When you first arrive at the Casa de São Lourenço mountain hotel after a 30 minute drive up some truly fantastic mountain roads, you might not be too ecstatic with your first impression. The hotel lies directly by the road, and you are basically welcomed by its car park. All a bit underwhelming. The moment you step into the hotel, this is all forgotten. The interior design is stunning. Beautifully considered details. Modern materials combined in unusual ways.
Visually exciting, full of interesting ideas and luxurious without ever feeling ostentatious. The designs of all the spaces and how they connect are done with such love & care you instantly want to explore it all.
Then there are the incredible views of the Serra da Estrela mountain ranges all around the hotel and views of the village of Manteigas in the valley below. Especially at night, these views are breathtaking. If they ever film a Bond movie in Portugal, this would be a location worthy of one of Bond’s cat-stroking, world-domination-plotting, scar-faced villains.
The restaurant is a highlight of the hotel, whether it’s for dinner, or afternoon snack or breakfast it offers a real experience. The combination of the stunning views, excellent interior design, friendly service and high-quality food — at actually reasonable prices for what you get — are worth including in your stay.
But like everything, perfection doesn't exist: If you are expecting to lounge by the swimming pool all day, you will be disappointed. It’s too close to the road and quite small. There are only a few lounge chairs, and really only one couple can be in the outside area.
Have dinner at the hotel's restaurant. Chef Manuel Figueira creates tasty local dishes that are sophisticated yet unpretentious.
The hotel is in the heart of the Serra da Estrela's landscape — and exploring it is a mind-blowing experience. Expect ever-changing views with landscapes turning into surreal film sets. Expect giant boulders piled up into mountains that should not remain standing, but somehow they do. Expect moon-like landscapes. And expect to drive roads amongst the most spectacular driving experiences in Europe (One of Europe's best driving experiences).
Go for a swim at the “Represa de Vale Rossim”, a small lake high up in the mountains. It's located about 10 minutes drive from the hotel in beautiful surroundings. The water is cold but swimming in the middle of mountains is an incredible experience.
No, Casa de São Lourenço is certainly not a cheap hotel but with its stunning location, five-star service and outstanding design quality it will allow you to experience the area at its best and bring home lasting memories of one of Portugal's most exciting region.
Visit the hotel website:
(+351) 275 249 730