A Life Project that began in 2001 while dreaming of an escape from the grey skies and the rat race of London working life. A magical place with many similarities and connections to Africa with the vast open landscapes, rolling hills and clear unpolluted starry skies. The long hot summer months and wonderful light all year round. Not forgetting the wild and almost virgin coastline with amazing unspoiled beaches nearby. It didn’t take much for Berny to persuade her husband Glenn about the idea of one day making the SW Alentejo their new life and journey together with their daughter Gisela. With many planning challenges that come with a unique piece of land amongst the protected SW Alentejo National Park, it was only in November 2014 that Berny and Glenn opened Paraiso Escondido – Living in Harmony. The dream that required vision, effort and endurance and became a reality when they opened the guest house/their home to the world, “as all beautiful things are only truly special when they are shared”.
The focus is to help guests slow down, relax and reconnect with the special things that life has to offer. “Here, our guests will find pure nature, delicious food, and great company. Mix this together with enjoyable, inspiring and healthy experiences and our guests have a magical way to become grounded and enriched on a physical, emotional and spiritual level, leaving them feeling re-charged and in a much better place”.
Paraiso Escondido is all about offering an experience and a feeling of being at home or at a friend’s special place, “this is the secret to help guests truly relax”. Living in Harmony with nature is the driving force in everything at Paraiso Escondido, from all the architectural planning that fits effortlessly into the landscape, to being as sustainable and eco-conscious as possible. Such as eco range amenities in the guest rooms, collecting rain water in the man-made lake and reusing the water to irrigate the lawns and the organic vegetable garden. Using natural cleaning products that are gentler on the environment and also the natural enzymes in all the septic tanks, as being remote form city life comes with other challenges such as not having mains water and sewerage. This focus is carried throughout in all the details and especially in the meal planning where the food concept is ‘farm to table’. Buying the best fresh local produce, locally sourced and organic when possible and also from their own organic vegetable garden. Vegetarian and Plant Based meals are provided.
The décor and styling have all been done by Berny, bringing her artistic background and eclectic taste which allows guests to enjoy the owner’s love for travel as they have many pieces of art and furniture that were bought in the various countries that they lived in. Berny studied graphic design in South Africa but worked for many years as an oil trader before moving to London working in advertising and then in Singapore where she opened her own business as a Personal and Interior Stylist. Moving to Portugal to open their boutique style guest house and retreat has brought together all Berny’s various skills into one special mix.
Glenn has lived and worked in 5 different countries. He swapped the fast-paced corporate advertising executive world of managing offices all over the globe and brings all these skills to being “a man for everything” as you need to be in a family run business. He loves sharing stories with guests and working in the organic garden which grounds him and gives him much pleasure.
Paraiso Escondido isn’t just a guest house or hotel. It’s an experience, a feeling, a home that represents Berny & Glenn, their life, their family and their journey.