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Earlier this week, we gave you an inside look at the Four Seasons Ritz in Lisbon and its partnership with the Martinhal Beach Resort in southern Portugal. We liked the unique agreement because of its efforts to show visitors two different sides of the country, and we also stumbled across something else at the Four Seasons Ritz that we think is a damn good idea: An online city guide that serves as a concierge.
Now, the hotel still has a real-life concierge who is happy to go the traditional route and make suggestions on the fly, but due to the availability of consumer reviews online, the days of walking down to his or her desk and a making a restaurant choice in 30 seconds is without question a thing of the past. The recognition of this online movement, combined with a growing skepticism from guests about a concierge's objectivity, has inspired the Four Seasons Ritz to put all its recommendations in writing for guests to peruse before and during their trip. The hotel is figuring that guests still want the staff's input -- aka insight from the locals -- but might want the chance to do their own research before making a reservation at a restaurant or dedicating a day to an experience.
As travelers who always seek local advice, we dig the balance that this provides. We think it's a great idea and a nice compliment to guide books and services such as Yelp. You essentially get the concierge's recommendations up front, and then you can go off and investigate them (as opposed to making a split-second decision standing at the desk with a line behind you). The hotel said its recommendations are constantly reevaluated for quality control and based on what it believes to be the best fit for its clientele, so in this case, it points guests to higher-end restaurants around Lisbon.
One of the challenges of visiting a country for the first time is deciding where to spend your time. Do you hit the big cities, small towns, or cruise to the coast?
Jaunted recently filled us in on the gory deets surrounding American travelers' lack of love for Portugal, but two hotels have teamed up to help visitors get the best of both worlds on their first trip to the country: The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz in Lisbon and the Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel in Sagres (South Portugal).
The package is a total of eight days/seven nights and includes three nights at the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, four nights at Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel, one 25 minute massage at Martinhal and free breakfast at both.
Quinta Do Lago, located on the southern coast of Portugal, just got a Conrad Hotel, and from photos we're seeing, the place is looking pretty top-notch.
The 154-room hotel is not too far from the resort town's stunning Atlantic Ocean coastline (which directly faces Morocco), and on the luxury property there's plenty to keep guests entertained: a health club, spa, outdoor pools, tennis courts and five restaurants and lounges, including the awesome-sounding Dado, where guests can munch on South American cuisine and sip cocktails in personal poolside cabanas that come with individual grills.
Learning Vacations / Hotel Packages / Europe Hotels / France Hotels / Italy Hotels / Portugal Hotels / → All Tags
Now that the summer rush is over, there are some great airfare deals to Europe right now. And with fall bounty in full swing, it's a good time for a culinary vacation. These cooking classes teach knife skills and the nuances of some of the world's greatest cuisines. They can be anywhere from intimate classes in a villa's kitchen to private rooms at small cooking schools taught by Michelin-star chefs.
Complete immersion is the fastest way to learn, so your course includes shopping in the markets, and wine tasting tours (of course!).
Here are some classes we found to inspire your inner chef.
Things are moving along at a steady clip for Autograph Collection, Marriott's winning assemblage of top-tier, independently-owned hotels around the world—a collection that's grown at a rate of approximately one hotel per month since 2010.
The brand's newest members include three European hotels—Fontecruz Lisboa (pictured), Hotel De Bourgtheroulde and Hotel L'Hermitage Gantois—the first of which is noteworthy for being Autograph's first hotel in Portugal. Though the second two are by no means insignificant: set in Rouen, France, the De Bourgtheroulde is a 15th century stone mansion, while L'Hermitage was originally built in the 1400s.
Lisbon Hotels / Gwyneth Paltrow / Portugal Hotels / Celebrity Hotels / Hotel WiFi / Hotel News / → All Tags
Where does Gwyneth Paltrow rest her head when she heads to Lisbon? Subscribers to Paltrow's weekly
guide to detoxes and cleansing lifestyle newsletter found out when a guide to Lisbon hit their Inboxes on Thursday. As you might expect, the hotels which received the G.P. Stamp of Approval are grand in stature, with the requisite clean living retreat included in the roundup.
Boozy B and Bs / B and Bs / Portugal Hotels / VIneyard Hotels / Hotel Wines / Gourmet Hotels / → All Tags
For the latest update in our Boozy B&B’s we traveled to the sunny climes of Portugal to visit the UNESCO World Heritage city of Oporto, and the ridiculously picturesque hills of the Douro River Valley where we tasted the famous fortified Port wines as well as Douro DOC wines (we’re talking Touriga here) as well as to sample the local hotel scene.
Will your eye be drawn to the apple-colored walls or the UNESCO-rated view outside? The choice is yours
We love hotels and we love wine here at HotelChatter, so a wine hotel is a pretty much guaranteed win for us. So we’re hoping that The Yeatman – which opens July 15 in the port-making district of Oporto, Portugal – will live up to our hopes.
It's sounding solid: for a start, there’s a 25,000 bottle-strong wine cellar (including, of course, a mammoth selection of port) with a restaurant run by a Michelin-starred chef to sop up the alcohol.
But perhaps most exciting is the vinotherapy (or vinotherapie, seeing as it’s French) spa, which is going to be run by Caudalie. We’ve heard fantastic things about their spas before (there are only a few dotted round the wine-beats of Europe, and we’ve never got to try one) but we’ve tried and liked the products, and there’s nothing we’re liking more than the idea of being wrapped up in vine leaves and having red wine drizzled over our dry bits.
Cubicle Dreamin' / Madeira Hotels / Portugal Hotels / Orient-Express Hotels / Hotel Restaurants / → All Tags
Cubicle Dreamin' is a feature in which we ask the hotel mavens to take some time out of their busy work day, surf the Internet, and tell us what hotel they wish they could beam themselves to right that very second--all on the slave driving companies dime, of course. Oh, like these people aren't surfing aimlessly anyway--at least now their purposeless clicking will be cobbled together into useful hotel stories--we hope. Have a destination hotel you are just dying to leave your cube for? Send the story our way.
In this episode, Hotel Maven Eric Rosen visits Madeira...in his mind. Enjoy.
I’ve always been intrigued by the emerald isle of Madeira, a strange whalers’ haven that also produces such fine fortified wines, and one day, as I happened upon the web site of Reid’s Palace, a sprawling 19th century hotel that perches on a cliff 150 feet above the azure Atlantic in the island’s capital city of Funchal, that first opened in 1891. The resort is equal parts Riviera redoubt, tropical forest lodge, and seaside getaway. With 128 rooms and 35 suites, surely there was an accommodation for me there.
Astute winos of the sniff, swirl and spit (during marathon tasting sessions) family might snub their noses at splashing about in a Cabernet-spiked bath. Thankfully, that's not what Madeira's The Vine hotel is suggesting. The hotel is taking a favorite alcoholic beverage and using it in unexpected ways, namely in spa services that make use of wine's many antioxidant properties.
Monica Guy has been dutifully rounding up the best boutique hotels in Lisbon for the past two weeks. Now, she's telling you where to stay in the city. Like actual neighborhoods. Enjoy.
Lisbon is such as spangbankingly excellent place that you're unlikely to spend much time inside your hotel. But it does matter where your hotel is - the city is built over seven hills and if you choose a hotel on the wrong side of one, you'll have a long, hard, trek home.
A hotel's location also matters in Lisbon because each area has its own personality. If you're a hardcore clubber, you'll want to crawl (a short way) back to your bed in the early hours of the morning. If you're a tranquil book-lover, you'll want to escape the clubbers crawling back in the early hours. If you're a culture vulture, you'll want to be close to the museums. Etc.
After the jump, our beginner's guide to choosing a hotel in Lisbon
Monica Guy returns to us again this month with her take on the Lisbon Hotel Scene. It seems that boutique hotels are battling each other left and right for hotel guests. So how do the contenders shake out? Read here to find out. Got a question? Send it to us and we'll get it answered for you.
If stop no.1 on the Lisbon tourist train is the Castelo São Jorge, stop no.2 is Belém. Belém is a 20-minute tram ride west of the city centre and a visitor's paradise of museums, monuments, a monastery and, mmmm... gardens.
If you want to stay in Belém, call up Hotel Jerónimos 8, the best design hotel in the area. Correction: the only design hotel in the area, and allegedly the first to arrive in Lisbon.