Some might see Palacio Belmonte as one of the most veiled secrets in Lisbon and the history of the place is the story of Portugal itself. It is the oldest building of its kind in the city, the Palace was the residence of the Marques d'Atalia, Alvares Cabral and the Earls of Belmonte for over 500 years.
In 1994 Fredric Coustols bought Palacio Belmonte and started a six-years restoration project to convert this beautiful space into ten luxurious suites, each different to the other. Suites that preserve the history and the beauty of the place and at the same time, equipped with modern comforts and conveniences to better accommodate the lifestyle of the sophisticated traveler.
You have to meet Fredric and his wife Maria in person, in order to understand the uniqueness of the place, its style and more important, the inviting atmosphere. They are both down to earth, creative, friendly and warm people. Their personality and creativity blends well with everything in the space. While Fredric's books are in every corner in the palace, Maria's paintings decorate some of the walls.
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See the sunrise over Alfama
There are very few sunrises, like the one over Alfama seen from the top terrace of Suite Bartolomeu de Gusmão at Palacio Belmonte. Once a mosque and the location of where morning prayers were announced during the Moorish occupation of Lisbon, this tower suite has its main façade turned towards Meca. From here you can see that big orange&red fireball rising over the water, right next to the alfama skyline silhouette made up the churches, bell towers and the maroon clay rooftops, while dispersing its amber light on the tiles that line the buildings. Some call it a photographers dream place, I call it an everlasting memory of that Lisbon trip, it is well worth the early rise, specially combined with your breakfast being served as the sun makes it journey up on a hot summer morning.
I have to confess that I am addicted to Portuguese tiles. Some people are addicted to chocolate or singing in the shower, while others like me are constantly taken by the intrinsic detail and colourful patterns of one of the most beautiful forms of street art in the world.
Although the most elaborate examples were kept for the interior of the houses, these are in its great majority painted with a Lapis lazuli blue on a white background and are best reviewed as paintings.
Lisbon has an Azulejo Museum of its own, that I strongly urge you to visit, as a complementary educational visit to the ones you find in the narrow back streets of the Alfama, Castelo, Baixa, Bairro alto, Chiado and Principe Real districts.
The Palacio Belmonte in Lisbon is truly one of the most fabulous hotels I have ever set my eyes on. As soon as I walked into the property I started having a daydream where I saw myself in one of the luxurious suites. It’s an easy place to get wrapped up in. It was like a romance.
There are ten suites at Palacio Belmonte. Each is unique and decorated with such good taste that I asked if they had used Feng Shui in the process. The blue chairs pictured above still linger in my mind. I also saw some of the best views in the city. Owner Frederic Coustols has made a huge effort in the restoration process, so the palace really does have tiles and design aesthetics from when it was originally built. I also love the Alfama neighborhood. It’s a bit less busy than Chiado and Bairro Alto and there are tons of great restaurants.
If you are heading to Lisbon I think you deserve to experience this property. The only problem will be that you may not want to leave the hotel.
When traveling, certain places will claim a special place in your heart. Lisbon's Palacio Belmonte is one of those places.
Next to the former royal castle, Palacio Belmonte was the home of the noble Belmonte family. The origins of the palace date from 1449 (but include Roman towers from 130 BC and Moorish towers from the 7th century). The current owner bought the palace from the Belmontes in 1995 and turned it into a luxury guest palace with ten suites.
The palace gives visitors a sense of noble life in old Lisbon. Over 30,000 blue and white tiles from the 1700s cover the walls. A letter from the King of Portgual (found during the renovations) hangs framed. Terraces overlook the São Vicente da Fora monastery, the National Pantheon, and the Tagus River.
When my family visited, we felt as if we had the entire palace to ourselves - we breathed in the living history of its walls and couldn't help but feel deeply connected to Portugeuse history. How unexpected that such a grand house could also be so warm, intimate and inviting - broken-in custom leather chairs, colorful rugs, a cozy library, antique furniture, gracious hosts, and more. And the breakfasts - served on the terrace with a breathtaking view - ranks as one of my all-time favorites.
If you seek an off-the-beaten-path, romantic, and historic experience, this is the place for you.