Hotel Albatroz

Cascais, Lisbon Coast, Portugal Book from Eur150

Reviewed by Tom Bell
A grand hotel on the Estoril Riviera, with a lovely courtyard pool and terraced bar, all surrounded by beach and sea
Cascais is a fishing village, once patronised by Portuguese royalty and exiled European kings, now firmly established as Lisbon’s summer playground. Grand buildings rise along the beachfront, none more appealing than Hotel Albatroz. Step inside to a lost world of 1950s Riviera chic. Porters swoop upon your luggage; an ocean of marble leads to a wall of glass, beyond which a cliff-top pool glistens in enclosed gardens. The buildings wrap around an inner court: waves lap below, palms soar above, a terraced bar juts out to sea, restaurant windows give huge views down the Estoril coast.

Rooms are no less alluring. Some overlook the pool, some the sea, some the beach, some all three. Take your pick from old-fashioned splendour, airy contemporary interiors, or the clipped English elegance of the next-door palace. You're in the middle of mazy streets with smart shops waiting to lighten your wallet. Glitzy Estoril is a short promenade away; sublime Sintra with its Pena Palace lies in the hills behind; along the coast is Cabo da Roca, Europe's westernmost point.

Highs

  • Not only is this the smartest place to stay in town, but the Main Hotel's position on a rocky headland between 2 golden beaches is matchless
  • The facilities are regal: a clifftop pool, a panoramic bar and restaurant, twice-daily housekeeping and embossed bedlinens
  • Elegant bedrooms, many with ocean views and balconies
  • Charming service
  • With the train station a short stroll away, and Lisbon a 30-minute ride, it's a great alternative to staying in the city

Lows

  • Villa Albatroz building is currently closed for renovation work

  • Being spread across 4 very different buildings, rooms vary enormously. And, unless you book into Villa Cascais, you can't specify which building you prefer
  • When we revisited in 2013, we felt some rooms needed refreshing - dated decor and chipped paint
  • Late-night noise from nightclubs if you keep windows open while you sleep
  • It’s expensive, especially during peak season, but worth it

Best time to go

The hotel is open all year round. Weekends in High Season are pretty frantic. There's a Wednesday market and occasional Sunday evening bullfights in town.

The Cascais Summer Festival (July-Sept) offers nightly entertainment - music, dancing, fireworks - on the coastal path between Cascais and Estoril; and the Estoril Jazz Festival (July) is a world-class draw which includes performances in Cascais' Palmela Auditorium. There are events all year round in the area from music to sport.

Our top tips

Estoril, 15 minutes' away along a seaside promenade, has golf, palaces, a casino, and a packed schedule of events all year including the motorbike Grand Prix in mid-September.

Great for...

Beach
City Style
Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • = Makes the grade
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Hotel
  • 63
  • Restaurant and bar open daily
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Cookery lessons
  • Wine-tasting sessions
Room: Standard City View (Main Hotel/Palace)

Rooms

The Main Hotel holds court on a rocky headland between 2 beaches, while the Italian Palace is a 1-minute stroll across the road, facing the sandy Praia de Conceição beach. Villa Cascais is quite separate, at a 5-minute walk away.

At the Main Hotel, the central building was constructed in 1873 as the summer house of the Dukes of Loulé. It has a regal air: you climb up a marble staircase, with a crystal chandelier hanging above. Bedrooms are nicely old-fashioned with crisp fabrics, antique furniture and watery views. More contemporary on-site buildings offer big light-filled bedrooms with delicious fabrics, white-washed wooden floors and big mirrors in colourful bathrooms. Many have spacious balconies overlooking the sea.

Across the road, the neo-Romantic Palace was built for Don Antonio of Lancastre in 20th-century Italianate style. The hallmark is English country-house elegance: antique mahogany furniture, trim carpets, thick fabrics, good art on the walls. You get Japanese screens, creamy marble bathrooms and those on the first floor have doors onto a Moorish-style balcony.

