Pure luxury in a peaceful ambiance
After a rather short cab ride from Lisbon Airport (20 min) my driver leaves me in front of a big red gate - the entrance to paradise! There is a hidden gem behind this big door that even many locals don`t know (including my cab driver). Faisal, a very friendly Pakistani, welcomes me with a smile. While taking my suitcase he directs me through breathtaking rooms to my suite ... well, you need to climb a few stairs if you are staying in the Padre Himalaya Suite. That little exercise is more than compensated by what you see when the door opens – impressive art in a little corridor, a cosy, colorful room full of magazines, books and CDs before you take a few more steps and enter a bathroom – well, this expression does not do justice. It is a dream of a bath with light and dark marble all over the place and an integrated bath tub in the middle, just in front of the relicts of a Roman stone wall protected behind glass. How cool is that? I have to climb another staircase to reach my bedroom with antique furniture and a canopy bed – located in a tower that dates back over 2,000 years (again, the Romans...!) – boy, I feel so young in this place ;-)! And needless to say that I slept like a baby in this marvelous place.
Photo: To just call this a bathroom would be pure understatement – it is an outstanding experience
A wild garden and a heavenly breakfast
There are no buffets at the Palácio – and of course no queues, no noise.
In the evening you just decide what you would like to have when and where for breakfast – my choice was the garden terrace. A good one! A wonderful breakfast table with a stunning view was already waiting for me when I arrived– delicious bread, homemade jam to die for, excellent goat cheese, eggs, fresh juice and coffee, all organic. The historic neighbourhood of Alfama with the Tagus River in front and a fairytale-like garden in the back (the owners do not like „organized“ gardens but prefer to let the plants grow as they wish – and I am with them, totally). I have never seen Bouganvillas that high. And orange and pomegranate trees ... pure nature in the middle of the city. What a great place this is for those who appreciate a peaceful environment – and for those who are seeking inspiration! – The best place to enjoy this garden is the pool with its blue chairs which are a perfect match with all the plants. Ready for a swim? There is a counter-current system for guests who need some exercise. Ah – and no gym, by the way. But it does not matter. The many staircases in the Palácio and all the hills in the city will keep you fit – promised!
Photo: Breakfast is ready – stunning view included!
A new definition of luxury
For me that`s quality time for myself. Tranquility and peace. Balance. Nature and no crowds. You have that all at Palácio Belmonte – you are in a guest palace, not in a hotel. That makes the difference. And all that is perfectly combined with today`s comfort– apart from having a TV in your room. But you don`t need it. The Palácio itself and the many views of the city are the best channels you can choose. Take your time for all the details in the rooms full of art, history (the famous Portuguese explorers Cabral and Vasco da Gama were here long time before you came) and culture (books over books...). I could not get enough of the blue „azulejos“, Portugal`s famous, century-old tiles. And what better place to read about the country`s remarkable history! - You hardly see staff around. They are simply discreet. No one will knock at your door to replenish the minibar or turn down your bed or whatever. You get the service when YOU would like to get it – be it a massage, a personal trainer or even a yoga lesson (by the way, I strongly recommend Eduardo, you will see him in the photo gallery). Yoga, mindfulness and the Palácio - what an awesome combination!
And you don`t have air condition, you simply don`t need it. In the early evening the staff will open the windows of your suite to get fresh air in – again, discreetly and when you are not there. By the time you get to sleep you will find a pleasant temperature in your royal home away from home.
But before make sure to have your sundowner (maybe a glass of organic wine, nibbling tasty olives) in the Cultural Café (where they also offer delicious salads), listen to a piano player and admire an art exhibition. If you prefer a nightcap in the Palácio, just help yourself in a nice little parlor, enjoying some fado music (by the way, this theatric chant is a perfect match with the old building). And plan your next day in this great city. And yes, take a deep breath and enjoy!
Photo: Sit down in one of the many gorgeous salons and forget about the noise of this world
Owners with a vision
Frédéric Coustols, a French landscape collector (and a very interesting guy), bought this marvelous place back in 1994 and turned it into an award-winning hideaway for today`s sophisticated traveller. He welcomed world-famous German film director Wim Wenders („Ths Lisbon Story“) in his palace. And Marcello Mastroianni, Italy`s most popular actor in the 60s and the „Latin Lover“ par excellence. Frédéric`s wife Maria comes from an old noble Portuguese family and is a true allrounder. She speaks six languages, paints and manages the guest palace – an incredible woman. - In the video below they tell you more about this magic place.
Video produced by Gonçalo Barriga