Tivoli Palácio de Seteais

Seteais - 35mThere are places in the world that completely overwhelm us, in an inexplicable way, transporting us through time like it stopped, and with a single glimpse making us dream without borders or limits, even knowing they’re unachievable (or so we think!)! And this is the most accurate descritption I can give you of the moment I found myself at the Palácio de Seteais, many years ago in a school trip.

Sintra2016 - 8Sintra’s roads…

Sintra has a very special place in my heart, my mind and my soul… I don’t know why, and I don’t even try to explain it! And the Palácio de Seteais also caused in me a feeling I also couldn’t ever define. That school trip made me dream, made me think what it would be like to stay in such an imposing place, so refined and classical…but also so unachievable!

I remember my mates having fun and me just wishing to enter that palace and never getting out! I also remember the feeling of sadness when a teacher said to me: “forget it Cíntia, that’s a luxury hotel, accessible to few.” Yes, she was right at the time.

Sintra2016 - 6Sintra

But dreaming has no price, and I stepped away from Palácio de Seteais, until I lost it from seight, but never losig that memory and that desire of staying there. Along the years I came back to Sintra many times, and every time I saw it the desire was the same, and I was overwhelmed all over again by a mix of sensations making me want to stay there forever!

But, dreams do come true, and…

Within the Semana Histórica da Gastronomia e Vinhos de Colares (Historical Week of Colares’ Wines and Gastronomy), that takes place at Tivoli Palácio de Seteais, we stayed at this monumental Palace!

And just like that, I proved to myself that it pays off to dream, and when we least expect it, dreams really can come true!

Seteais - 13History
The Palácio de Seteais was built in the XVIII century for the Dutch consul Daniel Gildemeester, in lands courtesy of Marquês de Pombal.

The chosen place for the construction, known as Campo do Alardo, presented the consul with a wide landscape of the astonishing Serra de Sintra.

A few year’s after the consul’s death, his widow sold the Palace to the V Marquês de Marialva, who ordered the amplification of its structure, by the hands of the neoclassical architect José da Costa e Silva (author of the São Carlos Theater, in Lisbon) transforming it in a symmetrical builing, in a “U” shape.

The main facade was then decorated with typical motifs of the neoclassicism, and the gardens followed a more Romantic trend.

The two buildings, the new and the old, were connected in 1802 by an arch of necoclassical style, built in homage to the Regent Prince D. João VI and to the Princess Carlota Joaquina, whom had visited the Palace that same year. The triumphal arch was decorated with the bronze effigies of the royal pair and a latin inscription.

Seteais - 15Several interior walls were also decorated with frescoes attributed to the French painter Jean Pillement and his disciples. The present motifs vary, including exotic vegetation and mythological creatures, typical from neoclassicism.
The luxury gardens were constructed in terraces walking towards the Atlantic Ocean.

Joaquina de Menezes succeeded to V Marquês de Marialva in possessing the Palácio de Seteais, dying a widow without any offspring, it was her nephew D. Nuno José de Moura Barreto, Grand Master of the Portuguese Masonry, who inherited everyting.

After several owners, the palace was finally acquired by the Portuguese Government, in 1946.

It is used as a luxury hotel, since 1954, by the Tivoli group, which kept the original features.

The name Seteais is involved in more than a legend, from the possibility of the place being a former Rye field (at the time, in Portuguese Rye was called “centeais”), therefore the name Seteais, or the legend of the beautiful Moresque and her old nurse found by D. Mendo de Paiva, in which is said if she pronouced seven (sete) “ais” it would originate her own death. This last seventh “ai” is said to be pronouced by the fear of dying in hands of the Moors that tried to take them from the protection of D. Mendo, he became the most ruthless Christian in Moors persecution. The place where the beautiful Moresque pronouced the seventh “ai” would then be called Sete Ais, better put, Seteais!

Well, but legends, and history apart, let’s come back to 2016 and talk about our experience in this wonderful Palace.

Seteais - 10First Impression
My true first impression was that from 16 years ago when I saw the palace for the first time, an imposing feeling, and haughtiness, a place of Kings and Queens that immediately transports us to an epoque of refinement.

This time, and given my history with the place, as soon as we entered the Palace complex I must confess my eyes filled with tears, I’m not the crying type, but in some moments it’s impossible not to!

It was a beautiful sunshiny day, shining directly above the majestic Arch uniting the two wings of the palace, enhancing even more the beauty of the neoclassical architecture of the building.

A nice employee was waiting for us at the entrance and readily accompanied us to the reception desk.

If we weren’t sure by then we were at a building from the XVIII century, we were by now. The classical decor inside the place is felt in every detail, from the rich furniture to the tapestries, through the paintings and frescoes along the walls and ceilings.

Seteais - 7An unmatched refinement that makes us travel through time, and paired with flawless service makes us believe we are ourselves, Kings and Queens.

After a quick and efficient check in we were accompanied to our bedroom while observing everything around us, high ceilings to support the most wonderful chandeliers and huge staircases where certainly many elegant women paraded along centuries, with beautiful dresses.

It’s impossible not to recreate, or imagine, the balls or parties in a Great Gatsby style that once were held in this place!

