We moved around a lot during this stay in Portugal. Whereas we usually end up one place, either a city or a small town and try to stay for a week or more, this trip had the goal of trying to see as much of Portugal as we could. During our prior trips, we only visited Lisbon, other than a single overnight journey to the Alentejo wine region, about two hours outside of Lisbon.
Our last visit to an Alentejo winery, and a stay at a luxury wine hotel whet our appetite for exploring more of Portugal. That is why during this three-week trip we stayed in Lisbon a few times, but also explored more of Alentejo, visited Sintra to the west, and even explored Porto, Duoro, and the North.
As we traveled Portugal, seemingly from one end of this petite nation to the other, we also experienced a mess of accommodations options.
A Luxury Hotel Stay in Portugal
It’s been quite some time since we’ve stayed at a Four Seasons. In my old lawyer life, I was more likely to stay in a Four Seasons, or a Ritz Carlton, or even a Shangri-La than we are now. So, staying at the Four Seasons Lisbon was a pure treat.
I expected luxury and a comfortable bed, and all that comes with a Four Seasons. What I was most surprised at, though, was the service. Sure, the marketing department was nice to us, but it was the little treats that meant the most. A staff member noticed that I liked a particular dessert at the lunch buffet and later sent some to our room as a snack. Those are the details that make the Four Seasons a head above the rest.
It’s one of the most luxurious hotels in Lisbon, with a perfect location, at the top of Avenida Liberdade. The Four Seasons Lisbon boasts a stunning view over the entire city from many of its rooms as well as the rooftop running track. If you are looking for a luxury hotel stay in Portugal, this is it.
Boutique Hotels in Portugal
I am not really sure where the term “boutique hotels” came from. I usually associate the term with a hotel that is not part of a huge chain but also holds a lot of character. We stayed in several unique and characteristic hotels, but in Portugal, they fall into their own set of sub-categories.
Porto Bay Liberdade is the Lisbon branch of a small series of hotels located throughout Portugal and Brazil. It falls squarely within the concept of a boutique hotel in that the design and decor of the hotel pay homage to Portugal. The Bistro 4 restaurant features a fusion of Portuguese, Brazilian, and even Madeira influences, while shying away from typical hotel dishes. The rooms were gorgeous, and ours had a large outdoor patio that offered an urban oasis. Once again, the staff stood out in that they were very welcoming and offered a more personal touch than most chain hotels. Ask Filipe at the Aviator 6 bar to make you a gin and tonic, you won’t regret it.
Hotel Teatro in Porto was built at the location of an old school Porto theater, which succumbed to a fire many years ago. It was easily one of the most uniquely designed hotels we’ve stayed at. Whenever possible, the hotel brought the design and feel of an old theater into the contemporary hotel, from curtains lining the walls, to the stage costumes hung in the lobby as a decoration. Every touch made you feel as though you were behind the scenes at a theater. It was also centrally located, and although we had a driver during most of our time in Porto, we could easily walk almost anywhere in the city center. It was a good base to explore all of the places to eat in Porto.
Wine Hotels in Portugal
This is why Portugal has a sub-category beyond just the idea of boutique hotels. It’s the existence of wine hotels, which are located in the many Portugal wine regions. These hotels also try to focus on local foods, paired with local wines. Or, they offer an exclusive wine list focused only on wines of that region.
We only stayed one night at Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora Do Carmo, which refers to itself as a winery house during our Douro Valley wine tour. Similar to some of the stays we had during our extreme eating tour in Catalunya, one night is really not enough to appreciate a hotel like this. We arrived just before dark, too late to experience the stunning views over the Douro Valley. We were not disappointed for long, though, as we sat down to a four-course meal of traditional Douro dishes, paired with Quinta Nova wines and port.
At Quinta Nova, we also experienced what it is like to be a winemaker, blending our own wine, which we, of course, labeled “With Husband In Tow Private Label.” Our winemaking course took place in the morning, so we were able to take in the stunning views of the Douro River, with vineyards as far as the eye could see. Quinta Nova offers other wine tourism activities as well, including harvest-related activities and wine tastings.
Hotel Minho is a wine hotel located in the north of Portugal, in the Vinho Verde wine region of Minho. We could practically see Spain from the nearby village, Vila Nova De Cerveira. The name Cerveira is similar to the Spanish and Portuguese words for beer, but this experience was all about the wine. The hotel has a very modern decor, despite being set near a very traditional village. The font used throughout the hotel to direct guests is right out of Space Invaders. The hotel only serves the local Vinho Verde wine, and they are particular about which ones they offer, trying to keep to the essence of the wine. They can also arrange for wine tasting tours of the region, and the Hotel Minho spa offers wine-inspired treatments.
