Portugal has some fine luxury hotels. On our recent visit, we scoped out more intimate options in Lisbon and traveled to the countryside to investigate properties in the Douro Valley, the Alentejo region and the beach resort town of Comporta. Here are the five new hotels we recommend from our trip.
Located in the hilly Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon, this 19-room hotel is housed within the walls of an ecru-colored 15th-century palace facing a lively cobblestoned plaza. The skylit lobby, tucked between two grand stone arches, includes a carved wooden cabinet where food and drinks are available throughout the day. Other common areas include a dining area colorfully appointed with gingham tablecloths, bright red drapes and vividly patterned wallpaper, and a more sedate bar area. Some of the guest accommodations feature unusual configurations but are bright and airy and exceedingly comfortable.
From the editor: “Indeed, I found the entire hotel comfortable and inviting. Throughout my stay, the mostly young staff were congenial and helpful and contributed to an air of relaxed hospitality.”
Read more about Santiago de Alfama.
Set within an 18th-century mansion, this six-suite hotel is located in a relatively quiet section of the Alfama neighborhood. Designed by Lisbon architect Manuel Aires Mateus, this is the first urban property in a collection of small guesthouses across Portugal. Mateus took care to use traditional building materials, as well as pedigreed furnishings, to create an atmosphere of stylish serenity that also feels inherently Portuguese. Note that the hotel lacks air-conditioning, and all rooms are devoid of televisions and phones. The hotel’s pared-down but exquisite interior design resembles, in many ways, a sophisticated Japanese ryokan. In-room spa treatments and guided city tours can be arranged.
From the editor: “I arrived at what I thought would be a crisp but somewhat aloof design hotel. What I didn’t expect was the genuine warmth of the welcome.”
Read more about Santa Clara 1728.
This 60-acre family-owned estate in the Douro Valley comprises a contemporary winery and an eight-room hotel. The charming 19th-century farmhouse houses four guest accommodations, a simple dining room with an enormous tiled hearth and a long azulejo-topped table where delicious, unfussy meals are served, and several tastefully decorated lounge areas. Rooms, while not especially large, are homey, with wood floors, honey-toned walls, woven rugs and shuttered windows.
From the editor: “The terrace proved to be my favorite perch during my stay. I inhaled the fresh, clean air and watched workers on the surrounding slopes tending to the vines and olive trees.”
Read more about Quinta da Côrte.
Located about a two-hour drive east of Lisbon, near the Spanish border, this fine countryside hotel is set within what was once a self-sustaining, family-owned farming village that produced its own olive oil, wine and grains. José António Uva, a member of the family’s eighth generation, has worked alongside Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, winemaker Susana Esteban and Austrian wellness expert Susanne Kaufmann to create this hotel and spa and revive the estate’s olive groves and vineyards. A whitewashed main building with a red roof and a number of historic buildings, all surrounding a broad central plaza, encompass 24 bedrooms, 16 separate cottages with kitchens and living areas, a spa with a swimming pool, a restaurant serving excellent farm-to-table food and stables.
From the editor: “I didn’t encounter another soul for hours — save the herd of cattle I startled. The ability to wander for so long and in such solitude, never leaving the hotel grounds, was incredibly gratifying.”
Read more about São Lourenço do Barrocal.
Set within a 42-acre complex, this resort with 23 guest accommodations as well as privately owned villas features a distinctive architecture that references local traditions and magnificent grounds with mature umbrella pines and cork oaks. While rooms are chic and understated, some can be compact with cramped baths or have open terraces that lack privacy. Consider booking one of the two-bedroom villas, which come with private pools, indoor-outdoor fireplaces and full kitchens. The resort’s main restaurant, Sem Porta, serves delicious, regionally sourced and locally inspired dishes in an inviting glass-walled dining room.
From the editor: “Sublime has a pretty pool with a sunken fire pit, a tennis court and a spa that incorporates herbs from the garden. The staff can also arrange off-site activities, including horseback riding, wine tasting, golf and boating.”
Read more about Sublime Comporta.