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“a unique experience”

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Fortaleza do Guincho
Ranked #6 of 39 Hotels in Cascais
Certificate of Excellence
Newbury, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
120 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“a unique experience”
Reviewed October 16, 2012

It is rare that one gets to stay at such an impressive location with the waves of the Atlantic crashing onto the beach nearby and the hills of Sintra looming in the distance. But when the hotel itself is a marvellously refurbished old fort, tastefully and expensively decorated then it is hard to fault it.

Yes, as some have said the rooms are not huge and may be a little dark but there are so many other positive things to say about the rooms including the whirlepool bath.

We could not eat in the hotel that night as they were already booked (grrrr) so we ate at a nearby seafood restaurant and had a wonderful meal there instead. So if your plan is to eat at the hotel it might be wise to let them know in advance.

The only slight negative was that we found some of the staff a little aloof. Considering that everywhere else we stayed in Portugal we had marvellously friendly and attentive service it let the overall experience down somewhat.

However overall I recommend a stay here as it is quite unique.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank davesurrey9999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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536 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (78)
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Egham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
708 reviews
175 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 416 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2012

The problems started when we made our booking. We had thought that we had booked through the official hotel web site. However, a few days before we were due to travel we received a mail from the travel agent that hosted the web site. They had unfortunately got into financial difficulties and the hotel was no longer honouring bookings made.

This was very unfortunate as we had already booked flight and car hire as we were celebrating our 25th wedding that weekend. We were contacted by the Sales and Marketing Director and offered the possibility of rebooking and repaying for our accommodation. As a special offer we were offered a room rate that was €3 per night cheaper than the online rate. However, it was explained to us that we would be taken care of and that we would get a suite to celebrate our special weekend. Reluctantly we decided to rebook as we had no time to research another hotel.

When we arrived we found the front desk staff very disinterested. We were shown to our room which was small, dark and furnished with large antique items. This left little room for anything else. There was a small sun room which we used to store a suitcase as there was no room in the bedroom. The bedroom was also very dark with little lighting so the effect was of being in a poorly lit cave.

The room provided little storage space and a very old and complicated safe. The bathroom was awful. The bath/shower was very dangerous to enter or leave and the bath was so small that I couldn’t even sit in it.

The hotel claims to be 5 star but apart from the restaurant I saw nothing 5 star. No pool, no spa and no real facilities of any sort for guests. Maybe a 3 star hotel with a 5 star restaurant and genius chef?

We had dinner on our first night but I will review this separately as the quality of the restaurant and food vs the hotel are so very different.

I have to say breakfast was a little strange. Lots of staff but mostly standing around and not engaged with the guests. Getting a second coffee was a challenge. Eggs and ham turned out to be two eggs dressed with minute slivers of ham – what is wrong with a slice of ham?

On the second night we were phoned in our room and told that we didn’t have a booking and to come to reception immediately. When we got there the “gentleman” who wanted to speak to us was on the phone and waved us away. When he had finished I tried to show him the email from the Sales and Marketing Director but he told us we were dismissed! I have never been treated so badly by hotel staff in my 30+ years of travelling the world.

When using internet in the lobby one night (doesn’t work in the bedrooms) I overheard 2 staff members laughing at a mail that had just come in from a future guest making an enquiry – not professional.

It appeared that the Sales & Marketing Director, who was away, had not told anyone about the arrangements that she had made on our behalf so our special weekend was quite spoilt.

We have since been offered another weekend to “show how we should have been treated” but quite frankly I will never return to this hotel but our weekend was completely spoiled by the failures of the hotel and the attitude of the staff. I will return to Guincho as we have holidayed there many times before – just at better hotels than here.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank AFrequentTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed October 1, 2012

This hotel is situated right on the beach and in the waves. It is historic and the rooms are in character. We only stayed one night but you feel special here and we did not want to leave. The breakfast was excellent as was the restaurant for dinner. We had an excellent meal and service there. The only problem was no internet in the room only at reception, which is difficult when you need to work. It is only a small hotel with no sauna or pool, but the location and feel of the place made it well worth a trip.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Nice20a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
187 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2012

If you want to relax at a beautiful setting, but also be close to a few great towns this is a great location. The service was exceptional, great breakfast every morning. We explored nearby Cascais and Sintra but enjoyed relaxing at the beach and watching surfers. Rooms are comfortable and quiet location.

