Very near Coimbra, the 5 star Quinta das Lagrimas is part agroturismo, part Royal Palace and part luxury spa hotel, and had been a quiet sanctuary for Kings and Emperors for centuries, before recently opening its doors to paying guests. It is also the place where one of Portugal’s most infamous love stories took place; the story of Pedro & Inês.
This was the XIVth-century love affair between Prince Pedro and Inês de Castro which lurched, as they all do, from deep romance to deep tragedy when Inês was murdered on the orders of King Alfonso, Pedro’s father.
This famous story inspired the name of the property; Quinta das Lagrimas/The Estate of Tears, and these days it offers superb luxury in a setting that is uniquely atmospheric and compelling.
There is a great choice of B&B rooms and suites, ranging from more standard doubles to superb, top of the range, suites. Even the most ‘basic’ of rooms though are lovingly styled and come with a real touch of class. It is a five star hotel and you can expect the best in comfort and facilities but Quinta das Lagrimas differs in that it is a grand, stately property with a romantic, cultured, air that is impossible to find in more modern hotels. It is a joy to just wander around and soak in the atmosphere.
Add to that the extensive botanical gardens outside with so many rare plant species from around the world, the excellent spa facilities, the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the nine hole on site golf course and the two award winning gourmet restaurants, and you really have a break to remember.
The seasonal restaurants serve up organic food that is locally sourced as much as is possible, ‘ Market Cuisine’ they like to call it here, but with much of the herbs, vegetables and fruits being sourced even closer, on the grounds themselves, picked fresh from the organic ‘Chef’s Garden’.
Quinta das Lagrimas is just outside the charming university city of Coimbra, in the centre north of Portugal, roughly half way between Lisbon and Porto. Coimbra was once Portugal’s capital and has an enormous wealth of medieval history, including Quinta das Lagrimas itself of course which dates back to the 14th century.
Though while staying at the Quinta you may feel you are in the heart of the countryside, the city centre is just a few minutes by car, and less than twenty minutes walk away. There are many sights along the way too, including the medieval convent of Santa Clara-aVelha just 300 meters away, and some tremendous views of the old town from the crossing point of the River Mondego.
The centre itself is a labyrinth of cute little streets where you can sample inexpensive local food and drink and on many evenings catch some of the Coimbra version of Fado music sang in local taverns. The city is packed with historic sights, too many to mention here but the ever helpful staff at the Quinta will have plenty of good advice about where to go and what to see. There is also a concierge service to be availed of too which can arrange all sorts of urban recreation as well as tours and excursions into the countryside including on horseback.
“Everything amazing. The whole hotel is magical. The gardens, the history. The suite is very spacious and comfortable. The restaurant Arcadas is a must to try….”
“This was a most beautiful and peaceful experience. If you need a treat, go spoil yourself here. Breakfast, gourmet dinner and the room deserves top rating…”
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