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SINTRA AND THE HOTEL TIVOLI PALACIO DE SETEAIS

James Andrew at Tivoli Palacio de Setais

James Andrew at Tivoli Palacio de Setais

After a fabulous breakfast at the Pestana Palacio de Freixo in Porto, we boarded an express train back to Lisbon. There we were collected at the train station and brought to Sintra for the last leg our sublime journey.

With its lush micro-climate, enchanting wildlife, and fairyland architecture, the town of Sintra is an absolute dream, and thankfully we had a good three days to explore! Of the Sintra hotels, Tivoli Palacio de Seteais is a stand out. This neo-classical masterpiece dates to the late 1700’s and was purchased by the Dutch consol, Daniel Gildemeester. In 1800 it was sold to the 5th Marquis of Marialva who added the second matching pavilion and the triumphal arch in honor of the Prince Regent and future King Joao VI. It became a hotel in the early part of the 20th Century. With its superb location and spectacular views, the Palacio de Seteais was certainly a splendid place to spend our remaining days in Portugal, and the perfect base of operation from which to explore the rest of Sintra.

Quite nearby — actually just a quick walk from the hotel — is the must-see, Quinta de Regaleira. Built in the early 1900’s, it was the esoteric fantasy retreat of eccentric millionaire, Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. The Italian set-designer and architect Luigi Manini was enlisted to create the magical gardens and palace and it is imbued throughout with historical, mystical, and even occult symbolism. To say that it is a visual feast is an understatement.

Gardens at Quinta da Regaleira

Gardens at Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

Redering - Quinta da Regaleira

Rendering – Quinta da Regaleira

Interior, Quinta da Regaleira

Interior, Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

James Andrew at Quinta da Regaleira

James Andrew at Quinta da Regaleira

For a day of touring, I’m sporting a Tom Ford charcoal wool silk tweed jacket, grey cotton cashmere corduroy pant, grey and charcoal checked cotton shirt, a Ralph Lauren black and ivory dot print silk scarf and red alligator belt with sterling buckle, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, Tom Ford era Gucci black suede loafers, Turnbull and Asser grey and black dot print silk pocket square, vintage Rolex, my fragrance is Tom Ford London, and I’m using a bit of Tom Ford Bronzing Gel for a healthy glow.

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EXPLORING THE PALACES OF LISBON VIA PESTANA PALACE

James Andrew – Pestana Palace Hotel

James Andrew – Pestana Palace Hotel

After touring so many of the great houses of Lisbon, it was always so nice to seamlessly slip into our very own palace — one simply can’t help but feel like Windsor in residence as one enters the grand entrance rotunda at Pestana Palace.

On our many jaunts, the Palacio Fronteira certainly stood out. This divine country manor house built for the First Marques de Fronteira in 1640 and is still owned by the family (yes, this is the Old World!). The stunning use of Portuguese tiles throughout and the exceptionally glorious gardens all make for a highly inspirational visit!

Palacio Fronteira

Palacio Fronteira

Palacio Fronteira

Palacio Fronteira

Palacio Fronteira

Palacio Fronteira

The Jardim Botanica da Ajuda is also a must-see. These fabulous formal gardens in the Italian style provide a respite from the city and the roaming peacocks are truly one of those unforgettable sites!

Jardim Botanica da Ajuda

Jardim Botanica da Ajuda

Jardim Botanica da Ajuda

Jardim Botanica da Ajuda

Jose Avillez’s many restaurants score at the top of our list. His highly imaginative take on Portuguese cuisine with influences garnered from his many travels throughout the world will absolutely delight the senses! Belcanto, Cantinho de Avillez, Cafe Lisboa, Mini Bar…do try them all!

Dressed for a day of touring, I’m sporting a Tom Ford charcoal wool, silk cashmere tweed jacket, grey checked cotton shirt and gray cotton cashmere corduroy pant, Hermes gray silk pocket square, Ralph Lauren black alligator belt with sterling buckle, Tom Ford era Gucci black suede loafers, vintage Rolex, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, my fragrance Tom Ford London and Tom Ford Bronzing Gel provide a healthy glow.

THE SUITE LIFE AT PESTANA PALACE LISBON

James Andrew -- Dom Luis Felipe suite a the Pestana Palace Hotel

James Andrew — Dom Luis Felipe suite a the Pestana Palace Hotel

In keeping with our theme of exploring the great houses and palaces of Portugal via palace hotels, the Dom Luis Felipe suite at the Pestana Palace Hotel certainly provided us with more than a little taste of the palatial experience! Our ravishing rooms welcomed us back from each day’s exploration and provided us with the most sublime base of operations while in Portugal. A stay at Pestana Palace feels more like being a guest at the home of a relative who just happens to be a Marquis – welcoming and yet elegantly eccentric!

There is so much to see in Lisbon, but among the not-to-be-missed highlights is the Palacio Nacional da Ajuda. The original royal palace was destroyed by fire in 1795, and replaced with a monumental neo-classical style palace in the early 19th century, however it was left incomplete in 1807 when the Royal family was forced to flee to Brazil. It was finally completed in 1861 when Luis I became King and married Maria Pia Princess of Savoia. Needless too say they spared no expense in finalizing the structure and appointments, and the place has left me utterly inspired.

Palacio Nacional da Ajuda

Palacio Nacional da Ajuda

Palacio Nacional da Ajuda

Palacio Nacional da Ajuda

Palacio Nacional da Ajuda

Palacio Nacional da Ajuda

Palacio Nacional da Ajuda

Palacio Nacional da Ajuda

Also on the must-see Lisbon list is the Museu de Artes Decorativas. Housed in the 17th century Palacio Azurara, it is dedicated to preserving Portuguese traditions in the world of decorative arts. On display are some of the finest examples of furniture, textiles, silver and ceramics. Going there really is a two-for-one experience: enjoying the spectacular palace on the one hand, and the splendid collection on the other!

An exhibition of Portuguese chairs at Museu de Artes Decorativas

An exhibition of Portuguese chairs at Museu de Artes Decorativas

Luncheon at Pestana Palace is always a good idea and since we had the most wonderful weather, we were served on the back terrace overlooking the lovely gardens. One should also be sure to dine at Restaurant Tavares – perhaps one of the oldest restaurants in Portugal, it is an elegant venue serving traditional Portuguese cuisine.

Savoring the beauty of our ravishing rooms at Pestana Palace, I’m sporting a Ralph Lauren Purple Label red tartan wool cashmere jacket, red and white striped cotton shirt with white contrast collar and cuffs by Turnbull and Asser, vintage black silk pocket square, antique Victorian Scottish agate cuff links,Tom Ford era Yves Saint Laurent “Windsor” loafers in black leather, Ralph Lauren black alligator belt with sterling buckle, vintage Rolex, a bit of Tom Ford Bronzing Gel provides a healthy glow and my fragrance is Creed Windsor (indeed, I felt very much like a Windsor, staying at Pestana Palace!).