by Stefanie Stüting
Portugal is on a world championship course. The “Best Polo Club in the World” will be established in Alentejo, Portugal. The spectacular project is being planned by the same visionary developer who also built the legendary World Cup area, Campo Bahia for the German football team in Brazil in 2014.
There´s this almost magical moment when you realise that a new dawn is breaking, a new story is unfolding that you really yearn to be part of. South of Lisbon, in the beautiful region of Alentejo, plans are afoot to build the “Best Polo Club in the World”.
About an hour´s drive due south from colourful, vibrant Lisbon, a region that so far has escaped the hectic crowds of sun-thirsty beach goers and loud party people is just waking up. Comporta is more commonly associated with “Herdade da Comporta”, the 43-kilometer-long strip of land on the Alentejo coast with its seemingly endless sandy beaches languishing under an azure blue sky and traditional white-washed cottages dotted around the unspoilt countryside. With around 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, Comporta has retained its vast, quiet, untouched beauty, unlike the international jet set destinations on the Côte d´Azur, Costa del Sol and Ibiza.
The potential of this Atlantic west coast region was first discovered by José Manuel Espírito Santo, descendant of a wealthy Portuguese dynasty, who first laid eyes on it from his yacht. He went ashore and shortly afterwards acquired more land in the region. When the Banco Espírito Santo, one of Portugal´s largest banks, including its owner José Manuel, went bankrupt a few years ago some of the land was acquired by the state. Since then the region together with the seven villages of Pego, Carvalhal, Brejos, Torre, Possanco, Carrasqueira and Comporta has been gently introduced to the type of premium tourism that favours nature conservation, exclusive hotels and holiday homes. The Comporta region is a place of longing as in “saudade” from the Portuguese which implies the longing for a get together. Endless beaches, sweeping horizons and the sea. Quietly secluded. This place of so-called longing – the new Hamptons of Portugal – has already attracted a number of prominent millionaires who are fascinated by this unique and still almost “secret” beauty spot.
Stefan Maria Gast is equally fascinated and inspired by the region. Born in Heidelberg, he is a project developer, internationally renowned for his holistic understanding of culture; people and energies; nature and the very essence of the land he builds on.
Gast was the brains behind and project manager of the legendary DFB World Cup area Campo Bahia for the German national football team and later World Champion of Brazil in 2014. Gast and his team are currently in the process of developing the remarkable Alentejo region for polo. Once again, the visionary Gast is realising his dream of creating the world´s best polo club with great thought and precision. It is first and foremostly about constructing concrete goals from dreams, clearly identifying and defining them. Unfortunately dreams without goals are only dreams.” After a year of intensive preparation and research, it looks like Gast will finally achieve his goals. The region offers the best conditions: in terms of the warm Portuguese hospitality, the stability of the country´s economy, political regime and security, the mild year-round climate, the people, the unique natural landscape all point to the success of the project. As Gast points out, “Millionaires from all over the world already have Portugal on their radar – from South to North America, from Central Europe to Asia. Portugal is a safe country with excellent prospects for the future. The region around Comporta is becoming increasingly well- known.
A whole new trend is emerging here. And we are seeing that a previously hidden secret will also be of great interest to the polo world.”
Gast´s experienced team includes renowned employees and consultants who also include pioneers and legends from international polo. However, a deep respect for nature is always the driving force for this experienced project developer. “Harmony, tranquillity and beauty are most valuable assets that we find in this corner of Portugal and we have an overwhelming responsibility to preserve these natural attributes.” The horses themselves have been taken into account just as the polo club has to fit in seamlessly with the natural surroundings. The conditions for the horses will be harmoniously perfect in our new polo club. They play a pivotal role in the sport. Nature and horses are our partners and advisors, and both are treated with the utmost respect and sympathy when it comes to the planning and making our dream come true. We have clearly defined ideas that are already alive in our minds. As alive as the world championship title we dreamed of in 2014, which also became a reality. The completion of this project will transform the small country in the far west reaches of Europe into one of the top polo hotspots of the continent and the whole world is already behind it. Gast knows what it takes to make the dream of the world´s best polo club in Portugal come true. We are looking forward to a great new address on the map and a new vision for European and international polo.
Stefan Maria Gast, project developer
© Tommy Lösch
Mr. Gast, why Polo in Portugal & Alentejo?
• Portugal is the most hospitable country in the world
• The Polo Club is located in the heart of the Alentejo, one of
the most beautiful regions of Portugal
• Portugal has a long and experienced horse tradition
• The new “Hamptons” of Europe
• Best climate for man and horse all year round
• Short distance to international transport lines
• Perfect infrastructure
• Portugal is the third most peaceful country in the world
• Portugal has the most stable government in the world
• Portugal has the lowest inflation rate 2019 in Europe
• Portugal is on the radar of investors from all over the world
• Tax advantages for investors and new residents
• Forbes: Alentejo is one of the most diversified and
Portugal’s most irresistible landscapes
• 15 titles won at the World Tourism Award 2019
• Forbes calls Portugal “the best European country to live in”