Bussaco Palace Hotel
This legendary Palace was built for the last King of Portugal in 1885, converted into a deluxe hotel in 1917, and is nowadays one of the most beautiful and historic hotels in the world. Here you will enjoy the unique experience of staying in a veritable royal palace surrounded by formal gardens in the center of the magnificent woods, formed by 250 acres of centuries old walled ‘Bos Sacrum ´planted by the ecologically minded Order of the Barefoot Carmelites in the 17th century , as a holy hermitage dedicated to withdrawal and uplift. The Bussaco Forest is renowned by arborists worldwide for its incredible array of exotic trees and species of rare flora collected all over the world by Portuguese Navigators. The Monastery of the Holy Cross, dating from 1630, the diversity of chapels, hermitages and belvederes in the forest, and the walking paths through the Stations-of-The-Cross, as well as all the landscape architecture introduced in the middle of the 19th century by Queen Maria Pia of Savoy, fore last Queen of Portugal, and daughter of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, with the creation of the Valley of the Ferns and the construction of the Cold Fountain, still exemplify the rarefied atmosphere of serenity and peace of this very special place. The strong aromas of conifers, hedges and flora, combined in the early morning, make the air in Bussaco just incredible and unforgettable. If you can find peace and romantic tranquility there, then you may never find it anywhere... Listed in the '1000 Places to See Before You Die´, the romantic castle, envisioned as a neo-gothic fantasy by Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, King Consort of Portugal and cousin of Albert, Queen Victoria's husband and Prince Consort of the United Kingdom, and built by his grandson King Charles I of Portugal, with its overwhelming eclectic architecture - a flury of excesses, a hotchpotch of styles -of stone carving, pinnacles, turrets, gargoyles, twists, pillars, arches, tiles, marble and nautical references and echoes of the Tower of Belém in Lisbon, is truly one-of-a-kind. The inner palatial setting, enhanced by the presence of many of the original sumptuous antique furnishings, by a remarkable collection of masterpieces by notable Portuguese artists, by the impressive stairway with its vaulted ceiling and its Homeric window, or by the best collection of "azulejos", glazed tiles, from the 19th century, depicting scenes from Portugal’s colorful maritime history and from the “Battle of Bussaco”, in 1810, that heralded the Duke of Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon’s army, leads to a successful marriage with its sumptuous natural surroundings. The restaurant, one of the finest, offers classic Escoffier gastronomy and exceptional modern Portuguese terroir cuisine signed by Chef Dionisio Ferreira, but also the exclusive world-class Bussaco wines, mis-en-bouteille-au-château, a remarkable experience not to be missed in Portugal. The hotel host over the years to monarchs and heads of state from all over the world, to actors and authors, refugees, honeymooners, its guest list being a who's who of royalty, politicians and film stars. The overall experience awakes lasting impressions of perfection, where each visit is only surpassed by the next one. The best example of a truly grand historic hotel and an absolute pure romantic escape.