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A-List Top 10: Portugal Luxury Resorts.
Luxury Travel Magazine ~ luxurytravelmagazine.com
Monday, 12th February 2007
 
From the Costa Do Sol to the Algarve to the island of Madeira and the historic countryside - our list features Portugal's most exclusive resort hotels...

LAPA PALACE - LISBON gives you the feeling of staying at a chic resort within a city setting. It was built in 1870 as the private residence of the Count of Valenca. The hotel is nestled amid tranquil gardens on a hill overlooking the Tagus River in the stately embassy district.

The lush, manicured gardens are complete with tropical flowers, a pond and streams, a waterfall, swimming pool, and century-old trees. It is just a five-minute taxi ride to the city center, but after a hard day of sightseeing, you can return to a sun-lounger and cocktail by the pool.

The two most impressive accommodations at the hotel are the Tower Room and The Royal Suite. The Tower Room is the one for honeymooners, with its pop-up TV at the end of the bed, Jacuzzi for two, and a private turret where you can dine al fresco with a panorama of the city. The hotel's Cipriani was voted by Zagat as best restaurant in Lisbon for its contemporary Italian and Portuguese cuisine.

The Lapa Wellness Centre provides extensive facilities including heated indoor and outdoor pools, fully equipped gymnasium, La Prairie Art of Beauty treatments, various therapies, massages and more.   

HOTEL ALBATROZ - CASCAIS, COSTA DO SOL is 24 km outside the capital city of Lisbon, situated on the cliffs above the bay of this traditional fishing village. It is the grandest of seaside hotels in a town where the Portuguese upper crust traditionally spent their summers. The main building dates back to 1873 and was the home of the Duke of Loulé, while the Palace annex across the road was one of the first royal houses to be built in Cascais. The call of seagulls, fresh sea breezes, and glowing sunsets complement the magical atmosphere of Hotel Albatroz.

All 46 rooms and suites are spacious. The best are undoubtedly the suites in the Palace building. They're the size of small apartments, furnished impeccably and comfortably. Each has a balcony overlooking the sea. In the main building, the best rooms are in the old wing and have an attractive mix of antique and colonial pieces. The Albatroz restaurant is built on the rocks over the sea and serves French and Portuguese cuisine. The setting, especially in the evening, is wonderfully romantic.

REID'S PALACE - FUNCHAL, MADEIRA is a classic luxury hotel whose name is synonymous with that of Madeira itself. Located on the cliff tops overlooking the Bay of Funchal and the Atlantic, the hotel's magnificent setting is framed by ten acres of exquisite landscape gardens with exotic tropical blooms. Tranquil ambience, old-fashioned charm and courtesy are some of the hotel's renowned standards of service. Reid's Palace Hotel has 130 rooms and 34 suites, each one individually decorated in delicate pastel tones and offering elegance and luxury with the emphasis on traditional style with modern comforts.

There's an excellent choice of restaurants and bars in a variety of settings in which to relax and socialize -- Garden Restaurant, Pool Terrace, Ristorante Villa Cipriani, and more. There's also an endless selection of leisure activities that include three swimming pools, Spa, fitness, watersports, tennis, golf, fishing, horse riding, hiking, boating, helicopter tours, shopping...Reid's is one of the world's legendary hotels that any sophisticated traveler must visit a least once.   

CHOUPANA HILLS RESORT & SPA - FUNCHAL, MADEIRA is nestled on a verdant hillside overlooking the bay of Funchal and comprises 34 bungalow–style units with African and Asian influences, as well as in other antique pieces sourced from various Portuguese discoveries. The spacious deluxe rooms and suites are decorated in a contemporary style with an exotic touch. All rooms have large verandas with views of the Atlantic Ocean or the sub–tropical gardens. The suites offer also heated outdoor Jacuzzis on the verandas, DVD, Internet access and Hi–Fi system.

The Xôpana Restaurant offers its guests exotic and innovative fusion cuisine. While enjoying your day at the pool or Spa, try the fresh fruit juices at the Pool Bar. High afternoon tea is a must and is served in the Lounge. Comforts here are extremely pleasant, with the Health and Beauty Spa offering a range of innovative relaxation methods, massages and treatments such as Aromatherapy, Rasul, Algae Wraps, Hot Stone Therapy, Turkish bath and sauna, outdoor lagoon pool and indoor hydrotherapy pool.

VILA VITA PARC - ALGARVE is a beautiful beach resort built in Moorish style surrounded by 40 acres of botanical gardens, designed to blend and harmonize with local nature and culture. Cobbled paths wind delightfully through the exquisite gardens with palm trees, colorful shrubs, lakes and fountains surrounding a vast array of accommodations -- luxurious hotel rooms, suites, apartments, residences and private villas.

Because the hotel overlooks a safe, sandy beach and has several restaurants, swimming pools and family suites, it is one of the best choices for families and also provides care and programs for children age 6 months to teens. While kids are kept occupied, parents can indulge in golf, spa treatments or water sports. The resort also offers the luxury of a magnificent yacht for cruising along the coastline.

