Villa Cascais

Cascais, Lisbon Coast, Portugal Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Bold, imaginative makeover of a 19th-century seafront mansion into a bright boutique hotel with restaurant terrace
It's the blue we'll best remember. The shimmering, rolling Atlantic Sea just along the coast, the richer marine hues of the more sheltered Bay of Cascais opposite, the glorious blue skies above. And, the shade of royal powder blue found throughout this elegant 19th-century residence, which opened as boutique hotel in late 2015 following a sensational makeover by a well-known Portuguese interior designer. The reception, restaurant and guest lounge have this opulence on walls, ceilings, chairs, sofas and feature shelving, as do half the superbly comfortable bedrooms. The others are clad in a wonderful rich olive green, while the penthouse has 3 balconies and a freestanding tub from which to drink in that blue view. Everything has purpose and place: the dramatic destination bar has ceilings of heritage Portuguese tiles; clusters of vintage wooden and brass moulds provide focal points.

The groovy restaurant overlooks the waterfront of this upscale coastal town, Lisbon's summer playground, only 40 minutes west of the capital. You also get the benefit of the facilities at Riviera Grande Dame Hotel Albatroz, including its pool and a la carte restaurant. In short, a perfect spot for a break with your partner or friends.

Highs

  • The restaurant terrace is the perfect place to bask in the sunshine while enjoying the best of food and drink
  • An intimate vibe: only 11 beautiful rooms, all of which have some kind of sea view and a smart bathroom
  • The central location - easily found, and close to all sights, bars and restaurants
  • Delightful, friendly service
  • Lisbon is only 40 minutes away by train, so you don't need a car

Lows

  • No pool but guests can use the facilities at Hotel Albatroz, which is a 5-minute walk along the coast
  • The knockout style and location puts a premium on prices
  • Not set up for families, despite the beach opposite; those with children would find sister property Hotel Albatroz more conducive
  • The town can get lively in the afternoons and evenings in high season, so expect some noise

Best time to go

It's great to be beside the sea whatever the time of year or weather. That said, to make the most of the waterfront location, you may prefer spring through to autumn.

Our top tips

You can hire bikes for free at the Town Hall opposite, and explore the dramatic Atlantic coastline along a good cycle path, stopping off at the marvellous beaches en route. Cabo da Raco, the most westerly point of Europe, is only 5km west.

Great for...

Beach
City Style
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 11
  • Restaurant and bar open daily
  • 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

The 11 snazzy bedrooms all have views (albeit sometimes only glimpses) of the sea. The 2nd-floor rooms are colour-blocked in the same vivid royal blue as the common areas below, while the 3rd-floor rooms are painted a rich bright olive green; floors have matching rugs over parquet. Both floors host Superior and Deluxe Sea View rooms, differentiated only by size and positioning within the building. Some have a tub as well as a walk-in shower in their ensuite bathroom.

The top floor is devoted to the relatively subdued Grand Deluxe Sea View room (aka the penthouse, perfect for honeymooners), which is decked in grey, has 3 terraces, a circular raised bathtub as well as a separate shower bathroom, and fabulous views across Cascais Bay and the Estoril Coast. Note, the lift only reaches the floor below so be prepared for 2 short flights of stairs.

All rooms have luxury touches such as Castelbel Porto toiletries, bathrobes and slippers, and decent mini-bars.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Slippers
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The Reserva by Olivier restaurant is found on the first floor with a cobalt-blue dining room giving onto a superbly sunny terrace overlooking the promenade and beach. Here, meals often harvested from the local Atlantic waters are served from lunch until late. Lunch could include the signature royal crab salad or octopus carpaccio. In the evenings, choose shrimps ajillo, grouper in puff pastry or Wagyu rump steak, followed by petit gateau and pear sorbet.

The 4-7pm Terrace Menu has crowd pleasers from posh sandwiches to Algarve clams and oysters to marinated salmon, with creme brûlée and ice cream to follow. And make a point of trying one of the 48 (mostly Portuguese) fine wines and ports available by the glass; there are nifty pouring machines to assist! Look up: the ceiling of the bar is decorated with beautiful 19th-century Delft-ware style tiles.

Breakfast is served on the terrace in fine weather; expect a delicious smorgasbord of local delicacies, eggs cooked to order, piping hot coffee, juices, cake and pastries, fresh fruit and yoghurt.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore Cascais, which has a maritime museum, cute cobbled streets with boutiques, cafes and bars, tons of restaurants, a couple of parks and art galleries
  • Laze on the beach opposite, or take your pick from others in town (including golden Praia de Conceição) or head up the Atlantic coast for some real gems
  • The town's food market is every Wednesday and Saturday, and there's an antiques market, too
  • Learn to paddleboard in the Bay, or go further afield for kitesurfing and parasailing
  • Take a day trip to Lisbon or Sintra

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Kite surfing
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Paddleboarding
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Tennis
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Children are welcome and babysitting is available on request, but the hotel has a more grown-up vibe. Families can use the facilities at nearby Hotel Albatroz, including their swimming pool.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Deluxe Sea View and the Grand Deluxe Sea View rooms can both take an extra bed or baby cot; some of these rooms have a bath as well as a shower.

Children's meals:

The restaurant's Terrace Menu has a few kid-friendly dishes such as fried sea-medley, mini-hamburgers and ice cream, but you're probably better off at child-appropriate eateries in town, such as the pizzeria opposite.

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Town beach opposite
  • Pool at Hotel Albatroz
  • Watersports in the sea
  • Playground in the nearby park
  • Free bike rental at the Town Hall opposite

Families Should Know:

You're right on the promenade, with a car park and road in front/to the right, so keep an eye on kids who might dash off.

Distances:

  • Airport: 40 minutes
  • Hospital: 10 minutes
  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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