In a converted 15th-century palace, this spectacular retreat is a real grown-up hideaway. A former bolthole for passing royalty in the Portuguese village of Paço de Arcos, it retains touches of old-school glamour, from antique velvet armchairs and soaring ceilings to chandeliers and gilded frames. However, there’s plenty of 21st-century panache to ensure it retains its title as one of the area’s leading hotels.
The Collection Palácio dos Arcos is full of distinct character, starting at its yellow-hued facade, through to the classic, smart interior brimming with interesting details: poetry from historical Portuguese writers pops up on the walls and the library is packed with well-thumbed classics. Much of the hotel’s public spaces remain in the original building, but the majority of the stylish rooms are in a newly built wing: neutral, pared back, but reassuringly homely, with large windows opening onto views of the azure Tagus River.
Sunday brunch is an absolute must. It’s gastronomic heaven: delicious cakes and pastries sit alongside traditional continental spread as well as healthy cereals, seeds as grains. For an extra special treat, chefs whip up mouthwatering dishes such as sea bass with lemon sauce and chicken cutlets — there’s truly no better way to start the morning.
From there, guests can take five beneath white umbrellas beside the pool and drink crisp white wines over long, lazy lunches. Sea-facing afternoon teas are taken on the terrace, from where boats bob in the distance, and guests can retreat from the hazy heat to pad about the immaculate gardens — just follow the sounds of the trickling fountains. Serenity seekers, meanwhile, can get their wellness fix in the Satsanga Collection spa with Jacuzzi, Turkish bath and gym.
Should guests want to explore the area, they can catch the train to Lisbon’s centre — just 15 minutes away; or if it’s coastal culture on the agenda, the pretty village of Cascais is an easy train ride away. With great surf, throbbing bars, golden curves of sand and a warren of lanes lined with seafood restaurants and independent boutiques, it’s full of infectious, good-time vibes. After a day on the beach, decamp back to the hotel, wash the sand off, and head to the Inevitavel restaurant which has a strong focus on Portuguese cuisine.