Back between Christmas and New Year we went for a week to Portugal to catch some sun and sea air. )We really try to limit our international travel because of environmental reasons of course, trying not to fly more than once or twice a year – this was our second one in 2019 – so not too bad.) We did have a fantastic time and it was my first trip to Portugal – I absolutely fell in love with the country. We were lucky with the wether too, although on a few days when temperature hit 22 Celsius, I felt climate change anxiety creeping up on me – I’m pretty sure that it’s not the normal given that it’s the end of December.
Anyway – the hotel. We booked this hotel because the family rooms seemed quite a good option. Our children are still too small to sleep in a different room and not many hotel offers interconnecting rooms or small suites on a decent price. The Pestana Sintra hotel was a pleasant surprise.
It’s located near Sintra (about 10 minutes drive), the beautiful UNESCO-listed little town not far from Lisbon and the airport. (About 30 minutes drive.) There is a lot to do and explore around there – but you will need a car. The hotel, being a golf hotel is located remotely. It has pretty grounds and of course the golf course which husband did not try this time. (He loves golf, even if he can’t play staying in a golf hotel and looking at the course makes him happy, instead of sad.)
The rooms I think are all the same. They are mini apartments on two levels: their ground floor hosting the bath, kitchenette, living room area and upstairs is the bed and wardrobes. The couch in the living room was made up as a bed – so the children slept on that, they found it really good fun.
Our bed(s) – it was a twin room – was also comfy and we had daily housekeeping too. I was really glad to see that the maids actually paid attention to the international towel protocol: they did not change our towels, unless we left them on the floor not many 4* and 5* pay attention to this, I must say. Yet, it’s one of the best ways where and how a hotel can help with looking after the environment. It saves lots of energy and chemicals. The other things I need to mention that they have installed soap pumps both by the bath and the sink (they still provide mini body moisturisers though) and they use eco-friendly (probably recycled paper) toilet paper, which I spotted on the maid’s trollies. Small things but big impact given how much a hotel can use of these. The hotel won a Green Key Award in 2019
The hotel has some art installations in the breakfast room too, highlighting the problem of plastic mini bottles:
Breakfast was simply perfect. They offered such a variety of food, I hardly seen this before. This is what you call buffet breakfast. Apart from the usuals, they had vegan options including all sorts of nut milk as well as gluten free items. Lot of things were locally sourced too. We really enjoyed our breakfasts. Apart from one thing: we hit the breakfast rush hour every morning around 9:30 and the breakfast room was completely full. But, we always got a table within 5 minutes. The staff worked so hard and they were very friendly and attentive. Even though the hotel was full of families and children were screaming at every table (including our cherubs) high on churros with a sea of chocolate. We’re on holiday, right?
There’s also lunch and dinner available, it’s a set menu, so we did not try it.
Pool was great too, we normally went for a swim in the mornings, after breakfast and it was not busy at all. There’s one indoor pool with a few different sections of jacuzzis. Outside there are 2 pools, but of course it was too cold to use them. They must be fantastic in the summer. There’s a gym too.