Take a look at the best boutique hotels in Portugal.
Casa do Barao is a charming upper-middle-range bed-and-breakfast in Lisbon's trendy Chiado neighborhood. Artistically and eclectically furnished with modern and quirky pieces, this B&B is great for couples and independent travelers (children under 16 are not allowed) looking for a homey, relaxing place to rest while visiting the city. Its 12 guest rooms are modern and clean, equipped with flat-screen TVs and air-conditioning, plus some have terraces with views of the garden that features a small pool. With free breakfast, a great location, cozy library, and an honor bar, it’s a good find in the city center. For an alternative, check out ZUZABED & Breakfast B&B, Apartments & Villas, which offers similar trendy rooms as well as full-service apartments, plus breakfast is included in rates.
Set in a repurposed 17th-century olive oil mill with a sunny whitewashed courtyard, the three-pearl Albergaria do Cavalrio is an intimate, 22-room hotel a 10-minute walk from the center of Evora. While the hotel may be light on amenities -- it lacks a full restaurant and swimming pool -- it's big on historic charm and friendly service. Contemporary rooms are attractively decorated with dramatic antique armoires and woven headboards, but they can be small and dark. Guests rave about the free buffet breakfast, and the hotel serves light tapas lunches in the courtyard. Guests dead-set on a pool should check out the M'AR De AR Muralhas, which also has larger rooms.
The Casa Amora Guesthouse is a simple, charming inn, run and personally decorated by a designer. There are 10 individually decorated rooms (some of them duplexes), divided between two buildings. The three-and-a-half pearl property is set on a small, winding street in the pedestrian-friendly neighborhood of Rato, within walking distance of a plethora of quaint shops and restaurants, and less than a block from the lovely park Jardim das Amoreiras. An early 20th century construction renovated in 2012, the property complex features beautiful facade tile work and is tastefully outfitted with contemporary art prints and decorative mirrors.
Hotel Britania has a loyal set of customers who return year after year. Its location on a tree-lined street just off of bustling Avenida de Liberdade is convenient, but removed from the loud noise of the city. It's a boutique, with only 32 rooms, and it lacks the amenities of a larger property -- there is no fitness center, spa, or full restaurant. However, the hotel does offer a breakfast buffet as well as 24-hour room service, and guests can grab a drink at the wood-paneled bar. Built in the 1940s, the hotel maintains the Art Deco look: The lobby is outfitted with marble columns and impressive chandeliers, and the spacious rooms have dark woods, silver accents, funky light fixtures, and marble bathrooms.
The historic Solar Do Castelo is different than any other hotel in Lisbon. The rooms are quaint (if not luxurious), and the breakfast buffet offers a ton of options for hungry guests. But the real reason tourists stay at this hotel is the location; not only is it convenient to numerous sights and neighborhoods in the city, but it is the only hotel within the walls of the medieval village surrounding St. George's Castle. It's quiet, and rich in history -- the hotel has preserved a large part of the architecture, as well as adding a small museum of artifacts off of the lobby. And a real highlight is the outdoor terrace, where peacocks congregate. None of the 14 rooms are decorated the same, and some feel more upscale than others. But all offer free Wi-Fi and plenty of charm.
This luxury boutique hotel opened its doors on Lisbon's high-end shopping street, Avenida da Liberdade, in 2014. The Valverde has chic designer interiors and 25 elegant guest rooms and suites with luxurious black-marble bathrooms. Most rooms have balconies, and come with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and minibars, and Suites, which have separate living rooms and extras like espresso machines. Breakfast is included in the room rate, and other notable features include a pleasant leafy courtyard with a bar and a small, heated swimming pool, a restaurant, and a library lounge. But Mini Rooms can be small and dark, and typical luxury amenities, such as a fitness center and spa, are missing. Travelers might want to check out the nearby Porto Bay Liberdade, another luxury boutique hotel, which has both fitness facilities and a spa.
Algar Seco Parque is an attractive three-and-a-half-pearl hotel offering stellar ocean views and classic Portuguese style. The scenic property, set on a hillside, is about 10 minutes by foot from the heart of the village. Artisanal landscaping and bountiful flowers lend it incredible character, while the hotel includes a nice mix of 47 total traditional suites, bungalows, and villas offering either pool or sea views. All include amenities like flat-screen TVs and spacious, Mediterranean-style bathrooms and kitchens. There are three pools (including one for kids), as well as a breezy bistro that overlooks the ocean and the pools. Guests seeking more diverse amenities may prefer the nearby Tivoli Carvoeiro Hotel.
The Home Lisbon Hostel has 24 rooms that live up to the hostel's name. Conveniently located in the popular Baixa-Chiado district, the two-pearl hostel is less than a 10-minute walk to Praca do Comercio and Alfama, major tourist destinations in town. Bright dormitory-style rooms are furnished with well-sized bunkbeds, and clean communal bathrooms are spacious, if far from some rooms. Dinners cooked and served nightly by the owner's mother are renowned and add to the hostel's familial vibe. An on-site bar/lounge, outdoor patio, and living room also provide a homey atmosphere. Nearby hostels like Lisbon Destination Hostel inside Rossio Station offer more modern and private rooms at similar prices, but there's a lot more charm at Home Lisbon.
