I recently spent some time in Portugal, mainly for a the Travel Bloggers Unite conference and the 2012 Destinology Travel Bloggy Awards (we won Best Newcomer). After the conference, I was also invited on a short trip in the north of Portugal by Turismo de Portugal. Over the next couple of days, I’ll tell you more about the beautiful villages I had the opportunity to visit on my trip. But first, let me tell you a little bit about the gorgeous pousadas where we stayed!
What is a pousada you ask? Well, if you’ve heard of the state-owned Spanish paradores, pousadas are similar. The Pousadas of Portugal began in the 1940’s and, deemed living history hotels, range from former convents and monasteries to castles and palaces. There are over 35 pousadas on mainland Portugal and 2 in the Azores. I had the pleasure to experience two of these pousadas on my trip with Turismo de Portugal.
Hotel Pousada Santa Marinha
High on a hill above my favorite village we visited, Guimaraes, Hotel Pousada Santa Marinha is a converted 17th century Augustinian convent. With just 49 rooms in the huge convent, I hardly ran into another soul as I roamed the halls. But once I entered my room, I completely forgot I was in a convent. The rooms have been luxuriously renovated in style. I found the burgundy and gold tones and hard wood relaxing. And my floor to ceiling windows opened up to the lush gardens, where I watched the sun dip below the Portuguese hills.
It was a shame that the church was not open during my short stay at the pousada. It was so lovely from the outside, I would have liked to sneak a peek of the inside.
*Standard double room rates range from 180 – 250 depending on the season.
Pousada Monte de Santa Luzia was my absolute, hands down favorite of the two pousadas. The room was just a little brighter, the bed was just a little more comfy, mimosas were offered with an ample breakfast buffet, and nothing could top the view. Welcomed to the pousada with a glass of port, I took it to my room where I enjoyed it while gazing out at the horseshoe sweep of beach, Cabedelo, the river estuary, and the dome of the temple of Santa Luzia.
*Superior sea view room rates range from 216 – 300 depending on the season.
Thank to you Turismo de Portugal for hosting me. As always, all opinions (and decisions to indulge in mimosas with breakfast at 8am before boarding a flight) are my own.