Rooms are divided into 4 categories. It's largely a question of size, but also of sea views (most Collection Rooms face the town) and of balconies (most Deluxe Sea Views and Suite Sea Views have them). You can specify your preferred room type, but not your preferred building.

VILLA CASCAIS

There's also a separate villa hotel 5 minutes' walk away on Cascais Bay, where the 11 rooms have a simpler ambiance. It's more like an inn (estalagem) than a hotel, but you still get all the services of Hotel Albatroz - use of the pools, twice-daily room service, the same embossed bedlinen etc.

Features include:

  • Terrace
  • Internet access
  • Phone
  • Satellite tv
  • Wifi internet
  • Safe box
  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Bathrobes
  • Toiletries
  • Minibar
  • Hairdryer
  • Beach bag and beach towels

Eating

As you’d expect of a big hotel, you can pretty much eat whatever you want whenever you want. Breakfast is served in the dining room - grab the window tables for views of beach and sea. Help yourself to an extensive buffet: freshly-squeezed orange juice, freshly-cut fruit, plates of cheese and ham, a selection of cakes and patisserie, croissants and home-baked bread. There’s bacon and eggs if you fancy something hot.

You can order light meals in the bar and eat on the terrace. It juts out to sea, giving fabulous views, and is one of the loveliest spots in the hotel. There's an extensive menu: salads, soups, risotto, pasta, steaks, omelettes, sandwiches and sinful puddings. The restaurant - wooden floors, smart rugs, glistening chandeliers - serves formal food at lunch and dinner. Come for stuffed crab (a house specialty), sautéed sea bass with fresh cheese gnocchi, then an almond tart served with sweet egg yolk and red fruits.

If you want to eat in less formal surroundings, pop down to Villa Cascais does seriously good modern cooking: foie gras with a mango coulis, sautéed lamb served with strawberries, then crème brûlée with pear sorbet.

If that's not enough choice, Cascais village has everything from simple tascas and pizza parlours to traditional restaurants and posh nosh. Porto Santa Maria is the swankiest place in town. For great seafood, follow the road west along the coast - you’ll find a number of restaurants that overlook the ocean of which Mar du Inferno is considered to be the best.

Features include:

  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Bar
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Cooking Classes
  • Food and wine
  • Minibar
  • Walk to restaurants
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The sandy beach is 50m from the front door of the main hotel. There are loungers and parasols if you want to decamp for a day
  • All sorts of watersports can be arranged. The west coast is famous for its surfers - you’ll find surf schools if you want to learn. You can also windsurf, sail and ski
  • Cookery lessons and wine-tasting sessions are available to groups of 6+
  • Cascais has a park housing a mansion-full of 19th-century paintings and furniture, a military cidadela due to open as a cultural centre, exhibitions of boats and of tiles, a contemporary art collection, an active fishing port, a handsome largo (square) - and no shortage of boutiques and nightlife
  • Cabo da Raco, the most westerly point of mainland Europe, is 5km west. A great cycle path follows the coast and bikes are available free of charge from the Town Hall (just bring some ID).
  • Head north along the coast and find beach after beach - and lots of surfers. The hotel at Praia Grande has a fantastic pool above the sea; non-residents can pay a small fee to use it
  • Visit spectacular Sintra for the Pena Palace, a fantasy castle built around a 15th-century convent. It somehow manages to balance on top of the hill in its multi-coloured glory
  • The Sintra Mountains are wild and wonderful, with fabulous walking or riding in exceptional landscapes; watch out for wild boar
  • Trains into Lisbon take 30 minutes. The station is on your doorstep

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Cooking Classes
  • Fishing
  • Food and wine
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Surfing
  • Museum
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Kite/windsurfing
  • Wine tasting
  • Shopping

Kids

Children are welcome and will love the close proximity to the beach and plethora of water sports.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

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

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

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

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