7 Centuries-Old Monasteries Redesigned as Luxury Hotels

From frugal monks to lavish jet-setters. These historic structures are now five-star destinations.

Photo by: Kara Franker Located about an hour outside of Lisbon in Évora, Portugal, the Convento do Espinheiro hotel is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The 15th-century convent has been transformed into a luxury resort and features a former wine cellar that was once used by monks.

Who would of thought that really old religious buildings could be renovated into fabulous luxury hotels? It's a design trend that has swept from Europe to South America and includes ancient structures with unique stories to tell. 

If only the walls at the Convento Do Espinheiro hotel in Portugal could talk. There's a legend that the building originated after an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared on a thorn bush in 1458. Religious leaders at the time decided that this location, about an hour outside of Lisbon, would be a destination for pilgrimages, a church and later a monastery. The church still stands and even hosted the Kings of Portugal and their dignitaries throughout the ages. 

Photo by: Kara Franker The building that houses the ancient church at the Convento do Espinheiro hotel still stands and services are held once a month and for special occasions. 

It turns out that the monks in Portugal, knew a thing or two about how to make wine and olive oil. The owners of the hotel turned the 15th-century wine cellar into a fine-dining destination called Divinus Restaurant. They also converted the ancient water cistern into a modern wine cellar shown below.  

Photo by: Kara Franker Guests at Convento do Espinheiro experience a guided tour of the historic building followed by a tasting of the magnificent Alentejo wines in the wine cellar, which was formally a water cistern built by monks in the 15th century. 

More Photos of Historic Structures: 

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