Seteais - 2Bedrooms
Passing to the bedrooms, they follow the same architectural and decorative line of the hotel. We stayed in the antique wing of the hotel (left wing) in the room number 3, very close to the reception, a huge door opened to welcome us and antecipate a memorable stay. The room key is still old and heavy (very heavy!) – we’re in a palace, there are no cards opening the doors! These details mean a lot, because they can recreate the past in the purest way.

We went in, I crossed the small hall and went to the bedroom, the green and pink tones of the walls, the bed and the tapestry made a perfect symbiosis with the light coming in from the huge window, showing the green of the garden and the blue of the ocean. The furniture is essentially of the styles D. MariaNeoclassical, Luís XVI, NeoRomantic and Imperial.

Seteais - 4The bed, extremely comfortable, was huge. The tapestry, Portuguese, repeats the patterns and tones of the walls, decorated with epoque illustrations. The floor is in the original wood and makes that typical noise of an old house, wonderful!

I went to the window and stood there a few seconds watching the garden, the blue of the pool and the infinite Atlantic Ocean. I just had the bathroom left to see, without delays I went around the room to meet my favorite division…simple but classical, with a Princess worthy bathtub! I was conquered right away!

Seteais - 6
Waiting for us in the bedroom were some regional sweets from Sintra and Port wine. The guests also have tea at their disposal.

Seteais - 1Quite positive note to the soundproofing capability of the door, that night when we went to sleep there was still some bustle in the downstairs floor, with the pianist still at service, we thought we wouldn’t be able to sleep, but when closing the giant door we stopped hearing any type of sound coming from the outside.

Seteais - 24Restaurants
The hotel has a Restaurant and a Bar.
The first one serves all the meals of the day, from breakfast to lunch and dinner. Here we had the chance to taste a vaste and delicious breakfast, disposed in a huge table, worthy of the king’s meals. The fruit variety is the most appealing aspect. An excellent way to start the day, in a beautiful room with chandeliers “falling from the sky” and frescoes welcoming us in the wall.

Seteais - 22

It was also here that we tasted an unsual lunch recreated (from the 30’s and 40’s decades) to accompany the excellent Colares’ wines within the Semana Histórica da Gastronomia e Vinhos de Colares.

The restaurant, of classical decoration and refined environment has also a beautiful terrace with a view to the Seteais, to the pool and to the ocean.

Seteais - 23
Right next to the restaurant we have the bar, with a wide range of cocktails, in an environment that becomes even more intimate in the evening with the presence of the pianist doing the honors.

Seteais - 26

Seteais - 20Services
Staying at the Palácio de Seteais is by itself a unique experience, a trip to the past, to the XVIII century and a constant discovery of history.

Get lost in the Reading Room, rest along the different rooms of this palace while observing the frescoes.

Seteais - 8
The pool is one of the highlights of this hotel, nicely located next to the gardens, with one of Sintra’s most beautiful views, the Ocean.

Seteais - 9One of my favorite places? The Gardens of Setais, for sure. Walking around in them is a unique sensation of contact with Nature but also with the past, imagining the different people who stood there before, the battles there fought, the love encounters in this garden…

Seteais - 16To the sports lovers, the hotel has a tennis court, and Golf Field access, being a quite relevant destination to the lovers of this last one.

To those in business trips, the Tivoli Palácio de Seteais offers a series of rooms or conference halls and events, with a service capable of assuring the most comfort and luxury possible.

Seteais - 14
To those wanting to organize a ball or a party, I assure you this palace is the right place – nothing can be more perfect than the celebration of a wedding in the entrance garden of the Palace. The scenario has as main witnesses the Palácio da Pena and the Castelo dos Mouros, seen in the background of the monumental mountain.

Besides, this hotel is one of the most looked for in Portugal for weddings, reason why they’ll perform some changes in the facilities to make those special dates even more memorable.

Seteais - 27Service
Sometimes, and unfortunately, the Service in the luxury sector in Portugal tends not to be positioned in an excellent level, but here was not that case, at all.

Excellence was present in each moment, from our arrival and the readiness and sympathy with which we were received, to our departure, with the presence of several elements of the team wishing us a good trip.

During our stay they made us feel accompanied at each second, nothing left to chance, not even the smiles I appreciate so much.

The employees were neatly arranged, with an elegant posture, to the encounter of the classic environment of the hotel.

Sympathy, elegance, and discretion are, maybe, the motto of this flawless service.

Seteais - 11There are places with the capability of making us feel special, making us realize dreams are nothing more than an infinite dimmension of possibilities that at a certain point can become real… there are places that transform cinderellas into true Princesses, making us believe that life can be an authentic fairytale!

And Tivoli Palácio de Seteais is that place, and much more!

Seteais - 18m

Guided by a level of excellence, it can recreate history and offer the refinement and luxury of another time, but so present in this true palace of the XVIII century.

An experience beyond memorable!

See you soon Palácio de Seteais

Tivoli Palácio de Seteais
Bedrooms from 185€
Rua Barbosa du Bocage, 8 – Sintra
+351 219 234 277

Versão Portuguesa

Text: Cíntia Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses

We were at Tivoli Palácio de Seteais by invitation, whereas this not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author. 

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