Pestana Palace (Lisbon; tel. 21/361-56-00; www.pestana.com)
One of the grandest hotels to open in Portugal in years, this hotel lies in an upscale residential section 5km (3 miles) from the historic center. It was carved out of a villa built in 1907. It's a stunning example of the Romantic Revival architectural style.
Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon (Lisbon; tel. 800/819-5053 in the U.S., or 21/381-14-00; www.fourseasons.com)
Built in the 1950s and host to a roster that reads like a who's who of international glamour, the Ritz is one of Portugal's legendary hotels. Everywhere in the hotel, you'll get the impression that a swanky reception is about to begin.
York House Hotel (Lisbon; tel. 21/396-24-35; www.yorkhouselisboa.com)
A former 17th-century convent and private home, York House is the place to stay in Lisbon. It abounds with climbing vines, antiques, four-poster beds, and Oriental carpeting -- fittings and furnishings that maintain the building's historical character without flattening your wallet.
Albatroz (Cascais; tel. 21/484-73-80; www.albatrozhotels.com)
In a garden overlooking the Atlantic, this inn was originally built as the summer residence of the dukes of Loulé. Since its transformation into a stylish hotel, its aristocratic elegance has drawn guests from throughout Europe. Service is impeccable.
Palácio Estoril (Estoril; tel. 21/464-80-00; www.palacioestorilhotel.com)
The Palácio enjoyed its heyday during the 1950s and 1960s, when every deposed monarch of Europe seemed to disappear into the Art Deco hotel's sumptuous suites. The result: the curious survival in Estoril of the royal ambience of a Europe gone by. Today "the Palace" maintains a staff whose old-timers are among the best in Europe at offering royal treatment to guests.
Tivoli Palácio de Seteais (Sintra; tel. 21/923-32-00; www.tivolihotels.com)
One of the most elegant hotels in Portugal bears one of the country's most ironic names. In 1807, a treaty ending the Napoleonic campaign in Portugal was signed here, with terms so humiliating to the Portuguese that they labeled the building the Palace of the Seven Sighs. Any sighing you're likely to do today will be from pleasure -- at the setting, the lavish gardens, and the reminders of an old-world way of life.
Dona Filipa & San Lorenzo Golf Resort (Almancil; tel. 28/935-72-00; www.lemeridien.com)
Rising above the sea, this hotel is comfortable, modern, well designed, and sophisticated, but the most stunning feature is the 180 hectares (445 acres) surrounding it. Part of the land is devoted to a superb golf course. Don't let the severe exterior fool you -- the inside is richly appointed with Chinese and Portuguese accessories, many of them antique.
Monte do Casal (Estói; tel. 28/999-15-03; www.montedocasal.pt)
An 18th-century country house on the Algarve converted into one of the most charming and tranquil places along the coast, Monte do Casal is set on 3 hectares (7 1/2 acres) of flowering trees. It offers a chance to escape from the curse of the high-rise sea resort hotels and into an inn of style that captures some of the spirit of the region itself.
Bussaco Palace Hotel (Buçaco; tel. 23/193-79-70; www.almeidahotels.com)
This palace, built between 1888 and 1907 as a sylvan refuge for the royal family, saw tragedy early. A year after its completion, the king and his oldest son were assassinated, leaving Queen Amélia to grieve within its azulejo-sheathed walls. In 1910, the palace's enterprising Swiss chef persuaded the government to allow him to transform the place into an upscale hotel. Bittersweet memories of its royal past still seem to linger within the thick walls.
HF Ipanema Park (Porto; tel. 22/532-21-00; www.ipanemaparkhotel.pt)
One of the leading government-rated five-star hotels in the north of Portugal offers 15 floors of grand comfort with the largest roster of facilities in the city, including an outdoor pool with a panoramic view on the 15th floor. This bastion of good taste and luxury is as popular with tourists as it is with its business clients.
Hotel Infante Sagres (Porto; tel. 22/339-85-00; www.hotelinfantesagres.pt)
A textile magnate built this hotel in 1951 in the style of a Portuguese manor house. Its elegant detailing makes it appear much older than it is. It's the most nostalgic, elegant, and ornate hotel in Porto. The managers began their careers here as teenage bellboys, and the staff members take obvious pride in their hotel.
Reid's Palace (Funchal; tel. 800/223-6800 in the U.S., or 29/171-71-71; www.reidspalace.com)
For more than a century (it was founded in 1891 and enlarged in 1968), Reid's has fulfilled the colonial fantasies of every British imperialist abroad. Set on a rocky promontory, it serves tea promptly at 4pm, contains English antiques that the Portuguese staff waxes once a week, and plays chimes to announce the beginning of the dinner service. It also features terraced gardens spilling down to the sea and a very correct clientele that once included Winston Churchill.
Praia D'El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort (Amoreira; tel. 26/290-51-00; www.marriott.com/lisdr)
Devotees of modern luxury should head to one of the most spectacular resorts north of Lisbon, 16km (10 miles) west of the romantic walled city of Óbidos. It opens onto a sandy beach and boasts an 18-hole golf course on 243 hectares (600 acres) of oceanfront property. Its facilities include a spa, health club, tennis courts, and a choice of three first-class restaurants.
The Best Pousadas
Pousada de Setúbal, São Filipe (Setúbal; tel. 26/555-00-70; www.pousadas.pt)
During the 1500s, this structure served as a defensive link in a chain of fortresses surrounding Lisbon. Today it boasts antique azulejos (glazed earthenware tiles), panoramic views of the town, and a keen sense of Portuguese history. The rooms are simple (some might say monastic) but comfortable and tidy.
Pousada de Óbidos, Castelo de Óbidos (Óbidos; tel. 26/295-50-80; www.pousadas.pt)
This pousada lies in a wing of the castle that protects one of the most perfectly preserved medieval towns in Portugal. In 1285, King Dinis offered the castle -- along with the entire village -- to his beloved Queen Isabel. Inside, the medieval aesthetic coexists with improved plumbing, electricity, and unobtrusive contemporary comforts.
Pousada de Elvas, Santa Luzia (Elvas; tel. 26/863-74-70; www.pousadas.pt)
This pousada opened in 1942 during the most horrible days of World War II, near the strategic border crossing between neutral Portugal and fascist Spain. Vaguely Moorish in design, with two low-slung stories, it was most recently renovated in 1992. It offers comfortable, colorful lodgings.
Pousada de Estremoz, Rainha Santa Isabel (Estremoz; tel. 26/833-20-75; www.pousadas.pt)
Housed in a structure built during the Middle Ages, the Santa Isabel is the most lavish pousada in Portugal. Reproductions of 17th-century antiques, about .5 hectares (1 1/4 acres) of gleaming marble, and elaborately detailed tapestries create one of the most authentic old-fashioned decors in the region. Guests have included Vasco da Gama, who was received here by Dom Manuel before the explorer's departure for India.
Pousada de Évora, Lóios (Évora; tel. 26/673-00-70; www.pousadas.pt)
This pousada was conceived as a monastery and rebuilt in 1485 adjacent to the town's ancient Roman temple. The purity of its design and the absence of exterior encroachments from the modern world contribute to one of the most aesthetically thrilling experiences in Portugal. Inside there are no traces left of its original austerity -- everything is luxurious and comfortable.
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