Where palatial luxury and history meet
The Portuguese-owned Pestana Group has a knack for melding tourism and history, and Pestana Palace Lisboa Hotel & National Monument is clearly the pinnacle of that passion.
It took the Pestana Group 10 years to get permission to convert Lisbon’s Palace of the Marquis of Valle-Flor into the luxury hotel you find today.
Built in and around a 19th-century cocoa and coffee baron’s opulent palace and family home (and classified as a national monument since 1997), this Lisbon hotel is unique in a way that only bonafide history can provide.
The attention to detail here is exceptional; every room in the palace has been brought back to its former magnificence with Louis XV furniture, romantic frescoes and several lounges decorated in the Italian, French and Chinese styles so fashionable in the late 1800s.
Equally luxurious are the two modern wings added to the palace to house 194 modern units accessible via two glass bridges over the palace’s exotic garden.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• The palace itself is the standout aspect of this historical hotel. The sense of grandeur and lavish decorations found in every common area of the palace are absolute treats for the senses.
• The luxuriant palace gardens give the hotel’s grounds the feeling of an oasis within the city.
• The hotel’s outdoor pool was the former swimming pond of the Marquis’ palace. Set below a restaurant housed in a 19th-century Chinese pavilion, and surrounded by lush tropical trees and shrubs, you can almost imagine yourself being in an Asian resort.
• The hotel’s Valle-Flôr restaurant, where breakfast and dinner are served, rests in a former ballroom that would not be out of place in the Palace of Versailles with it lavish gold columns and Regency furniture.
What to Know
• On Saturdays in summer, you can opt to eat a picnic lunch on the palace lawn. If brunch is more your style, it's available in Valle-Flôr on Sundays throughout the year.
• A team of Clef d’Or concierges is on hand to meet your every whim and desire at any time of day. Make exhaustive use of the team’s local knowledge for an exciting and unique stay in Lisbon.
• The luxury hotel is some distance from the city center, yet it offers a complimentary shuttle service into and back from nearby Belem and downtown Lisbon four times a day.
• Madonna has stayed in the beautiful Suite D. Manuel on three occasions. The Pestana Palace was also the hotel of choice for Prince when he came to Lisbon. The Spanish royal family also stays here when visiting.
• There are 194 rooms in total, four of which are Royal Suites inside the palace itself. The modern wings house the remaining 190 rooms.
• The modern rooms are done in a classic French style (antique chairs, oil paintings) and loaded with decorative details. All have a marble-clad bathroom with tub and separate walk-in shower.
• Classic rooms have space for additional beds for a family stay and Superior rooms offer a verandah or terrace looking over the gardens. Larger parties or families can opt for interlinked rooms.
• The spacious Royal Suites, furnished with elegant antiques and comfortable sofas, were originally the Marquis’ private quarters. All have extensive views over the Tagus River and 25th of April Bridge.
• The Pestana Palace Hotel is located close to Belém, an area of Lisbon that has some of the city’s main tourist attractions, such as the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) and the Jerónimos Monastery.
• As the Portuguese saying goes, the country gave “new worlds to the world.” To see where those journeys began, history buffs should visit the Belém Tower, a small fortress set in the Tagus River, from where the 15th-century Portuguese navigators set off on their voyages into the unknown.
• Portugal’s most famous and best-loved pastry is the pastel de nata. The original (and arguably the best) of these custard tarts is sold at the Fábrica de Pastéis of Belém. The house recipe is a well-guarded secret but we can tell you that the cakes are served warm and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.