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PESTANO PALACIO DO FREIXO AND CASA SERRALVES

James Andrew at Casa Serralves

James Andrew at Casa Serralves

After a fine breakfast at our fabulous hotel Pestana Palacio do Freixo, with the able assistance of the attentive staff we were off for another day’s adventure.

While we’ve been exploring many of the classic mansions and palaces of Portugal we were interested to see a rare modernest example, namely the Casa Serralve located on the outskirts of Porto. It’s an utterly beautiful classicist masterpiece with hints of Deco and gardens influenced by 16th and 17th French formal designs. The estate which included a working farm, was commissioned by the 2nd Count of Vizela Carlos Alberto Cabral.

Casa Serralves, Porto

Casa Serralves, Porto

Casa Serralves, Porto

Casa Serralves, Porto

Casa Serralves, Porto

Casa Serralves, Porto

Casa Cerralves, Porto

Casa Cerralves, Porto

Cabral was so impressed by the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Arts in Paris that he hired a whole team of French Architects and designers to work on the project — primarily French Architect Charles Siclis with the help of Jose Marques da Silva. The Interiors were designed by Jacques Emile Ruhlman, Rene Lalique, Edgar Brandt, Ivan da SIlva Bruhns, Jules Leleu, Jean Parzel and Raymond Subes.

Casa Serralves, Porto

Casa Serralves, Porto

Casa Cerralves, Porto

Casa Cerralves, Porto

Sadly all the furniture is gone, yet one can still get a sense of what this house once was, no doubt reminiscent of the grand salons aboard legendary ocean liners like the Normandie. We were so taken with the place that we actually came back after lunch at the superb restaurant Cafeina, to soak in a few more moments of the impossibly beautiful place.

After Casa Serralves, we dashed back to town to catch up with a few super chic Porto based friends. Later we were treated to the most divine dinner at the Pestana Palacio do Freixo’s Palatium Restaurant — a veritable feast with wine pairings was the most fantastic celebration before leaving Porto — we will definitely need to return and spend more time there with so much more to see!

Pestana Palacio do Freixo, Porto

Pestana Palacio do Freixo, Porto

I’m captured (top) at the sublime Casa Serralves, sporting a Tom Ford ivory cotton/cashmere corduroy jacket, charcoal wool cashmere pant and black and white silk pocket square, Tom Ford era Gucci red cashmere turtleneck sweater and black suede loafers, vintage Rolex, Tom Ford Bronzing Gel for a sun kissed glow and my fragrance is Creed Windsor.

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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!).

HOTEL PESTANA PALACE LISBON AND QUELUZ

James Andrew, Queluz

James Andrew, Queluz

We are just back from our journey Portugaise. As you’ll see over the next several installments of WIJW, it was everything we thought it would be…and much much more!

We structured this trip around the great houses and palaces of Portugal while staying in hotels that were, you guessed it, former palaces. Needless to say, there was endless inspiration to be had in Portugal, and I am sure by the end of this little WIJW series you yourself will be sorting a journey there. Certainly Portugal as a destination has been a bit unsung, but I’m guessing like all good things that this will all change in the not too distant future. With the loveliest people, sublime cuisine and the most beautiful homes, palaces and other sites to discover, I suggest that you start packing now!

After extensive research, we decided that for the Lisbon leg of our trip the Pestana Palace was the most perfect choice. Built in 1904 it was originally the home of the Marquis de Valle Flor who amassed one of the largest fortunes in all of Portugal through cocoa production. The palace is gorgeous and perfectly situated to afford equally sublime views of the Tagus River. We called it home in Lisbon for five glorious days. For your visit there, Insist on rooms in the original palace part of the hotel — you will not be disappointed.

Queluz facade

Queluz facade

Corredor dasMangas at Queluz

Corredor das Mangas at Queluz

An inner courtyard at Queluz

An inner courtyard at Queluz

Queluz facade

Queluz facade

Tiled canal at Queluz

Tiled canal at Queluz

For our first Palace day-excursion we went to Palacio Nacional de Queluz, the Rococo Summer Palace built in 1747 by Pedro younger son of Joao V – and later expanded by Maria I. Since childhood I had dreamed of touring what once was nicknamed “pink palace” (It has now been restored to what is believed to be its original blue and yellow palette). The actuality of the place was better than my wildest boyhood fantasies. The day was perfect – the grand palace set against a spectacularly clear cobalt sky – really this was an absolute dream come true. We spent three hours leisurely exploring every incredible inch of the building and its gardens, followed by a splendid luncheon with our dashing friend Ze Cabral at Cozinha Velha at Queluz.

James Andrew, Pestana Palace Lisbon

James Andrew, Pestana Palace Lisbon

Pestana Palace Lisbon

Pestana Palace Lisbon

FYI., I ll be posting many more pics on Instagram should you want more!

For your dinner in Lisbon, we highly suggest an evening at Restaurant Eleven. With Michelin Star awarded chef Joachim Koerper and his highly imaginative take on Portuguese cuisine, the meal is guaranteed to be a delight!

Soaking in all the beauty that is Queluz (top), I’m sporting Tom Ford ivory cashmere cotton corduroy jacket, charcoal cashmere wool tweed pants and grey, ivory and black checked cotton shirt, Tom Ford era Gucci black suede loafers, Turnbull and Asser ivory and black silk scark and grey and black polka dot silk pocket square, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, vintage Rolex, Tom Ford “Marco” sunglasses, a bit of summer glow with Tom Ford Bronzing Gel and my fragrance is Creed Windsor.