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. This is a complete destination for couples, friends and families: you're in the middle of mazy streets with smart shops waiting to lighten your wallet, the beach and watersports are below. Glitzy Estoril is a short promenade away; sublime World Heritage Sintra with its Pena Palace lies in the hills behind; along the Atlantic coast is Cabo da Roca, Europe's westernmost point.

Highs

  • Not only is this the smartest place to stay in town, but the hotel's position on a rocky headland between 2 golden beaches is matchless
  • The facilities are regal: a stunning clifftop pool and recently revamped pool terrace, a panoramic bar and restaurant, twice-daily housekeeping and embossed bedlinens
  • Elegant bedrooms, many with ocean views and balconies
  • Charming old school service
  • The train station is a short stroll away, and Lisbon a 40-minute ride

Lows

  • Rooms vary as the hotel comprises of four buildings
  • When we revisited in 2016, we felt some rooms needed refreshing - the decor is quite traditional - and some bathrooms feel dated, although everything was spotlessly clean; for a more contemporary vibe, check out sister boutique guesthouse Villa Cascais 5 minutes away
  • It’s expensive, especially in the restaurant and during peak season, but worth it
  • Light sleepers may be aware of revellers on the beach in high season
  • Some bathrooms don't have space for washbags/not much room to hang clothes

Best time to go

The hotel is open all year round. Weekends in High Season are pretty frantic. There's a Wednesday and Saturday local covered market.

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
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Hotel
  • 50
  • 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: Suite Sea View

Rooms

The main hotel holds court on a rocky headland between two sandy beaches. The original 1873 building was constructed as the summer house of the Dukes of Loulé. It has a regal air: ascend a marble staircase, with a crystal chandelier hanging above. Bedrooms are nicely old-fashioned with crisp fabrics, antique furniture and watery views. Two newer wings to the rear, which surround the swimming pool, offer large light-filled bedrooms with delicious fabrics and big mirrors in colourful bathrooms. Many have spacious balconies overlooking the sea or beach.

Across the road, the neo-Romantic Palace was built in 20th-century Italianate style and faces Praia de Conceição beach. Expect 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 3 categories according to size, views (most Collection Rooms face the town), and of balconies (most Deluxe Sea Views and Suite Sea Views have them).

Features include:

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

Eating

A superb Breakfast is served in the dining room - grab the window tables for beach views. The extensive buffet includes freshly-cut fruit in rainbow formation, plates of cheese and ham, salads, salmon, a selection of cakes and patisserie, croissants and home-baked bread. There’s bacon, tomatoes and eggs if you fancy something hot.

You can order light meals in the bar and eat on the lovely terrace. It juts out to sea giving fabulous views. There's an extensive menu: salads, soups, risotto, pasta, steaks, omelettes, sandwiches and sinful puddings. The restaurant itself - wooden floors, glistening chandeliers - serves formal food at lunch and dinner. Come for stuffed crab, scallops with pancetta on pea puree, sautéed sea bass or crispy turbot, then an almond tart or ricotta with home-made ice cream.

Alternatively, pop down to Villa Cascais for seriously good modern cooking: foie gras with a mango coulis, sautéed lamb served with strawberries, then crème brûlée with pear sorbet.

Cascais has everything from simple pizza parlours to traditional restaurants and posh nosh. For great seafood, follow the road along the coast for restaurants overlooking the ocean.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The sandy beach is 50m away with loungers and parasols
  • Watersports galore. The west coast is famous for surfing; you can also windsurf, paddle board (there’s a school on the beach), sail and waterski
  • Cookery lessons and wine-tasting for groups of 2+; the chef takes you to the market on Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • Cascais has a park housing a military cidadela turned cultural centre, 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 Europe, is 5km west. A great cycle path follows the coast, hire a bike for free from the Town Hall
  • Head north along the coast for beach after beach - and lots of surfers
  • Visit spectacular Sintra for the Pena Palace, a fantasy multi-coloured hilltop castle built around a 15th-century convent
  • The wild and wonderful Sintra Mountains have fabulous walking or riding; look for wild boar
  • Trains into Lisbon take 40 minutes. The station is on your doorstep

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Paddle boarding
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Windsurfing
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children are welcome and will love the close proximity to the safe and shallow beach plus the plethora of water sports. Cots and extra beds are available. On our revisit in 2016 with children, we found it was an enjoyable and easy journey from Lisbon by train (the station is a 1 minute walk).

Although the majority of guests tend to be couples, this is a very attractive option for families.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Every room can take children. Collection and Deluxe Rooms can have a cot or bed, the Suites can house a family of four, as can taking two neighbouring Collection rooms. A Suite and Deluxe Suite can interconnect with a Collection Room for larger family parties.

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

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

Children's meals:

The extensive buffet breakfast has options for even the fussiest of eaters. The snack menu has plenty of choice for families from pizzas to pasta to sandwiches, and is cheaper than the a la carte restaurant

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool (unheated)

Kids Activities nearby:

  • 2 beaches below the hotel
  • Watersports
  • Playground in the main park
  • Bikes to rent for free at the Town Hall, explore the coast
  • Carousel in town
  • Parque Palmela has a nature playground

Families Should Know:

The hotel pool is unfenced but has a shallow end; there are lifeguards on the beach, which is gently shelving

Distances:

  • Airport: 30 minutes
  • Hospital: 10 minutes
  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

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

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