Sometimes, the story behind a hotel is what makes it such a special place.
Late last summer, my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. My sisters and I offered them two nights at Curia Palace Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, but my parents had other plans. Sure enough, on September 1st, the five of us were checking in.
Now, why did we offer them two nights in this hotel in the first place? It was actually for a very personal reason. My grandma (mom’s mom) used to spend her summers here in the 40s and 50s. She always told us fun stories of late-night soirées, early morning swims in the pool, and all kinds of extravagant events like car shows and costume competitions.
I knew my mom had always been fascinated by these stories so we thought it would be perfect to let her experience them first-hand. Curia Palace Hotel, or the Palace, is the epitome of the Golden 20s in Portugal. While the lavish events that attracted the country’s elite are no longer hosted here, the glamorous palace has been beautifully restored. You really feel like you’re traveling back in time as soon as you drive through the entrance gates.
You’ll have to travel a little over two hours by car from Lisbon to get here, but as soon as you arrive you feel like you have traveled back in time to the early 20th century.
As you drive through the main entrance gates, you get to take a little tour of the front garden before parking right at the hotel’s doorstep. Step through the towering entry doors and you’ll be greeted by elegant chandeliers and high ceilings. Display cabinets line the walls of the entrance hall, filled with old newspaper clippings about the hotel, antique advertisement pieces and bills from the hotel’s many events.
The Palace’s original elevator is still on display behind the check-in desk but it doesn’t work anymore. Modern elevators have been built next to it to ensure the hotel’s accessibility. To be honest, I almost always took the stairs though, just for the pleasure of wandering through gorgeous wooden staircases.
Outside, the Palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens, a vineyard and a swimming pool. I didn’t get a chance to check out the vineyard, but I spent a couple of afternoons lounging in the swimming pool and catching some much needed Vitamin D. What was really cool about it though is that the grounds (and especially the pool) are virtually untouched since the 1920s. You can look back at old newspaper clippings and then look around you and the only difference is that the clippings are in black and white.
We had breakfast at the hotel every morning, and we ended up dining here once as well. Breakfast was of the usual continental variety with a buffet filled with different types of bread, jam, coffee, tea, fruit juices, eggs, bacon, and the like. It ended quite early though (I believe it closed at 10am) which forced us to get up in the morning as well – but this ended up being a good thing because we were able to make the most of our days there.
For dinner we could either enjoy the buffet or order à la carte, and we chose the latter. We enjoyed some delicious fish fillets paired with a tasty white wine.
The highlight of the dining experience at the Palace, though, is the gorgeous dining hall. Again, high ceilings and wood details create a polished and elegant atmosphere, perfect for a quiet evening.
Out and About
The hotel is stunning – there’s no doubt about that. But I’m not really the kind of person who goes on vacation and spends all her time locked up in her hotel room. I did enjoy a ton of the facilities offered by the Palace and I loved every moment I spent at the hotel. But I was there to explore a bit too! On the first day, I headed down to Batalha with the fam to explore one of Portugal’s most exceptional monestaries. The monastery (Mosteiro da Batalha) is protected under UNESCO Heritage Site status and the massive structure took all of 150 years to complete. Walking through its ancient halls lined with intrically crafted archways, it was easy to feel completely lost in time.
On the second day, I woke up early and set out to visit Serra do Buçaco with my parents in the morning. Within a scenic 20 minute drive, we had penetrated the lush forest and were ready to start exploring it. We headed to Buçaco Palace Hotel – a former monastery turned into upscale boutique hotel. After a quick tour of the place and a warm coffee, we unfortunately had to head back to the hotel due to a family emergency. We were done exploring for the day, but I would love to return with more time!
Some hotels are special because they’re beautiful. Others are special because they are the home of our favorite memories. But the truly special ones are both. I can’t recommend Curia Palace Hotel enough!
Address: Av. Plátanos, 3780-541 Anadia, Portugal
Telephone: (+351) 231 510 300