Another property we only stayed at for a single night during our prior trip to Alentejo was the Torre de Palma Wine Hotel. We were left gobsmacked at the beauty of this perfectly restored property. The hotel exuded attention to detail and offered stunning, 360-degree views at sunset from the tower. It was terribly romantic, particularly when offered a glass of the Torre de Palma private label wine. We also ate at Basilii restaurant, which offered modern interpretations of Alentejano cuisine.
Bed & Breakfast Stay in Portugal
Quinta dos Bons Cheiros bills itself as a bed and breakfast, probably due to its size. They only have a handful of rooms. But, as soon as I saw the website it was clear it was like no B&B I’ve ever seen before. In the past, our B&B stays often seem to be in places like Ireland or the UK. I think of them as rooms offered in people’s homes. I kind of think of them as dark and dated. This was the farthest thing from Elisabeth’s Quinta dos Bons Cheiros. Now, she does advertise the property as a “design” bed and breakfast but it was more boutique than B&B.
Although Bons Cheiros is only 45 minutes from Lisbon and 20 minutes from nearby Sintra, it felt a world away. Our room was like a small cottage, with a sitting area. It was so quiet all I wanted to do was sleep away the prior three weeks of hard travel. The breakfast was creative and fresh, and we had an amazing dinner with local wines. It was a retreat away from the world exactly when we needed it.
Our return to Alentejo was one of the more anticipated parts of our stay in Portugal. During our first stay, we were limited to only one very memorable night at the Torre de Palma Wine Hotel, which definitely falls on the luxury end. During this visit, we stayed at Monte Saraz, which advertises itself as a rural tourism hotel, along the lines of the agriturismo properties we have visited in Italy and Spain.
We were about 90 minutes south of where we toured last time, and even closer to the Spanish border. The small hotel was perfectly located to dine in the nearby hilltop town of Montsaraz, and to explore many of the Alentejo wineries nearby. We took in a “big taste of Alentejo wines” at Adega Ervideira, and afterward retreated to the quiet of Hotel Monte Saraz for an afternoon nap. It was a perfect way to spend a day in Alentejo.
An AirBnB Apartment Stay in Portugal
After all of this moving around, and for our last few nights in Lisbon before flying back out to Bologna, I wanted easy and comfortable. I wanted familiar. I managed to find this great little apartment in Lisbon using Airbnb. We’ve stayed in a few different apartments in Lisbon over our visits. They are not as full service as the other hotel stays in Portugal, but was a perfect way to enjoy our last few nights in Lisbon.
How To Book a Place to Stay in Portugal
During our three weeks touring Portugal, we managed to stay in every conceivable type of property. Well, maybe not every type – we skipped the budget hostels. I’m too old for that.
Here is a list of the places we stayed, the companies we worked with, and their approximate cost. Many of these properties can be booked with Agoda, who we love using all over the world. Some of the smaller properties do no use Agoda, but it’s easy to make a booking online.
Deluxe rooms at the Four Seasons Lisbon during August start around $400.
The Hotel Teatro in Porto is a Design Hotel, rooms start around $150, with breakfast included.
Quinta Nova, with one of the longest names of any hotel I’ve stayed at, has rooms starting around €125.
Hotel Minho, in the north, has rooms starting at $80, with breakfast included.
Torre de Palma Wine Hotel in Alentejo have room starting around $170, with breakfast included.
Bons Cheiros is an independent B&B, outside of Sintra. Rooms start at €95 a night and include breakfast.
The accommodations we stayed at during our tour demonstrate that Portugal is loaded with options. It depends on whether you want high-end luxury, or intimate and personal, it’s all possible during a stay in Portugal.
Looking For Great Food and Wine Tours in Portugal?
And, for more Portuguese culinary travel inspiration, check out our Portugal food travel guide.[table id=6 /]
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER.
We were hosted by many of these properties, either directly, or through the Porto & North Tourism board. All of my opinions, as always, are my own. If you book one of these properties via a link to agoda, I get a smidgen of a referral fee. Seriously, a smidgen. I would have to get a TON of referrals to afford another stay at the Four Seasons in Lisbon!
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new Food and Drink Destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.