This 40-room hotel housed in an 18th-century building on bustling Avenida da Liberdade mixes modern decor with restored historic touches. (Most of the ironwork is original, as is the wooden front door.) The predominant look is sleek and contemporary. While the room decor isn't quite luxurious, it's certainly attractive, with warm chocolate and beige tones, pops of pattern, wood floors, and sepia-toned photographs. The reading lights attached to the headboards are a convenient detail. Many rooms have Juliette balconies looking out onto the tree-lined street, reminding guests of the hotel's fabulous location; numerous major sights -- as well as popular neighborhoods -- are within walking distance.
The Verdes Inn is a charming boutique overlooking the Tagus and situated next to the Museum of Ancient Art. This 29-room hotel, part of an historic 18th-century palace, lacks the amenities of a larger hotel -- there is no spa or fitness center, and the business center consists of a desktop computer -- but the hotel's intimate size is part of the appeal. Guests come for the cozy (if simple) rooms and gorgeous common areas. Decor wouldn't look out of place in an upscale beach cottage; the antique-filled, wood-paneled library has an attached terrace overlooking the water that lets in a lot of natural light. And the garden area, surrounded by ivy-covered walls, is welcoming. The rooms aren't luxurious but they are attractive, with a pastel color scheme and floral curtains. But although nightlife and a couple of museums are within walking distance, serious tourists (as in those planning on exploring all day) may consider staying in a more central location along Avenida de Liberdade.
Intimacy is the prevailing theme at the four-and-a-half-pearl Albatroz Beach & Yacht Club. The 15-room hotel used to be a private villa, and it retains the feel of a modest but immaculately decorated country house, with sculpted clifftop gardens and cozy bars. There are two pools -- one at the top of the cliff, and one at the foot of the cliff -- so that swimmers feel as though they are immersed in the Atlantic. Guests typically love the food served at the on-site restaurant, and a spa and gym round out the facilities. Guests looking to stay somewhere similarly intimate, but closer to Funchal might want to try the Quintinha Sao Joao.
Located on the oceanfront (though with no direct beach access) and right next to the train station, InterContinental Estoril is a couple-friendly, four-pearl hotel with lovely interiors. The 59 suites and guest rooms are quite spacious and come with flat-screen TVs, balconies with ocean views, and free minibars. Unfortunately, some guests note thin walls and bothersome noise. There’s an array of amenities like an outdoor pool, spa with beauty treatments and massages, fitness center, restaurant, hot and cold breakfast, and a hip bar. As an alternative, Palacio Estoril Hotel, Golf and Spa has a bit more of a family-friendly vibe and is a good alternative for those who want to play a round of golf.
This four-pearl, 45-room upscale hotel has a quiet clifftop location in Santana, a small village on Madeira's northeast coast. It's great for walkers, as it's close to levadas and trails like Pico Ruivo, and it has a relaxed, away-from-it-all atmosphere. Attractive rooms and suites are set within five acres of organic gardens, and the hotel is traditionally decorated with rustic furnishings. There's an indoor/outdoor pool and full-service spa for relaxing, plus a fitness center and games room. The hotel's acclaimed restaurant has a unique cliffside setting with dramatic views of the coastline, and serves gourmet cuisine with garden-sourced ingredients. Breakfast and Wi-Fi are both free. For an alternative that's closer to civilization, Quinta da Casa Branca has a more central location within walking distance to Funchal's bars and restaurant.
Quintinha Sao Joao is a four-pearl boutique property designed to recreate the experience of staying in a traditional Portuguese manor house. Perched on a hill in a quiet residential neighborhood, guests are a 15-minute walk from downtown Funchal. All 42 air-conditioned rooms are large with firm mattresses, garden-view balconies, minibars, and flat-screen TVs with DVD players. While the spa and heated indoor and outdoor pool areas have a contemporary look, the rest of the hotel's antique decor has a dated though welcoming and homey feel to it. Expect lots of freebies, from a breakfast buffet and Wi-Fi to all-day snacks and downtown shuttle. The main bar offers happy hour and live piano music, while the restaurant serves Goan-focused dishes. Travelers looking for more modern digs should consider the nearby and slightly cheaper Four View Baia.
Housed in an 18th-century building in the center of Lisbon, this two-pearl guesthouse has, as the name implies, an art theme, with the room decor inspired by famous artists, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Andy Warhol. It’s well priced and has a kitchen stocked with free breakfast items that guests prepare themselves, as well as drinks and snacks available on an honor system. The seven rooms share three clean, brightly colored bathrooms. Travelers who are uncomfortable with a shared bathroom can try Casa Belmonte, which has similar rates, but it's located one-and-a-half miles to the north.