Hotel Palacio Estoril

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Address: Rua Parque, , Estoril, 2765265, Portugal

Star rating:
5 star hotel

4.6

An iconic five-star experience in the seaside town of Estoril.

Allegedly, the Palácio Estoril inspired Ian Fleming to write On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The hotel earned its place in European history books during the Second World War when Europe’s exiled and estranged elite came to shelter in the neutral luxury of Lisbon’s premier beachside residence. The hotel played host to all manner of intrigue and stratagem with German and Allied spies making up the rest of the guest roster at the time.

Location
4.3
90%
Eating/drinking
4.3
90%
Leisure facilities
4.7
90%
Service
4.8
90%
Value for money
4.4
90%
Bedrooms
4.7
90%
Public areas
4.6
90%

Location

In the palatial seaside suburb of Estoril, most restaurants and bars are within walking distance. While the Palacio isn’t quite ‘on the beach’, the closest stretch of sand is within yards. The grand Casino Estoril is adjacent to the hotel, and the local station for trains to central Lisbon (25 minutes) is around the corner.

Bedrooms

Rooms either look out on to the Atlantic or the casino gardens, and some look onto both. As far as I could tell there isn’t a bad room in the hotel, all with giant beds and high thread-count Egyptian cotton linen, of course. The rooms also have extremely large wardrobes – a hangover from the war era, when guests were more long-term, I’m told.

Public areas

The grand, marble lobby is fitted with period furnishings and freshly picked flowers. There’s also a very pretty manicured garden outside.

Eating and drinking

The Grill Four Seasons restaurant serves high-end local and international fare in super-smart surrounds. Plus there are light snacks served by the pool. I particularly liked the freshly-baked delicate little pastries that were served with afternoon tea at the Bar Estoril – a classic chequered-floor and brass bar, which felt unchanged for decades.

Leisure facilities

The outdoor pool is set in a garden bursting with flowers, while the hotel betrays hints of the 21st-century in the new Banyan Tree spa, where an array of Asian-influenced treats and pamperings are available.

Service

The classic service is flawless. I loved listening to the concierge proudly boast of his cameo in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which was shot in the hotel. 40 years on, he still gushes over the tale as if it’s the first time he’s told it.

Who stays there

Apart from war-time spies, all-sorts, really. Lots of families visit in the summer and golf enthusiasts in the winter.

Price advice

Apart from the usual difference between seasonal pricing, this hotel is reassuringly pricey throughout the year.

Amenities

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • Culture vultures
  • Families with teenagers
  • Families with younger children
  • Honeymooners
  • Nightlife
  • Relaxation
  • Romance
  • History
  • Design and architecture

Pros & Cons

  • Luxurious
  • Plenty of history
  • Expensive
Book now (price from £104.24)