Just 30-minutes' drive fom Lisbon airport, this plush resort on the Lisbon coast enjoys a plum location in scenic countryside. There's excellent golfing on the doorstep at the world-renowned Quinta da Marinha 18-hole course-famed for its gorgeous views and challenging holes. Gorgeous beaches are close at hand, and the resort itself has indoor and outdoor pools, good on-site restaurants and a shuttle service to the famous MonteMar seafood restaurant. Set in beautiful grounds and surrounded by the sounds of chirruping birds, the hotel is perfect for a chilled break just a short hop from the big city.
If your schedule is flexible, try to avoid the summer crush by visiting in late June or early September, when the weather is good but there's plenty of room by the lovely outdoor pool.
The spacious rooms at Quinta da Marinha Resort all have balconies with dramatic views, some overlooking the pool and gardens, others looking out over the golf course, and all framed by the Serra da Sintra mountain range. Rooms each have mini-bar, flat-screen TV and air conditioning. The resort also has spacious 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom villas, each kitted out with living rooms (complete with cozy fireplace) a kitchenette and a large terrace for outdoor dining.
YOU SHOULD KNOW It's quite a way to the nearest supermarket, so bring snacks and drinks if you don't fancy stumping up mini-bar prices.
Bathrooms are simple in design but polished and sparkling clean, most have tubs with overhead showers, some have shower cubicles. Robes, slippers, and hairdryers are provided, and there are good quality amenities from Plantation.
The hotel was given a major revamp in 2014, when the lobby was comprehensively overhauled. It's now a bright and open space with plenty of natural light, and neutral grey tones. The reception desk is a well-oiled machine, with friendly, efficient staff, and there are several sofas for lounging as well as a display of fitness wear available to buy.
The walls are hung with wine-focused paintings from the late Portuguese artist Ana Safer.
On a sunny day, the resort's large outdoor pool is the place to be. With a poolside bar and loungers set by a stream next to the golf course, it's a wonderfully relaxing place to be. A smaller, shallower pool provides an opportunity for kids to splash around safely. On cooler days, or for more serious swimming, the heated indoor pool beckons, and has hydro massage jets for easing tense muscles.
The Ritual Spa on the hotel's lower floor has an Oriental theme to the decor, and provides body and beauty treatments as well as manicures and pedicures. Next to the pool, there are heated loungers, a sauna, Sensations showers, Turkish bath and Vichy room.
The gym is on the small side, but has a reasonable amount of cardio-focused equipment.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The gym is separated from the pool and the hotel's public areas by a glass wall, so be prepared for other guests to watch you work out.
Dining is a strong suit at Quinta da Marinha, not least because the hotel runs shuttle services to MonteMar, the famous seafood restaurant overlooking the windswept Guincho beach. Under the same management as the hotel, the restaurant is a 5-10 minute drive (or a fairly long walk) from the hotel. On site, the Five Pines restaurant serves an international buffet (and is the setting for generous buffet breakfasts), while the formal dining restaurant Rocca serves Portuguese fare. The Trent Jones bar (named for the designer of the golf course) is a relaxed spot with kid-friendly meals and a nice terrace for outdoor drinking and dining.
The Trent Jones bar serves an impressive array of cocktails, and the terrace is a lovely place to be at sunset, when the sun dips over the mountains. After dark, there's regular piano music in the lounge, while drinks on the terrace are sound tracked by the calls of birds, insects and other nocturnal nature sounds.
The hotel's tranquil nature makes it feel wonderfully remote, but guests are hardly cut off from civilization here. It's a half-hour drive to Lisbon airport, and trains from downtown Lisbon to Cascais take just 25 minutes. The hotel runs shuttle buses to Cascais center, and also arranges bicycle hire for exploring the surrounding area. Sintra is also a short drive away, as is the famous Guincho beach.
This is very much golf country, and at Verbasco (20-minute walk or 5-minute drive) enthusiasts can enjoy a meal at the Clubhouse of the famous Oitavos Dunes course. Part of the Oitavos Hotel resort, it's open to non-guests and has a wide-ranging menu of snacks and larger meals, as well as a lively bar. For sipping and snacking, try Restaurante Páteo dos Petiscos (20-minute walk/5-minute drive) for delicious Portuguese small plates accompanied by great wines.
Many of the liveliest bars in Cascais can be found at the Marina, where it's well worth checking out the famous cocktails at Hemingway Restaurant and Bar (10-minute drive). The center of Cascais has a lively bar scene with lots of ex-pats and surfers heading to boisterous venues such as Luain's Irish Pub (10-minute drive).
WHY WE LIKE IT
This upscale resort is a quick hop from downtown Lisbon and the airport, but feels like a real escape to the country with its sea air, stunning mountain range and nearby beaches. It's a heavenly location for golfers and is also big with sporty types (it's the Official Hotel for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 event). The gardens and pool are lovely, and the proximity to wild nature is treat for walkers, runners and cyclists. With good conference facilities, it's also a popular spot with business visitors.