This country is in no shortage of beautiful palace-like places, turned into marvellous hotels, with sumptuous decor, amazing Comfort and immaculate service . Here’s one of the three featured in our June issue

Vidago Palace Hotel
This is easily one of my top three favourite hotels in Portugal. Because luxury is so real, so evident, when it has a past. And Vidago Palace’s past is rich and royal, something you can feel in every little corner you discover in this magical place. The pureness of the air we breathe there, the amazing natural park where the palace is built, the beautitful pink facade… Stepping inside, the majestic staircase and the lush wood welcomes guests and make us feel we should have a title.

Who had the inital idea for this magnificent project? It was the Portuguese King D. Carlos. Dining and wining were two of his great passions and he discovered that the local spring waters in the area were good for his digestive issues. So he decided to build a palace in Vidago, where he could go for treatments but where he could also host events with royals and aristocrats. But then history happened: the king was killed (in 1908, the Portuguese republic system was implemented and although he never saw the finished project, the palace opened its doors in 1910 for international guests and lavish parties.

After the Second World War it lost importance and in 2006 it close down for renovations. But a century after its inauguration, in 2010, Vidago Palace Hotel reopened in all its former glory to welcome anyone who wants a taste of what real luxury is.

It now has 70 rooms – rich in classical colours, high quality materials, big windows and old style bathtubs.

I could list at least 25 not-to-be-missed things to do here but I will limit myself to just five: a dinner in the impossibly grand Salão Nobre (Vítor Matos is the consulting chef since 2017, and he knows how to turn local fresh products into high cuisine delicacies); a facial treatment at the spa – designed by Portuguese architect Siza Vieira; having a go at the golf course, built in 1936 (you can book a class and learn in the most beautiful setting); taste the spring waters in the gorgeous fountain building and some petiscos (pastéis de Chaves – a delicious meat-filled pastry) in the wine cellar.

One other unmissable experience is to stay a night in Pedras Salgadas Spa & Nature Park. This is the place where the famous Portuguese mineral water Água das Pedras cames from. Staying in one of the 14 wooden eco houses or the two tree houses (you’ll feel like a bird tucked in its nest) is a total contrast to the opulence of Vidago Palace.

The park, open to the public, is perfect for long walks. But, apart from nature, you can visit the charming small museum where you can learn about the park and its therapeutic spring waters, stop for a meal at Casa de Chá (also where guests have breakfast), have a look at the Casino – now used for private events – and book a water treatment at the spa (highly recommended is the Vichy Shower: a massage with hot spring water).

Parque de Vidago

Pedras Salgadas Spa & Nature Park

Words: Sandra Gato

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