Portugal is known to be a touristic destination mainly in summer. Yet, I decided to fly over there last December. In my opinion a perfect choice. In Germany, the weather was horrible, in Portugal I enjoyed 20 degrees Celsius. But there was something else that made my time memorable: The Grande Real Villa Italia.
After I was asked by my girlfriend about ten times and by friends like a hundred times: The Grande Villa Italia is in Portugal, NOT IN ITALY! The hotel is located in the little city Cascais, which is known to be the retreat for everyone who is working hard in the capital of Portugal, Lisbon.
To get there, you may take the train from Lisbon (it’s pretty convenient), but you should definitely take a taxi when arriving at the train station. Otherwise you’ll make the same mistake as I and decide to walk the “short way” which appeared to be close to two kilometers (the Villa Italia is rarely located in the city center).
When I arrived at the hotel, I was granted a nice upgrade to a so-called “Sea View Retreat”. The room was not too big but it was beautifully appointed and really comfortable.
I did feel like the room itself was nothing too special but I did understand why it is one of the best rooms the hotel has to offer (there are suites as well and they may be way bigger).
I stepped out of the room onto the big balcony and was fascinated. And with fascinated I mean fascinated! It was just beautiful, so my brain told me to not ever leave this balcony again.
The good experience in the room went on just minutes later when I was served a lovely welcome treatment. I’m used to fruits, chocolate, wine, champagne and water (all of this is nice but kind of boring after you’ve received it for a million times) but what I was offered at Grande Real Villa Italia was completely different.
They brought me a choice of cheese and other cold cuts, served with a lovely Portuguese wine. Sitting on the balcony with that welcome treatment was a real dream. I think I will never forget this, just because it was a perfect moment.
Grande Real Villa Italia is known for its Leading SPA (an award only few hotels got) and offers a huge area consisting of a Thalasso Pool as well as a sauna, a steam bath and many loungers. There are several massages offered as well but as I am nobody who really needs that, I didn’t take the offer. The inside area of the SPA is nice but in my opinion nothing special.
I really missed an indoor pool where I may really swim. In winter times you can’t use the outdoor pool (you can but it is as cold as 18 degrees Celsius) but in summer it must be a real joy (the pool is big and there are several loungers around). Sadly, the fitness room is located in the basement, so it’s no real fun to work out there (instead you should go a run alongside the coast).
After the awesome welcome treatment I was really looking forward to having dinner at the restaurant. This one was really memorable. The seating was very good as you had the chance to overlook the pool as well as the sea. The service was even better as the waiters were not only paying attention every second but were very kind and very well trained. The only thing to beat the level of service was the food itself.
Everything from the starters to the desserts tasted amazing. As a farewell we were offered some Portuguese port for free. What a lovely end for a perfect evening. Sadly, the breakfast did not step up to this level. It is served in the ground floor and offers no nice view. It is dark, the service was bad and the food was nothing special. I better do not lose any more words about this.
Last December was the first time I was in Portugal and I instantly decided to come back next winter. The climate, the nice people and everything else was amazing. The Grande Real Villa Italia is already booked for Christmas (we are celebrating there with the whole family!), so you see that I really liked the hotel. It may be the fact that it was not any crowded due to low season but it was a perfect holiday (if you forget about the breakfast). Keep an eye on our blog to read my next review about this hotel in January when we are back from Portugal (this time with more pictures made by myself, I promise!)