Family Travel Forum's resort expert rates the waterfront Albatroz Hotel in Casais, Portugal. Read on to find out if it measures up to your family's expectations.
Just an easy 30-minute electric train ride from Lisbon, the seaside village of Cascais was once a quaint fishing town, and you can still see the twice-weekly fish auction at the docks if you’re up early enough. The town is small, quite walkable, and kid-friendly, and the train station is just a few blocks from most lodgings, restaurants, and shops.
A broad promenade along the sea connects Cascais with the neighboring town of Estoril, whose community of old royalty and new money live in villas in the hills surrounding the beaches and a world-famous casino.
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Sintra, a historic castle town which can be toured in one day, is about 45 minutes away. Alternate your days lounging by the sea with city tours of Lisbon‘s palaces, castles, and museums.
Portugal is not a regular stop on most Americans’ grand European tour, which makes this westernmost country in Europe seem all the more exotic. Tourists at this edge of the continent tend to be from other European countries, including Great Britain, so English is spoken in most hotels, restaurants and shops.
The Albatroz Hotel has the best location in Cascais: right at the edge of the sea and adjacent to a sandy beach and the quaint old village. It has a floating sunbathing platform with chaise lounges and sun umbrellas out in the Atlantic; if you don’t want to swim to it, the hotel will deliver you in their boat.
There are 48 rooms and 11 suites locaterd in both the 19th-century palace section of the hotel and in a newer wing. Larger families should request a one-bedroom suite that can accommodate up to five people. The hotel can arrange water-skiing, horseback riding, polo, windsurfing, and golf when you need a break from the cultural pleasures of Lisbon.
Although the weather is at its best from April to October, there are substantial discounts in the (possibly damp and chilly) winter months.
Resort Report Card
|Address:||Rua Frederico Arouca, 100
|Seasonal Rates:||$$$ – $$$$|
|Choice of Activities:||A|
|Quality of Amenities:||A|
|Bonus:||An opera singer entertains during Thursday dinners.|
|Note:||Originally built for the Portuguese royal family.|
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