Introduction Fulfilling another of our dreams, we returned to Lisbon to stay at the Penha Longa, a Ritz Carlton Hotel, for two nights. We had contact with the hotel before, because I was inquiring how much limousine transfer from the hotel to the airport was. The question was dealt with efficient and in a friendly manner. It left a good impression and eased some of my unease. We had a very bad experience at the Arts, Barcelona, the sister hotel of the Penha Longa. Tripadvisor reviews and Flyer Talk (very few information) were positive, so we hoped our experience was going to turn out better than at the Arts. I didn't have had to worry. How to get there / Arrival / Check in [ ARCHITECTURE FOR LIFE ] by || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL ||, on Flickr ^ The hotel facade Arriving at Lisbon Portela Airport we made our way to the Tourism Information Desk and asked for a taxi voucher to Penha Longa. It cost 59 Euro / ca. 78 USD. Our taxi was a Mercedes E-Class and our driver an older gentleman, who was chatty and educated us about the history of the area, mythology, soccer and fauna and flora of the Sintra Mountains. The ca. 30 minute ride passed quickly. The Penha Longa is a huge estate with two golf courses (the Monastery and Atlantic with 9 and 18 holes respectively). There is a security gate with a guard. Only guests, golf club members, residents or visitors, who have a reservation at one of the restaurants, can enter. The Christmas tree and we arrived at the same time. The door man was opening the car doors for us, and two members of staff were waiting in the lobby with refreshing hot towels. We were checked in the semi private area of the B-Lounge and offered a glass of water. We sipped on it while we waited for the return of our passports and my credit card. It was a pleasant experience. All formalities done, we were accompanied to our room. We had booked an Executive Suite. We were explained the features and then left in peace. At time of check in we were also handed a list with restaurant on site, opening hours, what kind of cuisine they serve and a 20 Euro off voucher, should we use the Six Senses Spa. We were also offered to join the Ritz Carlton loyalty program. The room: Executive Suite [ SPACE FOR LIFE ] by || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL ||, on Flickr ^ Our Executive Suite, located in one corner of the Monastery wing of the hotel When entering our room, there was a long hallway. A door to the left led off to the guest toilet. Our suite consisted of one large living room with a huge Samsung flat screen TV with regional and international channels, large sofa, coffee table and a chair with ottoman. There was another small table with interesting books about architecture and photography - just our taste! In a separate area were a big, antique writing desk and a seating area with two chairs and a table. Another door led to the bed room and the walk in closet. The bed room was medium in size. In front of the king bed was a bench and in one corner another flat screen TV. The walk in closet offered enough space to for long staying guests. The safe and umbrella were also located there. Last but not least there was the large marble bath room with separate bath tub and shower, double sink and a separate small room for the toilet and bidet. The amenities were from Bulgari. Before I mention to forget it, we also had a large balcony overlooking the Monastery Golf Course and the forest, offering a 180 degree view. There was also a large seating area and beautiful tiles. Our suite was located in one of the corners. The floor to ceiling windows allowed natural day light to flood the room. The color scheme was neutral, mostly in brown, black, beige and white. We loved our room, because it was a mix between contemporary and classic design, detailed, quiet - even though it was located immediately beside the lift - and comfortable. It felt like a home. There were also a 24 hour in room dining menu and magazines on the coffee table. Postcards, writing paper and general hotel information as well as the spa menu where located in the drawers of the writing desk. When we had settled in, there was a knock at the door. Before I could manage to get there it opened and another member of staff entered with a welcome letter from the Guest Recognition Team. As a welcome gift we received a large bottle of still local water and local pastries. They were delicious and exotic. Normally we would have also received turn down service. Since we had the "Do not disturb" sign outside each evening, we weren't disturbed, but still received a note about the missed turn down, the weather forecast and a Portuguese legend. More about the hotel: The estate started out as a Jeronomite monastery in the 14th century - hence the name of one of the golf courses - and a summer palace for the Portuguese Royal family in the 16th century. The estate was acquired by Caesar Park, a South American hotel chain, which was recently bought by Accor. Caesar Park added a new building, where the guest rooms are located, as well as villas. Later Caesar Park sold Penha Longa to Ritz Carlton. [ COLORS OF LIFE ] by || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL ||, on Flickr ^ One of the Golf courses the resort offers Of course no monks are living here any longer. The monastery has been changed into a convention center. There is also a chapel, which can be used for weddings. The Six Senses Spa is also located in one of the older buildings. The fitness center and one indoor and outdoor pool are located at the Golf Course Wing of the main building. The outdoor pool with its sala is especially famous and