Casa Das Senhoras Rainhas

Obidos, Lisbon Coast, Portugal Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
A renovated townhouse in historic Obidos that stands in the lee of the town's ancient ramparts
Obidos is one of Portugal’s crown jewels, a walled town with a castle and ramparts. It was taken from the Moors in 1148 by King Dinis I, who gifted it to his wife, holy queen Isabel, and for 700 years it was an integral part of the house of Portuguese queens (the hotel’s name). It was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, but much survives. There are 14 churches within the walls and fine azulejos (antique tiles) in each gatehouse.

This grand old building stands against the eastern wall; you can sit on your terrace drink in hand, the envy of tourists circling the ramparts above you. Dine in the garden in summer or in the restaurant itself, or help yourself to a drink in the sitting room, where an open fire smoulders in winter. Outside, bougainvillea roams on whitewashed walls, cobbled lanes wait to be explored. Climb the hill to the west to find a very pretty miradouro with views over the town, and a bar with jazz on Friday nights in summer. Beyond the walls you’ll find a tidal lagoon and the long, wave-laced sands of Foz do Arelho.

Highs

  • Touring Obidos on the rampart walls - a lovely town to explore
  • The tasteful rooms, most with balcony or terrace overlooking the walls
  • Plenty of festas, including street processions over Easter, a medieval market in the first week of July, and a chocolate festival in November
  • A warm welcome and very helpful service
  • Overall a more stylish (and less expensive) hotel than the town's better-known pousada

Lows

  • The town can get clogged with tourists in high season
  • You're not on the coast - Obidos used to be, but the sea has retreated - and there's no pool, so you'll have to drive to one of the (superb) beaches nearby for a swim

Best time to go

This is a year-round destination. It’s busy from June to August, extremely busy for Easter. If you want to avoid the crowds, come in Spring or early Autumn.

Local festas, include traditional street processions on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, a medieval market in the first week of July, and a chocolate festival in November. In Peniche on the first weekend in August, the festival of Nossa Senhora de Boa Viagem sees crowds of candle-holders parade a statue of the Virgin down to the harbour, before moving on to fireworks and street dancing.

Our top tips

Easter is celebrated with much fanfare in Obidos. There are grand processions on Palm Sunday, while crowds pack the streets on Good Friday as the locals perform the Passion of Christ on the streets.

Great for...

Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 10
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Each room is named after a Portuguese queen and all are similarly decorated. You get slate floors, yellow walls and coloured woodwork in green, red or blue. It's smart without being frilly, uncluttered and with good lighting. All rooms are big, with comfy beds, crisp white linen and pretty curtains.

The Tower Room at the top of the house is the most expensive room. It's not a suite, but it's huge and has the best views. It doesn't have a terrace, but windows both sides overlook the town: to the west São Pedro's church and terracotta rooftops; to the east the 800-year-old wall. The rest of the rooms are spread over two floors.

Those on the lower floor all have doors onto shaded terraces. Three of the rooms on the floor above open onto private balconies. The two end rooms on this floor don't have balconies but are the largest rooms in the house, thus good for families who need an extra bed. If we had to choose a favourite, we’d plump for one of the rooms with a balcony. All rooms come with fresh flowers, bowls of fruit, chocolates, and small decanters of Ginja, an intoxicating Óbidos speciality. There’s cable TV, too. Bathrooms come in yellow marble with fluffy towels and bath robes.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Flowers
  • Fruit
  • Internet access
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Tv

Eating

A colourful dining room is at the back on the house. In good weather French windows fly open and you eat on the terrace at the foot of the town wall. Breakfast is brought to you, the usual marvellous Portuguese excess: plates of fruit, baskets of bread and croissants, freshly-squeezed orange juice, home-baked cakes, bacon and eggs if you want them.

Lunch and dinner are both available in the hotel's upscale restaurant, Cozinha das Rainhas, which is open to non-residents, too. Tables are appetisingly laid with fresh flowers and candles in the evening. There's a proper a la carte menu combining Portuguese and international influences: try seafood gaspacho accompanied by freshly baked bread, duck breast with a fig marmalade, then tangerine sorbet on a bed of mint leaves.

If you want to eat out there are plenty of restaurants in town. The pousada has quite a fancy dining room while Alcaid offers good traditional Portuguese cooking, as does Ilustre Casa do Ramiro.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore Obidos. Wander the alleyways, drop into the churches, visit the castle or stop for a coffee. The most dramatic way to see the town is to climb up to the ramparts and follow the path round. You float above the town and find wonderful views both sides of the wall. It takes about 30 minutes to complete a circuit. But be careful: there are no railings.

  • Climb up to a very pretty stone terrace shaded by plane trees to the west. There are tables and chairs up here and a small café/bar called Miradouro. It's one of the loveliest spots in town; don't miss it. There's jazz on Friday nights. Down below you'll find a couple of bars worth popping into. Stop for a coffee at Bicainha (espresso) or try Petrariom for something stronger. If you want to try Ginja, the Obidos snifter of choice, head to the quirky Bar Ibn Errik Rex on the main drag.

  • There's a puppet theatre in town and weekly music recitals in the Casa de Música.

  • Beyond the walls, head to the Obidos lagoon. You can fish, swim, sail, wind surf. It's tidal and popular with locals. If you want the beach, try Foz do Arelho to the north of the lagoon, where Graham Greene used to holiday; its huge, sandy, wave-pounded flats are perfect for surfing and swimming in summer, or long walks and frisbee games in winter.

  • Peniche, 20km west, is another pretty walled town and one of Portugal's most active fishing ports: you can see the shipwrights at work in the boatyards to the north. Coastal paths take you to the rugged cliffs and lighthouse of Cabo Carvoeiro or to the islet-village of Baleal, and there are boat trips to the Ilha Berlenga, a nature reserve with thousands of sea-birds.

  • If you fancy a game of golf, there's a well-manicured course at Praia d'El Rey. Tennis and riding are about 3km from the hotel.

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Tennis
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Kids will love the beach and all its activities; the hotel can provide cots and extra beds on request. We'd suggest the larger end rooms on the lower floor for families.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
7/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

Rates for Casa Das Senhoras Rainhas