Room Tip: Request sea view
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank vtpsu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2012

We were met courteously at Reception and shown to our suite, which had wonderful views of the ocean - on two sides. There was an enclosed balcony with a chaise longue and windows which opened wide, in addition to the main windows. The bed was huge (large enough for four) and very comfortable, so a good sleep was ensured, especially with the constant sound of the surf as a background. I didn't like the small spa bath, but everything else was fine and service excellent - daily deliveries of fruit, port and individually-boxed truffles were a nice touch.

Breakfast was taken in the restaurant, where the staff cruised around in the manner of Jeeves. It was a help-yourself buffet and fine to give a start to the day. Dinner was different and for serious foodies. There was the same unobtrusive service - and a master sommelier showing his skills - but the food was far from casual. This was serious sourcing, cooking and presentation and the whole experience was a delight.

P.S. If you like minimalist design and expect a pool and sun loungers don't go to the Fortaleza do Guincho - even a cursory search of the hotel website reveals that is not its style.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank MisterCollins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level 6 Contributor
300 reviews
297 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 319 helpful votes
Reviewed September 25, 2012

The Fortaleza is a unique hotel – a pretend fort on a promontory between two splendid surfing beaches (not recommended for casual sunbathers), a view of the Cabo da Roca and the Atlantic thundering nearby. The design is eclectic with an exotic feel and was far too complex for our minimalist taste.

For a five star resort hotel, the facilities are inadequate - no pool, no sun loungers, practically no outdoor space. The restaurant is excellent, one of Portugal’s best, and we much enjoyed dinner there.

Our room was small and poorly lit, with a heavy oriental furnishings and decor. The bathroom was tiny (we had one twice as large in a nearby three star hotel) and offered the most complicated bath/shower/whirlpool/steam bath combo we have ever seen and one far too complicated to master in only two nights (but we did manage to get the shower to work).

The staff were pleasant and helpful. There is free but complicated WiFi available in the public areas.

Some will find the Fortaleza's unique quirkiness attractive but it wasn’t to our taste (apart from the excellent food).

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank globaltraveller200
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, North Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed September 20, 2012

We hiked for 8 miles to reach this oasis .The hotel is impressive; the view is outstanding; and the food is to die for.It is an experience that the six of us will long remember.The staff is very helpful and the dining was a culinary experience. Our waiter made the evening a perfect one.

Room Tip: Go for a room with an ocean view
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Reidduse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fortaleza do Guincho

Property: Fortaleza do Guincho
Address: Estrada do Guincho, Cascais 2750-642, Portugal
Location: Portugal > Central Portugal > Lisbon District > Cascais
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Cascais
#6 Luxury Hotel in Cascais
#6 Family Hotel in Cascais
#7 Business Hotel in Cascais
#7 Romantic Hotel in Cascais
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Fortaleza do Guincho 5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Leaning over the Atlantic Ocean, the Fortaleza do Guincho welcomes a charming five star boutique hotel - integrated into in the prestigious Relais & Chateaux association - with a range of services that focus on the well being and peacefulness of the customers. The Hotel's restaurant, awarded with a Michelin Star, offers an unforgettable dining experience of Portuguese cuisine, made from the finest national products. The Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho has a warm and personalized service, making it the ideal place for a family holiday, board meetings or the perfect refuge for a romantic getaway. It has the perfect conditions for company meetings, special parties and events or banquets. Located just seven kilometers from the town of Cascais and 30 kilometers from Lisbon and the International Airport, the cultural and leisure offer in the region is rich and full of varieties. Along the cost line you will find Sintra and its magnificent monuments and natural landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For sea lovers abound beaches along the coast and all kinds of water sports and outdoor activities . The Hotel is surrounded by the best golf courses, while the Estoril Casino, the largest in Europe, is just a few minutes away. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fortaleza Do Guincho Cascais
Fortaleza Do Guincho Hotel Cascais

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