With talks of a possible air bridge between Portugal and the UK, expect to see an influx of Brits heading south this summer.
This summer, Portugal is having a moment.
As one of the first countries to relax its borders and let Brits in without the need for quarantining - and with a possible air bridge on the horizon - we’re heading south to explore its buzzing cities and serene coastline.
Whether your first stop is the perennial favourite Algarve region, the vibrant capital of Lisbon or you want to head high into the mountains of Serra de Estrela, Portugal is dotted with fantastic hotels. We round up our favourites below.
The Lisboans, Lisbon
More luxury apartments than hotel, The Lisboans is one of the most stylish crash pads in the Portuguese capital. Down a cobbled side street, just 10 minutes walk from the ever-cool Alfama district, the apartments cover five floors and each come with a small kitchen, lounge, bathroom and bedroom, each as light and airy as the next. Breakfast is on the house here too, and you'll be treated to goodies each morning including fresh bread, pastries and orange juice to accompany the ham, cheese and fresh jam in the fridge.
Six Senses Douro Valley, Douro Valley
The Douro Valley, where rolling hills flank its namesake river, is one of the world’s oldest wine regions as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Area. The Six Senses here sits in a nineteenth-century terracotta-hued renovated manor house, with 57 rooms and three villas nestled on 22 acres of land. While your day away at the outdoor pool before retreating to the wine library in the evenings for in-house tastings.
São Lourenço do Barrocal, Alentejo
Don’t be fooled by the old farmstead’s facade, the interiors of these white-washed buildings have been designed by award-winning Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura to create a stunning, minimalist oasis. The hotel has been passed down through eight generations, and the current owner, José Antonio, has spent the past 14 years refurbishing the property. Guests are treated to farm-to-table meals and will float out of the Susanne Kaufmann spa.
Infantes Sagres, Porto
Porto’s first five-star hotel, Infantes Sagres was initially built in 1951 but underwent extensive renovations in 2018, restoring it to its original glory. A quiet haven in the centre of Porto (the beautiful São Bento train station is just a five-minute walk away, as is the Lello Library), its dusty pink facade hides old-world elegance, inside guests will discover tiled floors and stained glass windows. The rooms are lovely and bright, and the hotel is home to the only Vogue Cafe in Europe after it partnered with Conde Nast to frame the walls with images of the publishing house’ flagship fashion magazine - the food is exceptional, too.
Martinhal Cascais, Cascais
A favourite for London families, Martinhal Cascais is only a few years old but is already seeing the success of its predecessors, including Martinhal Sagres in the Algarve. A half-hour drive from central Lisbon, the hotel is entirely geared towards families - there’s a large playground and a child-specific pool in the hotel’s Finisterra spa. The restaurant has a play corner where children can be entertained while adults finish their meal and the regular shuttle that takes guests into the nearby picturesque town of Cascais - and its three beautiful beaches - will be well used.
Vila Monte Farm House, Algarve
Tucked away among olive groves and citrus trees, Vila Monte Farm House sits in the unspoilt eastern end of the Algarve. The ever-popular tourist town of Faro is 25 minutes away, and the quieter fishing village of Olhão is a 15-minute drive, for when you’re in need of some salty sea air - there are also daily shuttles to the nearby beach. Yet, with two swimming pools, a tennis court and a pool bar that serves fresh juices and salads, you’ll find it hard to leave.
Tivoli Avenida Liberdade, Lisbon
Arguably the grandest hotel in the Portuguese capital, Tivoli Avenida Liberdade ticks all the luxury boxes. It perfectly blends old and new, with its Art Deco lobby and rooftop Sky Bar, and the outdoor pool, set among a leafy garden, is the place to be during summer. After a day’s shopping on the Avenida da Liberdade (Portugal’s answer to the Champs-Élysées), unwind in the Anantara Spa and dine in-house at the buzzing Cervejaria Liberdade.
