Happy Place - The Oitavos, Portugal

3.6.14

When you travel a lot, you tend to develop a few theories about various travel-related "woes". My favourite is the "hotel room lottery" if you check-in at the same time as others. I've often thought I was cursed when it comes to hotel rooms as I generally end up in the room that looks like a cave while everyone else enjoys private terraces or in-room hot-tubs. Seriously, this happened to me before. Obviously I don't inspire very positive feelings when I check-in bedraggled after a long flight. Where am I going with this? Well... The Oitavos absolutely shredded my "hotel room lottery" theory. As I entered the glass-clad building, I was fully prepared to accept my fate and crawl into a tiny smelly armpit of a room. Lo, and behold!... This doesn't happen at The Oitavos and in fact it cannot happen there as all the rooms are suites, all the rooms have an ocean view and all the rooms have private terraces. Yes, all 142 of them. Imagine my relief! 

The only way I could still apply my "hotel room lottery" theory to The Oitavos is by including the Forte, which is an old fort (duh) located far away on the vast grounds and is essentially the most perfect place in Portugal. Imagine being in a glass tower, with a private pool and the most gorgeous sunset views... best of all: you must drive a golf buggy to get there. I didn't take any photos of the Forte as I was too busy snooping around everywhere and squealing, but you can see it here.

Back to my room (a Premium Room, 64m2 + a 16m2 terrace, only marginally smaller than my flat in London) - the design is "Mediterranean Contemporary", think minimalistic and in shades of blue and white. The rooms are all open-plan, with just a short partition separating the main living/sleeping area from the bathroom. It is great as it allows the breeze to flow freely around the space but I imagine it could trigger some intimacy issues for young couples on a romantic getaway... It doesn't take away from the general romance of the place though, so you can go ahead and book that lovers retreat. We had quite the action packed schedule during our stay as there is a lot to do in the area (Sintra - 30mn, Cascais - 10mn and Lisbon - 25mn) but I would have been just as happy to spend a few days enjoying the ocean view from my balcony and swimming lengths in the square infinity pool. 

If you aren't into balcony time or swimming, there is also a wonderfully zen spa at the hotel, which benefits from its own salt water pool, hot-tub, sauna and steam room as well as several treatment rooms offering all the usual well-being services. I had an express leg massage as soon as I got the the hotel and it definitely saved my legs from too much flying time. I recommend booking your treatment in advance during peak season as it does get pretty busy - the hotel is a popular place for locals as well. 

After all that relaxation, if you are in need of some fun in the sun you simply must spend a Saturday night at The Oitavos Beats, a series of outdoors concerts at sunset which goes on for the whole Summer. We were there for the first one of the season and it was magical. Samba, sunset and strawberry caipirinhas: need i say more...?


Verbasco Restaurant, in the clubhouse of the golf course, was my favourite of the Oitavos eateries. Informal and lovely.


 The view from Verbasco



A bath with a view.



Marshmallow bed fit for a princess (or a Robot) and the obligatory mirror outfit shot. This is my travel outfit.


Wall to ceiling sliding glass doors make it easy for guests to bring the outside in. I did try to lure some of the golf course rabbits to my room, but they couldn't jump high enough.



Great little workstation, with plugs in all the right places!


Strawberry caipirinha on the terrace


Perfect infinity pool






My very own Carb Festival aka best breakfast ever.


Mademoiselle Robot was a guest of The Oitavos. Fly there with TAP from £90 ( departing from London Heathrow). Rooms from £150.



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