to imagine.
The Loft Suite opens out onto a private terrace with sun loungers.
The Moon Cube Room features blankets created by Mizzete Nielsen.
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