When I visited Portugal for the first time, I stayed at this little design gem in Cascais, which is a small village about 30 minutes of driving from Lisboa and the airport. The village itself is beautiful, small, offers a variety of museums, little shops, beaches and a lighthouse called “Farol de Santa Maria”. And right next to that one is the afore mentioned Hotel Farol. The 5 star house claims to be of elegance and luxury with a certain twist. Well, here is my opinion.
The hotel is located in a building dating back to 1890 when it was the home of Count Cabral. Today it offers 33 rooms and suites, two restaurants and a bar. The rooms offer stunning views, either directly over the Atlantic or the ocean and a bit of the garden, as mine did. Numerous international and national renowned fashion designers were responsible for the interior of the whole hotel, the colors black and white are predominant. My room was spacious, with a nice bathroom and a comfortable bed. I feel like it would have been even nicer if the bed would have been facing the opposite direction, away from the street and towards the ocean. Sometimes I don’t understand the reasons for certain layouts of rooms, but maybe that’s just me.
The restaurant was one of my favorite places – not just because of the delicious food, but also because of the unobstructed views over the Atlantic ocean. Speaking of the restaurant and the ocean: The sushi chef is a surf champion, by the way! The sushi he creates is delicious, as was every plate I got served there. I’ve been traveling with a real food expert who was not that amazed, to be honest. The bread served is not baked there, for example. Something that should be a no-go for a hotel of this price range. But to be fair: I liked the bread and wouldn’t have been able to tell it wasn’t homemade. The breakfast was very good, it’s served as a buffet. There was everything, from fresh food to egg dishes, meat, sausages, cakes and cereals. My personal recommendation: You simply have to try the pasteis de nata, the traditional portuguese dessert. Very sweet, very mouth watering.
Another personal recommendation is visiting the bar of Hotel Farol and drinking the signature cocktail “Flight 1862” there. The drink is kind of famous, as mixologist Sandro Pimenta mixed it during a skydive. With that one he even made it to the finals of the Bacardí Legacy Global Cocktail Competition. It’s pink, it’s a balanced mixture between sweet and sour and for sure something I could easily get drunk by.
So, what’s there to do besides of enjoying the pleasures of eating and drinking? To be fair: Not to much at the hotel itself. There’s a pool with nice deck chairs, also overlooking the ocean. It is a nice place to hang out and relax, even though I personally think that it could be even nicer if it wouldn’t be surrounded by concrete. Why not having grass or sand there? Like in the small lounge area that’s located above the pool level? If you’d like to spend time at the beach, you have to walk a few minutes to the next bay. It’s not too far, but a little bit sad that a hotel that claims to be luxurious and charges rates according to that has no private beach. Apparently in September 2017 the construction of a spa area will start.
Still, you can do a lot of things around the hotel. For example sports. There’s a biking and running path you can access directly in front of the hotel. The small village of Cascais offers little shops, restaurants, bars and a marina and there’s the lighthouse right next to the hotel. That one is actually worth a visit. Not only because of the amazing views you have from the top of it but also because of the interesting things you’ll learn about lighthouses in general. Furthermore, the hotel (or Cascais as that) is the perfect home base if you’d like to visit Lisboa, the beautiful parks (such as Quinta da Regaleira), castles and Cabo da Roca (the most western point of continental Europe). You can reach Lisboa via train in about half an hour, the train station is also just a short walk from the hotel.
My personal tipp is to do a speedboat sightseeing tour. You’ll see the coastline of Lisboa, some important sights and a few lighthouses. I will write about that tour in another post, but that was truly an amazing experience. A last word about the activities around Hotel Farol: There are different golf courses around the hotel, you can rent a bike and cruise around, you can windsurf, dive, swim and run. I assume that a week or so spent at Hotel Farol wouldn’t be boring at all.
I really liked the nice staff and personal service, there were a few things though that shouldn’t happen in a five star hotel. For example empty and used plates on an abandoned table that are ignored for some time, for every coffee you make in your room you’re charged 1 Euro, and as there was nobody at the pool to hand out towels, we had to look for them and get them ourselves. Yes, that might be counting beans. But don’t forget that you’re paying for 5 stars, so I guess you should expect everything to be perfect, right?
Hotel Farol is for sure a nice place to spend a few days with your love, a nice hideaway or the gateway to Lisboa.
Av. Rei Humberto II. de Italia 7
Room rates start around 200 Euros per night. If you book via this link on booking.com you get a nice discount of 15 Euros!
Slider image (c) Farol Hotel