Palácio Belmonte - lisbon´s best kept secret
Although this was already my second visit at the award-winning Palácio Belmonte, Lisbon`s best kept secret, I was again overwhelmed by the exceptional beauty of this place (its history dates back to 1449). Last fall I have already published a blogpost about this 5-star guest palace ("Out of this world") so this time I will just focus on a few very exciting news.
What Jeremy Irons says about Palácio Belmonte
Academy-award winner Jeremy Irons stayed at Palácio Belmonte during the shooting of the movie "Night Train to Lisbon") and describes this heavenly place in a very nice way:
"Living at the Palácio is like living in the middle of a favourite book you are reading. You escape into it and never want it to end." - (Published in the beautiful book "Chic Stays" by Condé Nast, where celebrities introduce their favorite hotels all over the world).
Art and History at palácio belmonte
The owners Maria and Frederic are known as landscape and art collectors and even as artists. No wonder that 20% of their annual room (or better say suite) capacities is dedicated to workshops of all kind, in particular in the field of arts, architecture and music. Palácio Belmonte with only 11 suites (no rooms) is full of art and history - I was not sad at all when it was raining in Lisbon one day. This gave me the opportunity to return to my home for a few days and to discover details I had not really noticed before. And - there is a huge new masterpiece just in front of the restored historic entrance - a colorful flower cube produced by Yang Guang Nan Ai, a Chinese artist. Many visitors walk by on their way to the Lisbon castle to take a photo. I particularly loved the spectacular green piece of art in the music room, created by Czech artist Jana Matejkova as part of an exhibition about the fascination of light.
This Suite is simply out of this World
The Amadeu Sousa Cardoso Suite (named after a famous painter ) is the largest (120 sqm) and most expensive in the Palacio - and was just recently redecorated. The result is simply breathtaking, a little heaven on two floors with a cathedral ceiling. The famous "azulejos" (historic Portuguese tiles) from the 18th century are a gorgeous contrast to contemporary furniture. A cool staircase leads to your bed on the mezzanine - good sleep almost guaranteed. There is no TV in your suite - but you won`t need it! The view over the wild garden and the pool, Lisbon´s old city called Alfama and the giant Tagus river are your programme during your stay - and far better than any TV show. Breakfast is served in your suite - and again, I don`t know how these fantastic ladies prepare a beautiful table on your private terrace without being noticed. When you go out at the desired time you will just see all the goodies you had ordered - service par excellence.
Awesome Dining Experience at "LEOPOLD"
There was always the Cultural Café at Palacio Belmonte where you can enjoy snacks, sinful good cakes, great coffee and a good selection of wines but now you can even have a full dinner! The already proven LEOPOLD restaurant opened its doors at Palácio Belmonte in November 2016, led by Ana Cachaço and chef Tiago Feio, together with a great team. Here you will not have the noise of many restaurants in Lisbon - just a few tables, gentle music, a very puristic interior with interesting art and above all, a very simple but at the same time refined cuisine with a little flavour of Japan. "We always care to offer fresh and local products, clean flavors in a refined and contemporary way" says chef Tiago who acquired his skills from one of Portugal`s best-known chef. 7 courses may sound a lot but this includes a very creative presentation of bread and rather small portions which will not overload your stomach. My favorite was a tasty plate with egg, shitake mushroom and buckwheat seeds. And guess what, after the 7 courses you get a lovely surprise (I won`t say anything else, of course...). Bom apetite!
What will be new at Palácio Belmonte?
A new suite (no. 11) is currently under construction on the historic grounds. It will be connected to a sauna, with a private terrace overlooking the garden and pool. You can already enjoy WELLBEING at Palácio Belmonte, but as of spring 2017 WELLNESS will be added. Two treatment rooms will be at the guests` disposal. I can already imagine the relax after a nice massage, looking at orange trees and bouganvilla, with the gentle noise of church bells in the background. Put Palácio Belmonte on your bucket list if you are looking for an exceptional experience. It combines history, culture, wining and dining and even nature in the middle of an exciting city that is Lisbon. And the capital city is a perfect hub to explore other places in Portugal, such as the spectacular Algarve with some of Europe´s finest beaches.
Pátio de Dom Fradique 14, 1100-624 Lisboa, Portugal
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How to get to Palácio Belmonte
A transfer from Lisbon airport to downtown (by subway or by cab) will usually take approximately 20 minutes. You can pre-order a limousine service in advance. For your excursions in Lisbon, you may wish to buy a day ticket for the metro. You will find the rates and other details on the site of Metro Lisboa. The metro station is a 10-minute walk away from Palácio Belmonte. The streetcar and bus stations are only a five-minute walk from the palace.
Interested in capturing the best photo spots in Lisbon? Have a look at tips from a professional photographer. And these are my best tips for the Alfama neighborhood in Lisbon.
Have a look at my interview with the owners which was produced in 2015: