The Penha Longa Resort is set within a peaceful monastery from the 14th century, which was a favored stomping ground for Portuguese royalty. It is located within a 545 acre national park in the Sintra mountains, which makes it a retreat away from the bustling city of Lisbon. The property has five different restaurants, 27 holes of golf, a 16,000 square foot spa, and just 194 rooms. I’d never been to the coastal region of Portugal before and found a fantastic off-season rate of 120 EUR so I decided to book several days at this resort.
After renting a car at Lisbon Airport, my husband and I used GoogleMaps for directions and drove for about half an hour. Just before the turn off for the resort we came upon a race track. It was a drizzly day but there were still a handful of cars racing around the track.
We we entertained for a few minutes and then continued on to the Penha Longa resort, by way of a rather large gate.
After using the intercom to say that we were checking in the gates opened and we drove through. Pulling up to the front of the resort after a few minutes, there were several self-parking spots right in front. Our luggage was taken from the trunk and a bellman assured it would be delivered to the room.
Stepping into the lobby, we were greeted by two smiling ladies. One had refreshing towels and tea, and the other welcomed us by name and offered to do check-in in the room. What a warm welcome!
As we walked along, she pointed out the restaurant on the right that was known for it’s “101 burgers”, mentioned the spa and also a bit about the resort. We found out that the gate we’d come to wasn’t the main entrance but rather the back way in to the resort. GoogleMaps at it’s finest again.
The lobby was gorgeous, with fresh flowers everywhere.
We reached the grand staircase and turned left, as our room was down that hall on the lobby level.
Reaching our room, she opened the door and showed us in and around.
The Premium Room that we had booked through Amex FHR was just 30 EUR more than the Deluxe Room, and since the Premium was just one step down from a suite I had been crossing my fingers that we might get an an upgrade.
She apologized and said that they were fully committed for the first night but would check to see if there was a suite available for the second and third nights of my stay.
After taking care of check-in formalities I went about unpacking. As I was looking around, she came back and said that a suite was available for the remainder of the stay so later the next day if we just packed up our things they’d take care of moving them over to the new room once it was ready. Great!
Separated by just a couple stairs, the sunken sitting room was inviting and luxurious. The room was decorated in warm tones and the chocolate brown couch was just the sort you could relax into for a nap or read a good book on.
The partial wall dividing the sitting area was even topped with cushions which made for extra seating.
It had rained recently, so opening the door to the patio let in a fresh breeze filled with all those wonderful negative ions.
The patio looked out onto the golf course, which was a peaceful view. All the rooms at the hotel have balconies.
There were two chairs and a table, along with a sun bed.
The temperature in the room was comfortable and cool due to the open door, but there was a thermostat just inside the bedroom and the vents were just above.
I noticed a welcome letter had been left on the table in the sitting room, along with some fresh pastries. The one on the right was a delicious Pastéis de Nata, one of Portugal’s signature sweets.
To the side of the sitting area was a desk with a real orchid, and a lamp. I really liked the little sitting area down there.
The room had lovely mood lighting during the day, but when it got darker there weren’t any extra lights to turn on to brighten it up.
Up in the main room was a TV, which would be great for watching in bed but didn’t swivel so it would have been hard to watch from down in the sitting area.
The bed had super soft linens, and the pillows were filled with just the right amount of down filling.
There was just one bedside table which I found odd, but there was one of the latest model Geneva bluetooth speakers on it so you could connect any bluetooth enabled device to it.
Going back to the entryway there was a minibar stocked with plenty of drinks.
A proper set of dishes was in a drawer.
I saw an assortment of chips and sweets.
There was an assortment of teas and coffees…but what was this? There was a price list.
I was surprised to see that coffee and tea were not free. One tea or a cup of coffee was 2 EUR!
In between the bedroom and bathroom was the closet.
It didn’t have enough room for my suitcase to be opened up inside, but there was a cubbyhole across from the closet that was a good fit. Above the cubby was a safe, extra blanket and pillow.
Through the closet you could pass into the bathroom, which had a sliding door.
The bathroom had a separate shower and tub.
Amenities were by Asprey.
The double sinks offered plenty of counter space.
Taking a shower was a little funny, because you had to step up about a foot to get into the shower, and the glass shower door was low so that I was taller than it was. The water pressure was good though, as was the temperature adjustment.
There were bathrobes hanging on the opposite wall.
There was a soft knock at the door, and one of the ladies who had shown me the room was there with a packet of brochures and maps for the surrounding towns.
It was a very thoughtful gesture, and she encouraged me to call if I had any further questions. During check-in, we had been offered a free round of golf. I know that some of my readers would have jumped at the chance to play this course, but since I’m not a golfer and my husband isn’t either we declined. When the hostess dropped off the brochures, she said she had been in contact with the spa and they had decided to extend an offer of two 50 minute massages at their spa instead of golf if we so wished. Now that was an offer I’d take her up on, and requested appointments for the next day.
It was recommended to make reservations ahead of time for the restaurants onsite and the night we arrived was the Sushi buffet which had really good reviews, but after such a long flight I decided to call it an early night. The two sets of drapes were easy to close with hanging rods, though they were metal rather than plastic so I had to take care not to clang them together if I wanted to be quiet. Once closed they completely blocked the light.
Getting into bed, I heard some commotion outside in the hallway. Pounding footsteps, loud male voices and a child’s shrieks. I peeked outside and found a housekeeper right next door. She asked if she had disturbed me, and I said no but I’d heard some other noise. She said that a family had been passing through but she advised them to keep moving. The walls may have been thin but I didn’t hear any further noises the rest of the night and slept great. The bed was extremely comfortable.
In the morning, as an added benefit of the Amex booking we were eligible to receive full breakfast in the restaurant. While perusing the room service menu, I was pleasantly surprised to find that for guests with full breakfast included in their rate, it was offered by way of room service as well for a surcharge of 10 EUR. What a deal! We decided to try that, so I called around 4am to request the breakfast for 6am. At 3 minutes past 6 there was a knock at the door and breakfast had arrived. Impressive.
It was quite tasty, with hot breads and freshly made pastries, fruit, meat and cheeses.
I’d also asked for an order of the Oatmeal with honey and cinnamon and it was really good. I was actually quite pleased with the breakfast and it seemed like a great benefit.
We were excited to start the day around town, and packed up our belongings since we would be moving rooms once we returned. Stay tuned for a review on the Suite, as well as more about the restaurant, breakfast and surrounding area of Sintra.
Ritz-Carlton Tier 2 property. 40,000 points needed for a free night.