Timeless elegance at Tivoli Hotels in Portugal

The lobby at the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa, which recently went through an $18 million refurbishment.
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Designed in 1879 to evoke the avenues of Paris, Lisbon's Avenida da Liberdade is often considered the city's Champs-Elysees: a broad, leafy boulevard lined with fountains and statuary alongside sidewalks of Portuguese mosaic. The Avenue (as it's known to locals) is home to fashion houses, art deco movie palaces and luxury hotels, all of which made it a fitting neighborhood for one of Portugal's most famous actresses, Beatriz Costa, who made her home at the five-star Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa.

A contemporary of Marlene Dietrich, Costa became the soul of the five-star hotel during her three-decade tenure, and today, an expansive, period-furnished suite with 24-hour butler service bears her name. Luminaries and diplomats have frequented the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade since its opening in 1933, and a recent $18 million refurbishment has enhanced the hotel's art moderne elegance.

The pool bar at the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa.
The pool bar at the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa.

Sunlight pours through a golden-trellised glass atrium above the mahogany and turquoise lobby, where afternoon tea is served. In the evenings, guests congregate around Lobby Bar for classic cocktails while a jazz trio fuels the romantic atmosphere. Meanwhile, atop the hotel, Sky Bar offers panoramic views of this spectacular seaside city. An outdoor spiral staircase soars into the clouds, and a nest-like art installation of two shipping containers provides vertiginous vistas over Lisbon's fabled seven hills.

In celebration of its 85th birthday last year, the hotel unveiled its Anantara Spa with marble treatment rooms glamorous enough for film stars past and present. The hotel's outdoor swimming pool is surrounded by a tropical garden with shade provided by a majestic rubber tree.

At lunch, savvy Lisboetas convene at the hotel's Cervejaria Liberdade for sublime local seafood served in a contemporary Mediterranean brasserie overlooking the avenue. A member of Leading Hotels of the World, the 285-room hotel offers guests of its suites an Executive Lounge, where tapas and drinks are served throughout the day. For dinner, the Michelin-starred chef Rui Paula oversees Terraco from its rooftop perch, where on clear days, it's possible to glimpse the National Park of Arrabida.

Into the Algarve

The pool at the Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve.
The pool at the Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve.

For further exploration of Portugal's culinary pleasures, guests head to the Algarve, Portugal's stunning southern coast, where fish and seafood are complemented by an abundance of oranges, almonds, carob beans and figs, which are integral ingredients in the region's rich desserts.

At the Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort, chef Bruno Rocha redefines traditional Algarvian recipes such as cataplana (a seafood stew) amid this five-star resort's remarkable oceanfront setting. Nestled atop the cliffs of the Seven Hanging Valleys, the contemporary hotel hovers above a brilliantly azure cove, which provides a spectacular vista from a balcony table at Rocha's signature restaurant, the One Gourmet.

To offset the caloric intake, a sunset hike along the Seven Hanging Valleys trail serves as a breathtaking reminder of why the Algarve attracts more than 7 million visitors annually. Steep limestone cliffs and golden gorges shimmer in the sun, the air fragrant with Aleppo pine. A local guide from Algarfun shares folklore about the indigenous flora and herbs, some of which infuse the elixirs awaiting at hike's end at the resort's Tivoli Spa.

As a center of viticulture since the Bronze Age, Portugal cultivates more than 250 native grapes. Four of Portugal's 31 DOCs (official EU-regulated wine regions) are located in the Algarve, which makes it easy for guests at Tivoli Carvoeiro to explore their oenophilia both on and off property.

Sintra sojourn

For another take on Portuguese wine, the Colares DOC is situated in Sintra. Located slightly northwest of Lisbon, the fabled royal sanctuary has been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site for its various villas, castles and royal retreats. Originally a medieval monastery, the hilltop Pena Palace crowns the town with its fanciful pastel turrets and towers that rise above an enchanted evergreen forest often shrouded in mist.

The Tivoli Palacio de Seteais is one of the highlights of the Sintra Unesco World Heritage Site.
The Tivoli Palacio de Seteais is one of the highlights of the Sintra Unesco World Heritage Site.

Equally majestic, the 18th-century Seteais Palace was built as a summer residence with vast gardens, fruit trees and sweeping views over the Sintra hills. Now known as the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais, the five-star property retains its original frescoes and ornate furnishings as well as the iconic neoclassical arch that connects the palace's two wings.

Surrounded by lemon groves and manicured lawns redolent of camellia, hibiscus and jasmine, the 30-room palace holds more than 2,000 pieces of art, including paintings, porcelain, tapestries, textiles — and a beloved Christofle trolley used for tableside service at the palace's gourmet restaurant. In the Colares Wine Room, a four-course gourmet dinner is paired with the region's robust and powerfully tannic wines.

Local wines are also utilized in various therapeutic body treatments at the palace's Anantara Spa. Housed in the palace's former dovecote tower, the spa is a sanctuary of well-being, where poultices are scented with herbs from the adjacent garden. Amid such natural beauty, a leisurely stroll through the boxwood maze is equally revitalizing.

Situated at the extreme west of the Iberian Peninsula, Sintra has been a muse for artists and architects as well as royals and aristocrats, who have created a fabulous domain of parks, gardens, palaces and castles that is unsurpassed as a center of 19th-century European Romantic architecture. Little wonder that romance lingers around every corner at Tivoli Palacio de Seteais.

A part of the Minor Hotels portfolio, Tivoli Hotels & Resorts operates properties in Brazil and Qatar as well as Portugal. Starting rates at the five-star Tivoli properties in Portugal range from $300 to $500 in high season.

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