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Photo courtesy of Pestana Pousadas de Portugal
Pestana Palace Lisboa
The Pestana Palace Lisboa in Santo Amaro (about a 20-minute cab ride from the historic center), bears a unique honor: it’s also a designated national landmark. It’s a fitting recognition: the 194-room property occupies a carefully restored 19th century palace, once home to the cocoa baron Marquis of Valle-Flôr, set in an immaculately manicured private park filled with lush palm trees, subtropical plants, sculptures and a former pond-turned-swimming pool. Lavish architectural details such as ornate ceiling frescoes, soaring stained-glass windows, gleaming marble columns and intricately carved woodwork combine with magnificent oil canvases, glittering chandeliers and garlanded mirrors to give the air of a gilded cocoon. Four sprawling, luxurious Royal Suites—one of which reportedly hosted Madonna as recently as 2017—are within the palace itself, while the other smaller, elegantly furnished rooms and suites are located in two modern annexes.
By Ratha Tep, AFAR Local Expert
Follow Madonna's Lead and Stay at this Ornate Portuguese Palace
When the Marquis de Valle Flôr commissioned the Pestana Palace in the 19th century, he hired Europe’s most talented artisans to re-create the frescoed ceilings, hand-painted tiles, and delicate plasterwork he’d seen in Paris. Today, the hotel, in a quiet residential area near the historic Belém district, is just as fashionably ornate, attracting boldface names such as Madonna and the king of Spain. Guests are welcome to wander the palm-dotted gardens, which along with the hotel have been designated a national monument. Rooms feature antiques, artwork, and lavish fabrics, and the four royal suites also offer views of the Tagus River.
By Jen Murphy, AFAR Contributor