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A Hidden Paradise in Portugal: Paraíso Escondido

By Ann Abel

“What guests really need is love,” says accidental hotelier Berny Serrão. “All of the details show how much love we put into it.” Perhaps that’s why her small hotel, Paraíso Escondido in Portugal’s southern Alentejo region, feels so much like a home.

It began, as so many charming small hotels do, as a vacation home for a worldly family. Serrão, who was raised in Mozambique, and her British husband, Glenn Cullen, bought 20 acres of land in 2001 with the idea of a private retreat. They had met in South Africa and went on to live in Singapore, London and Moscow before settling into their country home full-time. “It’s a totally different life. But we love the rural life, and being hosts,” she says … more>


Ann Abel is a travel writer and editor, and was a senior editor at ForbesLife. She writes for Forbes, Departures, Conde Nast Traveller, Robb Report, Afar, National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Hemispheres, Brides, Modern Bride, , Well + Good NYC, and other print and online publications.”In the name of lifestyle journalism, ” she says, ” I’ve gotten a tattoo in Bora Bora, been bitten by a massage therapist, and flown small aircraft above three continents.” She lives in Lisbon.

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