The Pessoa Lounge Bar at Palacio dos Arcos — Photo courtesy of Vila Gale
The 76-room Vila Galé Collection Palácio dos Arcos Hotel lies west of Lisbon, in the picturesque old quarter of Paço de Arcos.
The theme décor is poetry. All rooms and selected public areas are decorated with verse, sonnets and stanzas from some of the world’s most celebrated poets including Shakespeare, Byron and Portugal’s very own Luís de Camões and Fernando Pessoa. It’s a delightfully original idea that writes a seamless narrative throughout the property.
Set in extensive well-manicured grounds overlooking the mouth of the River Tagus, this five-star property has been converted from a late 15th-century palace. Careful renovation has retained unique architectural features such as the twin turrets and an impressive porch supported by three arches (the hotel’s name in English means “Palace of the Arches”). The chapel, rich in marble, showcases a splendid baroque altar.
Inside, the historic Palace Wing speaks of elegance and refinement, and of a time when Portugal’s monarchs would stay here as guests of the distinguished owner.
Dark wood flooring, crushed velvet drapes and gilt-edged flourishes help define the age. Decorative chandeliers add a sparkling lustre.
Accommodation in this wing is limited to just two suites and three bedrooms, all with pleasing waterfront views.
By contrast, a fresh, contemporary design signature imbues the new wing. The remaining bedrooms are tucked away here, as is the hotel’s inviting Satsanga Spa. Leisure facilities extend to an outdoor swimming pool laid out under shady palms.
Enjoying a meal at the Inevitável restaurant is a highlight of any stay at the Palácio dos Arcos. Chef Francisco Ferreira has based his menu of haute cuisine on regional Portuguese gastronomy to offer dishes such as sea bass bathed with smoked eggplant purée and tomato with parsley couscous in red pepper mayonnaise.
Vila Galé Collection Palácio dos Arcos Hotel is easily reached by vehicle or by train - passengers should alight at Paço de Arcos railway station.