Mention the French or Italian Riviera and you immediately conjure up images of sophisticated film stars, glamorous super yachts and sun-drenched café culture.
But what about the Portuguese Riviera? It may not be as famous as its European cousins, but it’s just as chic – a haven for aristocrats and royalty and the childhood home of Spanish King Don Juan Carlos.
Cascais, 19 miles west of Lisbon, has a mild climate, and with its sandy shoreline is the perfect setting for relaxing, luxurious holidays and business trips alike. For those seeking an active break it’s perfect, with sporting opportunities in the form of sailing and equestrian events.
Even the journey to get there is decadent – there’s a train that goes from the capital along the coast with spectacular views of the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. Or why not charter a boat? You can get a transfer from Lisbon airport to your hotel – or anywhere else on the coast line – and arrive in style with Water X.
If you’re paying a visit to this area, why not opt to stay at the majestic The Oitavos? It’s built to feel like a sophisticated cruise ship. It’s airy and bright and every room boasts panoramic views of the Atlantic, as well as a private terrace. There’s an indulgent spa in the hotel, which boasts ten treatment rooms, eight of which are filled with natural light. There’s a sea-water Dynamic swimming pool, open to the interior and exterior, a sauna, Turkish bath and Jacuzzi, and a 24 hour gym offering private yoga classes.
View from Verbasco restaurant where you can enjoy the finest and freshest locally sourced products and ingredients in a magical environment
After all that pampering, you’ll certainly want to dine like a king. The food is amazing, with everything from sushi, traditional Portuguese cuisine and fresh fish being whipped up at the four in-house restaurants. And a special mention is reserved for the breakfasts. With fruit, Potuguese custard tarts, chocolate waffles, speciality cheeses and cured meats on offer you’ll certainly have enough energy to spend a day exploring the local area.
All the rooms at The Oitavos boast spectacular views
There’s plenty of history and loads to explore in Cascais. The glitterati flocked there during the second world war, when several monarchs and European heads of state sought refuge and heralded the arrival of the rich and famous – so much so that the population increased by over 20,000 people between 1939 to 1946.
It has many other claims to fame, too. For example, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was filmed in Estoril and on Guincho Beach in Cascais in 1969, and Cascais is where Lisbon’s well-to-do spend their summers – the Cannes or Marbella of Portugal.
The Oitavos at nightfall
If you really want a holiday fit for royalty, The Oitavos has the 1500E a night Forte - a private villa with spectacular 360º views of the Ocean, the Cabo da Roca (Continental Europe’s westernmost point) and the hills of UNESCO World Heritage Site Sintra – which, just 20 minutes from the hotel, is well worth a visit. Take a tour of the 19th century Palácio e Quinta da Regaleira, or check out the nearby 10th century Sintra National Palace - a historical resort that’s played host to the Kings of Portugal throughout the country’s history.
Price: The starting rate (excluding breakfast) is €195 in a Superior Room, with balcony and sea view.
Getting there: TAP Portugal flies from London Heathrow to Lisbon; from £118 return.
More information: For reservations, contact +351 21 486 0020 or visit www.theoitavos.com.