It seems that Portugal is on everyone’s travel list as of late, just named the “2016 Destination of the Year” by our friends at Travel and Leisure. With the striking coastline of Algarve, unspoiled beaches of Alentejo, charming walled cities, ruins and ornate palaces, the lush grape growing region of the Douro Valley and historic yet contemporary major cities, there is something for every traveler. The best part is they are all accessible in a single visit to this magical country due to its perfectly digestible size. We urge you to rent a car and explore!
Portugal has heart and warmth that sinks into your bones. The city of Porto is frequently listed as one of the most romantic cities in the world and Lisbon’s charming neighborhoods offer grand history and are brimming with creative innovation. That is certainly true in the culinary world as it is in design and artisan creation. Portugal boasts 14 Michelin-star restaurants in 2016 and the innovative cuisine is complemented by the spectacular wines and ports. After a day of sightseeing and product hunting followed by fabulous fare, we are eager to retire to a well-designed and welcoming space and small boutique hotels are our favorite spots to rest our heads. Here are just five on a long list of dramatically different but all well-appointed spots:
LX Boutique Hotel – Lisbon
LX stands for Lisbon Xperience and staying at this renovated century old building near the River Tagus will remind you of staying with dear friends. Each floor highlights a theme of the city of Lisbon. The space is simple and luxurious. The location just below Bairo Alto provides easy access to the hot spots for dining and nightlife. The rooms offer exquisite views of the river, city, or as a unique element- murals contracted on the neighboring building.
Hotel Teatro – Porto
Named for the proximity to the theater next door, this hotel reflects the dark and moody nature of the theater. Dim lights and a palette of dark browns and mochas with hints of caramels are warming and mysterious. The location can’t be better, nor the sense of noir.
Casa Modesta – Olhao
A remote and charming whitewashed two building boutique hotel on the Southern coast. This renovated family home is welcoming with warm terra cotta and accents of bronze and cork. Each room has a balcony and many a rooftop balcony. This modern boutique hotel in a rural environment is something special and so is the family who runs it.
Sublime Comporta – Grandola
Located on a magnificent property just south of Comporta, this is a do-not-miss stop in our opinion! Sublime recently went through an amazing building phase, adding rustic but contemporary villas to the original 14-room guest house. The restaurant, lounge and lobby are housed in a vast and open space with large windows and design elements of iron and wood. Large woven light fixtures add to the charm. This is a well-designed chic retreat in an unspoiled and natural environment.
Heritage Avenida Liberdade Hotel – Lisbon
One of the famed Heritage Hotels of Lisbon, this location is perfect. As you enter the hotel through the original 18th century heavy wooden door, you feel like you might be a princess in a palace. The small reception area gives way to a modern and inviting lounge. The rooms are spacious with high ceilings and the décor is stunning. Perhaps our favorite element is the French doors that open to the veranda that looks out over Lisbon’s main artery, the Avenida Liberdade. At this tremendous boutique hotel you are certainly is the heart of city.