Dining choices are plentiful also, including local seafood, Italian, grill, buffet style and fine dining. When the sun is setting, enjoy a cocktail and marvel at the beautiful ocean views. Visit the nearby Algarvian village of Porches with its Moorish architecture.   

4Hoteliers Image LibraryVILA JOYA - ALBUFEIRA, ALGARVE built in Moorish style, Vila Joya is the Algarve's most luxurious and intimate inn, located 200 miles southeast of Lisbon. Experience the atmosphere of an Oriental palace where every elaborate room and Royal Suite features a terrace or balcony with incredible views of the Atlantic.

Follow the footpath through the hotel's beautiful gardens down to the beach. Celebrate your immersion in the lap of luxury with candlelight dining at the hotel's Michelin two-starred restaurant (the only two Star Michelin Restaurant in all of Portugal). Star chef Dieter Koschina creates a first class cuisine, combining the freshest of seafood & produce purchased from local growers & fisherman, with the finest quality truffles, goose liver and caviar imported from the best markets in Europe.

Play a round of at the nearby Salgados Golf Club. Complimentary onsite facilities include Sauna, Turkish bath, Heated swimming pool, Tennis court, Gardens, CD library, Beach access.

4Hoteliers Image LibraryQUINTA DAS LAGRIMAS - COIMBRA is an oasis of peace and tranquility within walking distance of the University city of Coimbra across the river, with its many artistic treasures.

Quinta das Lagrimas (which translates to Estate of Tears) still vibrates with the memory of the infamous romance between Prince Pedro (the son of King D. Alfonso IV) and Ines de Castro. This historic palace surrounded by acres of romantic gardens is now the most luxurious place to stay in all the Beiras. Past guests have included dukes, emperors and kings.

The atmosphere and service all recreate the romance of past centuries, but at the same time with all the modern comforts of today. Sumptuous guest rooms are decorated in traditional Portuguese style and include modern amenities. The sitting rooms and library have direct access to the well-maintained gardens and remind guests of the previous use of the property as a palace, with exotic trees, lovely fountains.

For recreation the hotel features the Bamboo Garden Spa with indoor and outdoor pools and a golf academy led by PGA professionals.

4Hoteliers Image LibraryCONVENTO DO ESPINHEIRO HOTEL & SPA - EVORA is a superb resort in a monastery dating from 1458. It has large outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a tennis court, and a full Spa, allowing guests to combine cultural exploration with a resort getaway. The walled city of Évora with its whitewashed Baroque churches is a UNESCO World Heritage City in the Alentejo region.

The hotel itself is considered a national monument with some of its 59 rooms created from the monks' cells. We recommend that you ask for a room in the historic section of the hotel for their extra charm. Every modern amenity is also provided -- high speed Internet, plasma TVs and DVD, etc.

The restaurant is built in a cloister area, lit by candles, and provides ultimate romance. The resort's picturesque surroundings are perfect for enjoying the Portuguese countryside, as well as discovering the great history of Evora which includes Roman ruins, cathedrals, palaces and more. 

4Hoteliers Image LibraryTHE CLIFF BAY - FUNCHAL, MADEIRA is perched on a cliff overlooking the bay of Funchal and surrounded by tropical gardens offering peace and tranquility along with superb recreational and leisure facilities. With its own sea access, The Cliff Bay hotel offers 201 spacious rooms and suites, elegantly furnished and equipped with all the modern conveniences to be expected of a hotel of this category, as well as balconies offering either sea view, side sea view or mountain view. Several excellent restaurants and bars offer diversified menus to please all tastes at any time of the day. There is also daily live entertainment at the main bar.

Leisure facilities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, health and beauty treatments at the Spa and children's programs. There is also a tennis court, diving centre and kayak rentals. Guests enjoy a reduction on the green fees at the Championship Golf Course Santo da Serra and the Palheiro Golf. It is only a few minutes' walk to the Lido area with plenty of restaurants, cafés, bars, shops, markets and the wonderful seaside promenade linking the Lido with the Praia Formosa beach at the western end of Funchal.   

4Hoteliers Image LibraryPENHA LONGA HOTEL & GOLF RESORT - SINTRA is now under the management Ritz-Carlton. The resort offers world-class accommodations and recreation facilities, plus the lure of a Six Senses Spa.

The Resort traces its origins back to the 14th century, and includes a landmark monastery that was built on the site, and over the centuries Penha Longa became a retreat for The Royal Family of Portugal and visiting dignitaries. The design of the classic 177-room resort blends local architecture with a graceful palazzo-style estate, in a setting of spectacular rolling hills, lush gardens, and clear lakes.

The resort features two world-class golf courses designed by renowned Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Varied recreational amenities, including indoor and outdoor swimming pools to a health club, outside tennis courts, jogging tracks and special children's' activities area. As part of the recently completed enhancement program, a lavishly appointed 1,500-square-meter spa offers state-of-the-art facilities.

Restaurants offer a variety of fare from Continental dishes to Japanese specialties; traditional Portuguese cuisine to prized Port wines, cigars and even Afternoon Tea.

LUXURY TRAVEL MAGAZINE subscribers can type hotel names in Search box at top for much more detailed hotel information, as well as valuable insider tips and lowest Internet rates.

www.luxurytravelmagazine.com

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