* Dá Licença (Estremoz): Two guys from the Parisian antique and fashion world have transformed an Alentejo farmstead into a work of art. Each of the enormous, light-filled suites and rooms is decorated with great style using locally mined marble and unique pieces from their world-class collection of art nouveau furniture and design. There are private pools hewn from marble and views, citrus groves and thousands of olive trees and the opportunity to take dinner in art-themed private dining rooms.
* Le Monumental Palace (Porto):This long derelict 1920s palace has been rescued by French investors who have restored its Jazz Age glamor. It blends Belle Epoque, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco styles with sensitive modern touches. The pavement-level cafe is again a city social hub; rooms are “grand hotel” elegant, and the deluxe spa ensures premium pampering on the main boulevard of Portugal’s second city.
* Palácio de Seteais (Sintra): The Dutch ambassador owned one of the most romantic palaces in Portugal, built in the 1780s on a forested hillside in Sintra. They say the name came later: “Sete ais” translates as “seven sighs,” apparently uttered by Portuguese nobles forced to sign a humiliating treaty here after an 1807 defeat by Napoleon’s invading armies. Any sighing you’re likely to do today will be from pleasure—at the views, the lavish gardens, the gloriously restored neoclassical building, and the chance to plunge into the lifestyle of the old-world aristocracy.
* Pousada Palacio de Estoi (Faro): Our pick from the Pousada chain of historic inns was built in the 1780s as a pleasure place for a viscount’s palace. Its rococo domes and towers are painted in raspberry and lemon shades overlooking gardens filled with palms, fountains, and rows of statues. The central salon is a downsized version of the Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. In contrast, guestrooms are in the new wing built along minimalist-but-comfy lines by an award-winning architect.
* Rio do Prado (Óbidos): On the road from the white town of Óbidos to pristine west-coast beaches is this friendly eco-chic resort formed by concrete cubicles that blend into the grass. It might not sound tempting, but the bungalows are intriguingly crafted to allow in sunlight and decorated with sustainable good taste, with private patios, fireplaces inside and out, and theatrical stand-alone tubs. The garden is a delight, and the property’s organic herb and vegetable plot supplies the restaurant.
* Six Senses Douro Valley (Lamego): Probably the most pampering you can get at any one place, this was the first European resort with the sensory overload approach of Asian luxury specialist Six Senses. It has acres of land among the Douro’s riverside vineyards, a match of award-winning contemporary design with the charm of the original 19th-century mansion, great restaurants, and a superlative spa.
* The Independente (Lisbon): Lisbon has a reputation for some of the world’s hippest hostels, and this is one of the best: at the heart of the action in the Bairro Alto nightlife zone and with great views over the city. It has basic dorm bunks for as little as 10€ including breakfast—and this in a palatial, early-20th-century residence originally built for the Swiss ambassador! A couple of cool restaurants are in the building along with a rooftop bar. There are also some charming private suites, for those who can afford to pay for privacy.
* Verride Palácio Santa Catarina (Lisbon): An 18th-century palace restored and renovated as one of the capital’s most luxurious. You’ll gape at marble arches, panels of antique tiles, and the monumental staircase. On the roof, the pool and bar/restaurant gift guests with 360-degree views over the rooftops and River Tagus. The king-size royal suites are draped in lemon-yellow silk and stucco work like piped cream. It’s regal but has a laidback and unstuffy feel.
* Vidago Palace (Chaves): Of all Portugal’s grand old spa hotels, this is the grandest. Built in 1910 on the orders of King Carlos I, who wanted a resort to rival the best of Europe, it oozes Belle Epoque glamour. Built over natural spring waters reputed for their curative properties since Roman times, it is surrounded by 100 hectares (250 acres) of forested parkland. Inside, expect expanses of marble, silk wall hangings, and monumental staircases, all tastefully restored when the hotel reopened in 2010. The gourmet restaurant and 18-hole golf course are bonuses. It’s an hour’s drive from Porto in the heart of Trás-os-Montes.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.