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Amazing range of facilities just minutes from Lisbon

Oitavos Balcony view

Michelle Chenery reports on a visit to The Oitavos

The Oitavos is a 3-year-old, 5-star hotel complex located on Portugal’s Atlantic coastline, just 20 minutes drive from the centre of Lisbon and 30 minutes from the international airport. It is actually set within the Sintra Cascais National Park, so there is greenery as far as the eye can see, bordered by the coastline, the sand dunes and umbrella pines. The estate encompasses the Oitavos Dunes Golf course.

There is a total of 142 rooms, including 14 junior suites. These are spacious to the extent of 64sqm, but the Atlantico and Oitavos Suites are even double that size. Natural daylight is a key feature, with floor to ceiling windows, as well as private balconies offering views over the sea and the golf course.

All guestrooms are fully equipped with flat screen TVs, work area, minibar, iPod docking station, personal safe and high speed Wi-Fi.

With possibly the best located bath I have ever come across, right in front of one of the windows, I could lie back to make the most of the view, assured that I could see out but no one could see in. The minibar was stocked with some of the Champalimaud family’s own label Quinta wine, produced locally at Quinta do Côtto.

The sleek yet elegantly simple interior design gives the place a fresh and relaxed feel, and with no partition walls blocking off any of the ground floor, it's possible to see from one end of the hotel to the other. It is an open plan design that means that almost all of the ground floor can serve as a large events space.

Housed on the ground floor is the Ipsylon Restaurant and Bar able to cater for up to 140 banquet style. Serving a variety of food all day long, from tapas, salads and at night Le Diner du Chef is offered, a set tasty menu in which seafood is a key part of the experience, with matching wines.

My steak, served the traditional Portuguese way topped with a fried egg, was cooked to perfection. And then my dessert, impressive to behold, was a big ball of meringue with spikes, tasting delicious. It is possible to book the Chef's Table for up to six guests. Seated within the kitchen, they can see the chef hard at work preparing the dishes according to the guests’ individual tastes.

Other dining options include the Atlântico pool bar, an open-air poolside restaurant where everything is casual and relaxed. The Japanese bar, seating up to eight, allows guests to interact closely with the chef, where they are served a selection of Sushi, Sashimi, Unamaki and authentic Ceviche, made with the locally sourced catch of the day as well as à la carte dishes.

Located at the Clubhouse of the Oitavos Dunes golf course is Verbasco, where up to 190 can be seated for a banquet and 300 for a reception. It serves simple authentic food, making the most of locally sourced products.

The Oitavos has options for 18 function configurations that amount to 5,406 sqm. The largest, Les Herbes, can host 1100 delegates for a reception and 450 banquet style. Combining three of the rooms, an event can host 426 theatre style. All meeting rooms have natural daylight and the latest AV equipment.

The Oitavos Dunes golf course, opened in 2001, is recognised as one of the world’s finest natural links courses. It was also the first in Europe and the second in the world to be honoured as a Certified Gold Signature Sanctuary, a conservation award granted by the Audubon International organisation.

Fortunately for me, there were golf professionals on hand to help us with our game. Other facilities include a horse riding centre, which can organise treks through the surrounding sand dunes, a health centre and a racket centre.

There are also bikes for hire, a great way to explore the area. Even a 10-minute ride will get you to Guincho beach, popular for surfing and windsurfing, with numerous international competitions held there. The hotel, last year introduced bespoke surfing lessons by Ruben Gomez, a leading Pro-surfer in Portugal and four times National Champion. Whether guests are hoping to catch their first wave, or brush up on technique, he’s there to help.

The hotel’s Spa features panoramic windows admitting so much natural light that the lines are blurred between being inside and being outdoors. With a total of ten treatment rooms, eight with natural light, and an indoor seawater pool, it provides a completely natural approach to well-being, combining sea water therapy with a host of organic and ocean-inspired treatments.

I opted for the sea salt scrub, and it is exactly what you would imagine. I was dowsed in water and then sea salt was applied and rubbed in. After a quick rinse, one of the Voya massage oils was applied, I felt remarkably relaxed and refreshed after the experience. My skin was smooth and I was positively glowing. There is also a fully equipped gym, as well an outdoor seawater pool.

Within a 10-minute radius, you can be in either Cascais or in Sintra, exploring everything that these towns have to offer - from the Palace of Pena, enclosed within the UNESCO world heritage site, to the modern Marina in Cascais.

No matter what organisers or their delegates most enjoy, The Oitavos should be able to provide it.

For more images of the Oitvaos and surrounding area visit our Oitavos Facebook album

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