Dreaming of your next holiday in the sun? Us too. Make Portugal – home to delicious seafood, beautiful beaches and hundreds of historical landmarks – the next stop on your list with our roundup of the sun-soaked nation’s best hotels, including ten places to stay in the capital.
The Best Hotels in Portugal
- Alentejo: São Lourenço do Barrocal
- Comporta: Sublime
- Douro Valley: Douro41
- Porto: PortoBay Flores, The Yeatman
- Lisbon: The Ivens, Four Seasons Hotel Ritz, The Lumiares Hotel & Spa, Mama Shelter, The One Palácio da Anunciada Lisbon, Palácio Príncipe Real, Santa Clara 1728, Valverde Hotel, Verride Palácio Santa Catarina, The Vintage
Alentejo: São Lourenço do Barrocal
In-the-know nature lovers have long favoured the wild, captivating beauty of Portugal’s Alentejo region for their holiday dose. Here, São Lourenço do Barrocal is a firm favourite that can almost be described as a cult classic. Set amid the sprawling golden Alentejo plains, among 780-hectares of vineyards and olive groves, the low-lying whitewashed farmhouse and collection of barns and outhouses have been transformed into luxurious lodgings. The sturdy bones, arched walkways and vaulted ceilings form a simple canvas for a rustic, effortless aesthetic embellished with understated furnishings, old photographs and local objects.
It’s no surprise that the activities on offer are wholesome, taking in nature and the local landscape. So after a day spent walking, horse riding or cycling through the estate, make sure to drop by the Susanne Kaufmann spa, where a holistic menu of treatments includes massages that use herbs from the kitchen garden and the estate’s organic olive oil. At the restaurant, nearly everything on the menu is from the hotel’s grounds, which showcases its own orchard, organic vegetable garden and free-roaming cattle. Expect dishes like scrambled eggs with wild asparagus and tubers or Alentejo pork cheeks, cockle ‘migas’ and samphire. All washed down with an excellent selection of wine that is produced in-house, of course.
BOOK IT: barrocal.pt
Ever since it opened eight years ago, beach-loving aesthetes have descended on Sublime Comporta, a rustic-chic hotel just an hour south of Lisbon, for both its laid-back vibe as for the cinematic ocean frontage of Portugal’s wild Atlantic coast. Set amid 17-hectares of umbrella pines, cork trees and wildflowers, the hotel, over the years, has transformed from an intimate 14-room bolthole to now comprise 23 rooms and suites and a further 22 villas. This includes several A-frame villas alongside a series of biological pool suites that use aquatic flora and bio matter instead of chemicals to keep them naturally clean.
This wholesome attitude extends throughout the hotel’s concept from its approach to wellness to the organic garden, which provides a variety of herbs and vegetables for the restaurants and bars. Here, options include Sem Porta, which serves a modern Portuguese menu using seasonal ingredients from local producers; Food Circle, the 12-seat outdoor farm-to-table restaurant; and Tasca Da Comporta, a relaxed outdoor space that serves traditional Portuguese pesticos from fire-grilled black pork chorizo to octopus salad, with nature as a backdrop.
Just minutes from the hotel along one of the untamed beaches that makes this one of the country’s most beautiful spots, Sublime Comporta Beach Club is a convivial restaurant both in summer and winter from which to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, like local grilled fish and oysters- after you’ve spent a morning horseback riding among the dunes.
BOOK IT: sublimecomporta.pt
Douro Valley: Douro41
While the understated silhouette of Douro41 is impressive, there’s no doubt that the star attraction of this 61-room hotel is its spectacular natural backdrop of the winding Douro River-cut valley. Located 41 kilometres from the mouth of the Douro River – an easy 45-minute drive from Porto – the hotel’s design is the work of Cristina Jorge de Carvalho, who maximised the panoramic vistas – which are framed by floor-to-ceiling windows – with subtle, low-key interiors in a cool white palette.
Diversions over the summer range from picnics in the hotel’s gardens to exclusive boat trips, while winter is the best time to enjoy the fabulous spa. Perfect to build your appetite for Raiva, where food comes courtesy of chef Dárcio Henriques. Here, the concept takes in the 897 kilometre journey from the Urbión mountains – where the Douro River springs – through the terraces, gorges and plains, to the ocean in Porto. As such, expect dishes from the crispy egg and wild mushrooms, served with mushroom consommé and smoked oil, to poached Atlantic sea bass with cauliflower purée and fish velouté. For a more casual affair, head to À Terra, where you can enjoy comfort classics like the prego, with a glass of red wine, against those captivating vistas.
BOOK IT: Doubles from £185, including breakfast. douro41.com
Porto: PortoBay Flores
The PortoBay group could not have picked a better spot for the debut of its newest hotel in Porto – on a pedestrian street within a five-minute walk of the city’s top attractions including Igreja de São Francisco, the Porto Cathedral and Livraria Lello. Housed in a heritage pile dating from the 16th-century, alongside a seamlessly integrated new wing, the 66-room hotel unfolds tastefully with an understated design that makes the most of the building’s original elements such as the large wooden doors, wrought iron balconies, and stonework emblazoned with a 500-year-old coat of arms.
The sense of refinement is especially evident across the 11 rooms in the historic wing, but equally, the upper floors of the new building have lovely views of the cathedral and the Douro River. The Mandalay Spa, with its indoor pool, sauna, hammam and menu of southeast Asian treatments, is a great spot to wind down after a day exploring Porto’s streets. Follow this with a bite to eat at Bistro Flores, a convivial restaurant from which to enjoy chef Nuno Miguel’s elevated Portuguese dishes, or head to Bar dos Maias in the hotel’s lobby – also the former stables – for a cocktail and a people-watching session.
BOOK IT: portobay.com
Porto: The Yeatman
Evocative, edgy, magnificent and incredibly picturesque, it’s little wonder that Porto has captivated both conquerors and travellers alike, leading one to wonder why it’s taken so long for a hotel like The Yeatman to come along. More specifically located in the city of Gaia, the hotel is all about the mesmerising views towards Porto across the river. And wine. From the decanter-shaped pool and the wine-focused interiors in the 82 rooms and suites (which are discreetly themed around a vineyard partner), the hotel takes its cues from it setting, which, as a former hub of the port wine industry, is surrounded by a cluster of cellars that offer tastings and tours.
Here also is WOW, a new development comprising museums, restaurants and bars – housed within centuries old cellars – that tell the story of some of Portugal’s most important industries and traditions. Set on a hillside and comprising six storeys, the hotel’s views are best enjoyed from the hotel’s Michelin star restaurant or the spa’s indoor pool.
BOOK IT: Doubles from £135, including breakfast. the-yeatman-hotel.com