You can tell alot about a person based on their hotel preferences. Resort vs. boutique being the big dividers. And I was surprised to recently discover that two of my closest friends fall into a different camp to mine. Meaning a holiday we were planning fell by the wayside, when my idea of heaven: a simple rustic stilted hut on a beach, sounds of the waves crashing lulling me to sleep, turned out to be their idea of a critter infested, noisy hell. Preferring instead the comfort of a air conditioned resort. And although that kind of accommodation would be out of the question for me when taking a trip to India or Thailand, I am open when it comes to the Portuguese Atlantic coastline of Cascais. Where these kind of resort hotel and more commonplace than my usual preference of chic and boutique. And even if more corporate friendly hotels may not usually be my bag – I shall endeavour to remain unbiased in my review of what is actually a pretty top notch 5 star hotel.
Based in a sprawling terracotta building, with a wood panelled and marble interior, Hotel Quinta da Marinha Resort has a reassuring grown-up feel to it. Bringing the outdoors in via open corridors over a conservatory courtyard. With tropical garden beds featuring ferns and palm trees with limestone pathways, pine rafters holding the glass ceiling flooding the space with light.
It is funny but I have never seen my boyfriend so excited by a hotel we have stayed at together. I’m pretty sure it was the view over the golf course giving him all the feels. Although it could have been the complimentary Areias de Cascais cookies at reception, or the sheer size of our suite. With two bathrooms, a separate lounge area and huge balcony overlooking the18th hole. Our huge bed beyond king size, easily 7ft wide, with silky cotton sheets, LED lighting glowing from behind the squishy quilted cream leather headboard, and stylishly illuminating the wall panel.
When we stayed, the hotel seemed to be popular with Gentleman golfers – here to play the course made famous by its hole 3 with views over the Atlantic, used for many years to promote “Golf in Portugal” abroad.
It’s not just golf on offer here though. There’s an outside infinity pool – which, as it was unseasonably nippy when we stayed, was solely being enjoyed by the ducks. The indoor ‘Ritual Spa’ being preferable to us fair weather swimmers. With chromotherapy lights in the steam room, tropical showers, a sauna and a small pool with jet cannons. The treatment room scattered with Buddhas, apt for what felt like a spiritual experience when my Elemis massage ended with third eye massage. Ohmmmmmmmm.
It’s impossible not to find something you will like for breakfast at the hotel’s Five Pines Restaurant buffet. And from my perspective, for every miss there’s a hit. The fruit juice was not freshly squeezed for example, but there’s Nespresso coffee on tap. The cooked breakfast was not worth writing home about, and although the self service pancake machine only makes one tiny serving at a time – what’s not to love about just hitting a button for fresh pancakes?
Only when I am in a Latin country or it’s my birthday do I consider it acceptable to have cake for breakfast – so with this in mind…notable mention goes to the pastry selection. Especially the incredible pain au raisin type cake (it’s amazing how changing the usual shape of a pastry can cause such a thrill) and a fluffy and moist orange cake. With attentive servers clearing plates before I could notice how much of the buffet I actually “sampled”, it’s just as well I was only here for a couple of mornings.
Dinner at Rocca – the gourmet Portuguese cuisine restaurant on site, was a clear run of hits though. With a pianist tinkling the ivories in the background we enjoyed giant prawns in a rich garlicky sauce. Followed by sea bass pea purée with figs, cauliflower and crispy garlic for me, and a bloody streak, with a choice of sauces, poached egg and a stack of sliced potatoes for the boy. A well deserved feast after our round of golf on the hotel’s course. Even if we did cheat with a buggy.
Hotel Quinta da Marinha Resort