Room Service: Lawrence'S Hote

Sintra, Portugal
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The Independent Travel

It only lasted 10 days, but Byron's Sintra sojourn left an indelible mark on this village buried in the lush hills west of Lisbon. Vice versa held true too, as Byron was immediately entranced by the romantic mood of its climate, nature and palatial extravaganzas, writing that the village "is, perhaps in every respect, the most delightful in Europe... Palaces and gardens rising in the midst of rocks, cataracts and precipices, convents on stupendous heights, a distant view of the sea and the Tagus."

It only lasted 10 days, but Byron's Sintra sojourn left an indelible mark on this village buried in the lush hills west of Lisbon. Vice versa held true too, as Byron was immediately entranced by the romantic mood of its climate, nature and palatial extravaganzas, writing that the village "is, perhaps in every respect, the most delightful in Europe... Palaces and gardens rising in the midst of rocks, cataracts and precipices, convents on stupendous heights, a distant view of the sea and the Tagus."

Go there today and his words still hold true. And if you book in at Lawrence's, you'll lay your head at the self-same inn where he stayed in 1809.

The hotel was bought in 1989 by a young Dutch couple, Jan and Coreen Bos, who oversaw radical renovation. Ten years later, it re-opened in much refreshed form, at the same time reverting to its original name. White-washed corridors and stairs wind through the extended building, leading to terraces overlooking a luxuriant gorge or to a cosy wood-panelled sitting-room where a fire blazes on cold nights.

Location, location, location

Lawrence's Hotel is at Rua Consiglièri Pedroso 38-40, Vila de Sintra, 2710-550 Sintra, Portugal (00 351 21 910 5500, lawrence's@ mail.telepac.pt).

Transport: a five-minute taxi-ride reaches Sintra's station where frequent trains cover the 45-minute trip into central Lisbon, from where a bus or taxi to the airport takes about 20 minutes.

Are you lying comfortably?

There are 11 rooms and five suites, each furnished differently. You may find yourself in a four-poster, with a private terrace shaded by fragrant pine trees, with a whirlpool bath or open fireplace. Then there is the room with a view, high up under the tiled roof with a window opening on to the panorama of the village below – spectacular when the nocturnal lights are joined by the perfumes of Sintra's semi-tropical vegetation. Polished wooden floors and vases of wild flowers maintain the Mediterranean village style.

Breakfast is a feast of freshly made products. The lunch and dinner menu changes daily – though often includes local wild boar and salt cod.

Keeping in touch: direct-dial phone, satellite TV.

The bottom line

Doubles cost from €130 (£86) per night in low season, €220 (£146) in high season, suites from €280 (£185) low season, €325 (£216) high season.

I'm not paying that: Casa de Hospedes Quinta das Murtas, Rua Eduardo Vanzeller 4, Sintra, 2710-593 Sintra (00 351 21 924 0246 www.quinta-das-murtas.com) has doubles from €50 (£33).

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