beautiful. The wellness area felt inviting and warm. The staff there was helpful too. There is even a playground and parts of the extensive gardens date from the 16th century, when the Royal family stayed here. Guests interested in cooking can check out the chef's garden too. The hotel offers also two jogging/walking tracks. One is slightly over 2 km long, the other over 8. Parts of the tracks are along the golf courses, which were designed by Robert Trent Jones junior. The restaurants and bars: Arola, the restaurant of Michelin stared chef Sergi Arola, is located in the Club House. It offers Atlantic cuisine and Chef Arola has 2 Michelin stars. Il Mercato is an Italian restaurant and is like Midori, the Japanese restaurant, located on the first floor of the hotel building. The B-Lounge is on the ground level and serves a huge variety of burgers and cocktails. [ LUNCH TIME ] by || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL ||, on Flickr ^ The Pearl Martini one of us enjoyed @ The B-Lounge Aqua is the pool restaurant and serves Mediterranean cuisine. It has open during the summer months. We used the B-Lounge and in room dining. At in room dining we chose chicken consommé, spaghetti Bolognese, pizza with Iberian ham, brie and arugula, Chimichurri chicken, red fruit salad with orange juice and maple syrup and tasting of petit pots de crème, French Toast, omelets and porridge. We were very happy. The portions were big, delicious, healthy, light and creative. Breakfast and dinner came in, depending what we ordered between 65 and 80 Euro or ca. 85 USD to 104 USD, including juices and hot chocolate or coffee. The B-Lounge is the heart of the hotel. It is contemporary Asian with dark furniture and reminded us of the lounge at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong. We had a slightly unusual lunch there. I wasn't very hungry, so I thought, I order dessert, when my better half had eaten his Japanese Burger, so each of us could have something sweet. We both had cocktails - I a non alcoholic fruit punch, he a laboratory creation, called Pearl Martini. The martini was served with pineapple foam. His burger came with fries in a rolled up "newspaper" (It was the burger menu printed on newspaper paper) and a side salad. The dish was served on a slate. When it was time for dessert, he wasn't up to it, so I ordered rice pudding for myself. Unfortunately it wasn't available, so I took the other dessert I had been intrigued with. It was cheese with honey. I wasn't sure what to expect, but wanted to try it. I found out it was a bowl of cottage cheese mixed with honey and topped with strawberries. To my surprise I liked it. The tanginess of the cheese went well with the sweetness of the honey and the strawberries. My better half tried as well, but didn't like the texture. We enjoyed lunch and the atmosphere. For some reason we didn't have to pay for the burger, so our bill came in at 36.50 Euro, ca. 47.30 USD. Generally we didn't get charged for some of the things we ordered. For example on one morning we were told the juices were for free. The staff: The staff found the right balance between being warm and personal, but not too much, attentive and leaving us alone. Everyone encountered was helpful, efficient, knew their stuff and would have done much more for us, if we had asked for it. They did everything to make our stay smooth running and memorable for the right reason, even trying to anticipate our needs. We felt very much valued and welcome. All members including housekeeping are an asset to the resort. Check out / Limousine transfer: The day before our check out we requested the limousine service to the airport. For the first time ever we didn't have to provide our room number or name to receive the service. The receptionist didn't mention my name, but knew my fiancé’s. The pronunciation wasn't correct - making out of a Polish origin name, an Irish sounding, but the goodwill counted. She promised to have a car and driver ready for us, if possible the hotels own limousine. The cost was 84 Euro, ca. 109 USD. We assumed it would be a Mercedes E-Class, as told by the concierge when I called. The check out was quick. Before we left we were given a good bye present - Portuguese cookies - from the receptionist and accompanied to the waiting car by him, the second receptionist and the door man. The young driver welcomed us and gave us bonbons as a leaving gift. The car was to our pleasant surprise from the newest BMW 7 sports series. We had discussed the two BMW (a 7 and a 5 series model) parking in front of the hotel. [ URBAN MOVEMENT ] by || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL ||, on Flickr ^ BMW 7 Series for our Hotel / Airport transfer Even more food provisions were waiting for us in the limousine, like apples, water and napkins. During the smooth ride we talked a bit with our driver, who is a Sporting Lisbon fan. The journey took around 35 minutes, and we arrived with ample time for our flight. Verdict: It was the perfect retreat for us - leaving all the stress and worries of everyday life behind. It was made easy by the staff and the flawless experience. Besides this we liked the art work - different sculptures -, antique furniture and books and the creativity of the public spaces. In our opinion it was aesthetic. Mentioned earlier, the Christmas Tree was standing and fully decorated, when we checked the next day. It looked gorgeous and fitted the surroundings. It replaces at the moment the flower display. I'm already missing the property and wish I could go back yesterday... Would we stay here again? YES! Would we the hotel recommend to our friends? YES! Safe travels!