Torel 1884, Porto
Torel 1884 is housed in a former nineteenth-century palace - but you wouldn’t know it by its facade. The nondescript entrance blends in neatly with other homes in the area, but inside it's a visual spectacle. Restored by architect Miguel Nogueria, you’ll find library nooks, plush velvet-clad seats and bold-hued walls. Ceilings are high and rooms airy, perfect to escape the summer heat, and the in-room tubs will help you soak your sore travellers feet.
The Yeatman, Porto
Offering the best views in Porto, The Yeatman combines two of our favourite things: spas and wine. Its decanter-shaped outdoor pool looks over the terracotta rooftops down to the Douro River and Porto’s colourful waterfront, and the imposing Dom Luís I Bridge is a 15 minute walk away which will take you to the heart of the city. Inside, windows maximise the view, while each of the 70 rooms and 12 suites boast marble bathrooms and all come with a balcony or terrace. The weekly wine dinners are popular with locals, and you can take part in tastings, too.
Quinta da Comporta, Comporta
Just outside of the coastal village of Comporta, Quinta da Comporta is the brainchild of Portuguese architect Miguel Câncio Martins. Its beachy location is reflected in the decor: rattan rugs, lots of wicker and plenty of neutral shades. The hotel has a focus on wellness and nature, and the Oryza Spa boasts a Hammam and an indoor pool, its Beauty Atelier matches products with your mood and skin type and it hosts several yoga and meditation retreats each year.
Fazenda Nova Country House, Algarve
Run by ex-Londoners Hallie and Tim Robinson, this country house is surrounded by 10 hectares of pomegranate and olive orchards and houses just 15 suites. Near the coastal town of Tavira, in the eastern Algarve countryside, its infinity pool looks over the rolling countryside and there’s also an on-site farm, a restaurant serving seasonal fare, a bar and a vinyl library. The suites vary in size, but each has its own touch of luxury with Balinese-style beds, wooden shutters and rain showers in the bathrooms.
Casa Fortunato, Lisbon
This nine-suite hotel sits in a converted townhouse and was created by architects-come-owners, Filipa and Antonio. Tucked away in the centre of Lisbon, the floor-to-ceiling windows allow for light-filled rooms, which are dotted with retro furniture and Portuguese tiles, while modernist wallpaper from London-based Jupiter 10 lines the walls. Massages are available on request and there are daily yoga classes, too. Breakfast is a buffet while lunch and dinner also operate on a request-only basis, and the macrobiotic dishes are served in the stylish dining room.
Dá Licença, Alentejo
Like something out of a Wes Anderson film, Dá Licença can be found in Portugal’s rural Alentejo region. Developed by creatives Vitor Borges and Franck Laigneau, who came across this cluster of farm houses when looking for a holiday home over a decade ago, after a bit of TLC the pair transformed it into an ultra-luxurious hotel. With just five suites and four rooms, two with private pools, expect to find pink marble terraces, walls clad in art and a seasonal menu made in tandem with local farmers.
Memmo Alfama, Lisbon
Located in the heart of Lisbon’s prettiest district – Alfama – Memmo Alfama offers panoramic views over the capital and is the first boutique hotel in the city’s historic area. Just steps away from the Cathedral and the São Jorge Castle, its terrace (with a lap pool) offers one of the world’s best hotel views, while all 42 rooms are muted in decor, highlighting the stunning views through the windows. The Wine Bar serves the region’s best vino alongside local fare like Portuguese ham croquettes and steak sandwiches.
Casa de São Lourenço, Manteigas
Sitting high in the mountains of Serra de Estrela, Casa de São Lourenço melds cool design with a cosy Alpine feel. The 21 rooms are minimalist, with floor-to-ceiling windows making the most of the view and the two indoor lounges boasting crackling fireplaces. The spa is complimentary for guests and has a heated swim-through, indoor-outdoor pool, sauna and a steam room. Breakfast is a spread of breads, pastries, fruits and cheese and there is also a complimentary afternoon buffet available each day as well.
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Photo of Six Senses Douro Valley