The ‘Pousada Experience’ – Unique Accommodation in Portugal

How does the idea of staying in an actual palace in Portugal sound to you? Well, last year when we were visiting Portugal, a destination with an awful lot to impress the visitor, my wife and I did just that. Well, sort of to be fair. My wife was very excited by the notion of staying in a castle or palace in Portugal, reading online about there were many options. We found the Pestana group, a collection of ‘pousadas’, which is a type of hotel stay in Portugal. There website featured stays in castles and palaces all over the country.

History of Pousadas…

Palacio de Quelez

Portugal used to be a monarchy, and a very opulent monarchy it was. All over the country there are castles and palaces, occupied by the royalty up until a little over a century ago (I think that’s about right) when the monarchy fell. Mid-1900s and Portugal had gone basically to communism at one point, and all these royal estates were now owned by the government. In their defence, I will say that most appear to have been maintained in pretty decent condition, although a fair bit of restoration must have also happened.

Today many have been converted into government-run pousadas, and they have become popular places to stay for the foreigner with the cash to back it up. The more I think about last year’s trip, the more I realise I spent way more money than I usually do on it! But this was for one night only. Although it did come on the back of four nights in Porto at Infante Sagres, again not so cheap!

Making a Choice…

So this one cost 152 Euro for one night, including breakfast. There were a lot of options, and frankly I have to be honest, this was one of the cheapest. Just one night – our final night – in Europe as we bid ‘farewell’ to our travels. Considering what’s happened this year, it’s nice that we did get to stay in some really nice places last year I guess. I have not spent a single night in a hotel this year!!!

Getting there we were on our late train from Porto back to Lisbon, alighting at the Oriente station. We then just missed a train out to Quelez, and had to wait a good half hour or more, but soon we were on our way to where we needed to be. At the Quelez station, well, we were pretty underwhelmed. The plan was to take a taxi, there was one there and there was this elderly man who needed it. The station was poorly kept and had a strong smell of… you know what. It was a bit of a shock. Quelez, I should say, is just outside Lisbon, reached by one of the local lines taking around 50 minutes I think from Oriente station.

Arriving…

So after waiting 15 minutes for a cab, none turned up so I turned on roaming and was able to summon an Uber. And then we had trouble finding the car as it seemed one side of the station was completely separate from the other and he came to the other side. Eventually we found him and he found us and we had a short drive to the Palacio de Quelez.

The Palace itself is quite extensive and work to build it begun in 1747. It became property of the state in 1908. At one point it was the residence of the Prince Regent in the late 1800s following fire in the Adjuda Palace in Lisbon. It’s open as a tourist attraction to the public, although were in Quelez for one night and flew out the next day so didn’t get the chance to explore it.

What part exactly of the palace the pousada is housed in was unclear. But it must have been part of the complex. The restaurant for dinner was across the road, it looked like this was a square area for the palace complex.

What we Found…

Our building was also of the time, and the room itself was comfortable and cosy. It had a nice bathroom with a bath, and at the time it kind of felt like we were the only people staying there. My wife says she MIGHT have seen someone at breakfast in the morning, but she’s not sure. So in that way it was quite eerie I guess.

Despite being ‘cosy’, the room was also large enough and comfortable. The receptionist was pleasant and encouraged us to check out the mini-theatre that was part of the building. This room was, it must be said, pretty awesome!

And the Eating?

Dinner was, as I said, in a different building, a sort of hall across the way. This was also included in the price. So actually 152 Euros wasn’t bad value with two meals for two included. And for dinner I think we had three courses each, and the meal wasn’t too bad. Large hall, buffet dessert, and again, we were the only ones, but also we do eat early so I would hope that later many more people came and frequented the place. The lamb was decent. The dessert buffet was HUGE.

Breakfast was good the next day, but not to the same standard as Infante Sagres, which is about the best hotel breakfast I think I have ever had. One of the people working there was somewhat short and rude to the two guests lol.

We had a taxi back to the station with much less confusion. What did I think of this stay? Well, I guess I was a bit disappointed we weren’t in a ‘castle’ proper, but all in all the price wasn’t bad for what we got, especially when it included four meals. The room was extremely comfortable and the bath was great. But it just quite, I think, what we were hoping for.

Andy’s Ratings:

Value For Money: 4/5

Cleanliness: 4/5

Noise: 4/5

Service: 3.5/5

Location: 3/5

TOTAL: 18.5/20 [74/100]

Thanks for reading – May the Journey Never End!

6 thoughts on “The ‘Pousada Experience’ – Unique Accommodation in Portugal

  1. sounds wonderful! this is the perfect post for this month’s travel linkup, check out this blog adventures of a london kiwi and link your post:)

    1. Well you arent in the main part of the palace, youre in sort of a wing, but still its true but the room was very comfortable and two meals per person. was a great deal! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Wow! 152 euros a night for a pousada?? That’s honestly cheaper than staying in some hotels in the US! I’d never heard of pousadas until your post, and it sounds like an awesome experience. Should I return to Portugal (and have some money to spend), I’d definitely give this a try! 🙂

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