Take a look at the best luxury hotels in Portugal.
The 40-room Quinta Jardins do Lago is a refined luxury hotel set in a historic 18th-century mansion in a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of Funchal. While the hilltop setting is peaceful and affords distant sea views, it's a bit removed from most of the city's attractions. The hotel's botanical gardens, however, are truly impressive, with balconied guest rooms and terraced eateries taking full advantage of the wealth of flora. Facilities are excellent, with a heated pool and choice of casual or formal dining, as well as a fitness room, sauna, and hot tub. Rates, though, are pricey, and the Old World style won't be everyone's cup of tea. The Quinta Das Vistas Palace Gardens is a cheaper alternative and also offers stunning views, though it lacks this hotel's gardens.
The four-pearl, 49-room Quinta da Casa Branca is a stand-out property in Funchal, located in a quiet residential area about a 15-minute walk from the promenade. The boutique hotel's grounds are filled with lush gardens, an outdoor pool, and places to lounge, plus there are a spa, gym, and two dining spots. While the architecture is modern and sleek, room interiors are more traditionally styled with floral patterns and wood paneling. They do all come with flat-screen TVs, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and minibars, plus suites have living areas and jetted tubs. While the seclusion and relaxing atmosphere are a large drawcard, those preferring a more stylish property might prefer The Vine, located a five-minute walk from Funchal's old town.
Situated on a cliff facing the ocean, the luxury Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa has the feel of an elegant estate and village spanning 54 acres of garden grounds. The property has 180 rooms, the most basic of which have contemporary decor by local artists, sunken living rooms, and outdoor areas. Many features are off-site or seasonal, but the resort presents a slew of dining and recreation options, along with access to a small beach with Portugal's largest reef offshore. The nine restaurants include a two-star Michelin spot, and there are seven bars and an elegant wine cellar. Other bonuses are the European-style holistic spa, eight swimming pools, kids' clubs, and golf facilities. Across the road, the resort's main competitor, Blue & Green Vilalara Thalassa Resort, offers a well-respected Thalassotherapy spa and more tranquility, but less of a luxury-estate feel.
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 Cliff Bay (Porto Bay) is a luxury hotel with a striking cliff-side setting overlooking the Atlantic, a bit more than a mile from Funchal's city center. It's home to Madeira’s only Michelin-star restaurant, two swimming pools (one freshwater, one saltwater, and a kiddy pool), and a luxe spa. The 200 rooms are pleasant, bright, and spacious, and most have balconies with superb ocean views. The resort as whole is well-oiled with plenty of polish, if not a huge amount of character. For that, travelers might want to check out the 18th-century Quinta Jardins do Lago -- far from the sea but set within lush botanical gardens.
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.
The 82-room Hotel Avenida Palace is a landmark upscale property with sumptuous, palatial interiors. Located in the bustling center of historic Lisbon, the hotel is close to Rossio train station and within walking distance of many tourist attractions. While rooms might feel a little old-fashioned and fussy, most of the hotel's common areas are genuinely breathtaking, and there are plenty of spots in which to relax and soak up the surrounds -- the live music in the lounge is a particularly nice touch. An excellent breakfast service is included with room rates, and Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel. If it all feels a little over the top, there's always the sleeker, 1940s-style Altis Avenida Hotel across the road.
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.
InterContinental Porto Palacio das Cardosas is a luxury hotel housed in an 18th-century palace, and interiors are elegant and refined. Located right in Porto's historic district, the iconic narrow lanes of the old town are just down the hill, and Riberia Square only takes 15 minutes to reach on foot. The style in the 105 rooms is a blend of modern and classic aesthetics -- with just a touch of shimmer -- and all come with marble bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. Some have balconies overlooking Liberdade Square below. The hotel has an elegant cocktail bar and Portuguese restaurant, but the spa is underwhelming and the fitness center is small. Travelers hoping for a swimming pool should consider the equally sophisticated Palacio do Freixo, though it's not as centrally located.
The 163-room Belmond Reid’s Palace is a historic luxury hotel perched dramatically on a clifftop a short drive from the center of Funchal. Awash with antiques and period touches, this traditionally elegant property has lost little of its original 19th-century elegance -- though some might find the overall vibe a little stuffy. The classic vibe extends to the bright rooms, complete with furnished balconies or patios; some suites have kitchenettes. Stunning sea views are found from numerous vantage points, the property offers extensive dining options, and leisure facilities include several outdoor pools, lovely gardens with lounge chairs, outdoor tennis courts, and a spa. For top-notch amenities and sea views without the old-fashioned formality, check out The Cliff Bay nearby.
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.
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.