Hotel Casa Pamela It’s a gem of a hotel with so many amazing features that it’s hard to know where to start. A member of Small Luxury Hotels, this exquisite retreat can be found in the heart of the stunning Arrabida Natural Park, south of Lisbon and 10 minutes from Setubal, a charming coastal town with spectacular views of the Sado Estuary. In fact, it is the only five-star hotel in Portugal located inside a natural park.

Originally a 17th-century farmhouse, the property has been in the same family since 1826, opening in 2016 as a luxury hotel. And it retains a traditional family feel to this day, decorated with period furniture, photographs, paintings and sculptures. as well as the intricate tiles that symbolize Portugal’s artistic heritage and cultural identity.

The hotel grounds include 170 acres of vineyards and rolling forest hills that are protected land in the Arabida Natural Park. These include cork oak trees which are native to the Mediterranean and are an important part of the local ecosystem. For centuries, Portuguese ‘tridadores’ have harvested the bark of these trees sustainably, on roughly a 10-year cycle, promoting the longevity of trees that can actually live over 200 years.


A delayed flight and a broken bus at the Lisbon airport were not the perfect start to our trip to Portugal. Thankfully, Hotel Casa Pamela saved the day by arranging our 40-minute transfer from the airport, which was, by contrast, smooth and seamless. The 24-hour reception was an added bonus, ensuring our 1.30am arrival was no problem and we could check-in quickly and be well rested for the next day.

At that time of the morning we did not fully appreciate the two sculptures flanking the reception entrance, the impressive work of family member Maria Luisa de Sousa Holstein Beck, dating from the late 19th century.


We stayed in room 21 of the corner hotel in this historic building, with views of the tree-lined north below the hotel entrance and the vineyards to the west – perfect for watching the setting sun. Featuring a delightful blend of traditional decor and contemporary amenities, the rooms blend period charm with modern comforts.

Twin beds, adorned with floral headboards, ensure a restful night’s sleep, while central tables and chairs provide guests with space to dine or work comfortably. A modern fitted wardrobe complements the period chest of drawers, providing ample storage space.

Guests can enjoy rooms with air conditioning for the warmer months year-round, and Pur Line fireplaces provide warmth and ambiance for those chilly evenings out of season. Meanwhile, the ornate coach ornament on the mantelpiece nods to the intricate craftsmanship and artistic heritage of Portuguese coach-making.

Free WiFi throughout the hotel, a room service menu, a Delonghi coffee machine, plush bathrobes and slippers, a safe and complimentary bottled water (though the tap water is safe to drink), while laundry and ironing services also help ensure that. Hassle free investment.

Bath house

The en suite bathroom blends modern conveniences with classic elegance. Adorned with high-quality fixtures and a spacious layout, there is an ample supply of fluffy towels, a full-length mirror and a separate shaving mirror. Walk-in showers, enclosed with glass panels, offer both rainfall and handheld showerheads.

Premium ritual toiletries mean stepping into the shower with shampoo and shower gel provided with fresh eucalyptus and rosemary scents, while the hand basin is stocked with organic mandarin and mint soap and hand lotion.

Guests will also receive a Hotel Casa Pamela branded box that includes various amenities including a sewing kit, conditioner, shower cap, shoeshine sponge and vanity kit.


Guests can relax in the hotel’s bar and lounge, which is open from 11am to midnight.

For us, the hotel’s Zimbral restaurant – which boasts Portuguese, African and Asian cuisine – was a real highlight, with a relaxed and informal atmosphere complemented by exceptional cuisine.

Salmon tartare and partridge, foie gras and apple both made for excellent starters, first laced with guacamole and topped with delicate crostini.

The mains were equally delicious, and consisted of the most tender octopus, served with vegetables, green peppers and sweet potatoes.

The monk fish rice is also to die for.

Other dishes we can heartily recommend are the lamb rack with wild sea bass, roe and coriander and curry, plus don’t miss the delicious chocolate mousse with river mint for dessert!

The restaurant is not to be missed and at the same time combines exquisite flavors with a commitment to sustainability, as produce is sourced from the hotel’s own vegetable garden and local suppliers.

Apart from its culinary delights, the hotel also has a charming chapel on the first floor – a place of prayer that is open 24 hours a day.

Then there are also two outdoor pools and a spa.

The spa lives up to the mantra of “breathe in happiness, breathe out stress”, promoting slow wellness and offering an opportunity to be in harmony with nature surrounded by the Sierra d’Arbida. Apart from a range of massage treatments, you can also enjoy other activities such as pilates, yoga and stretching.

As part of the Once Upon a House Group, the hotel also enjoys the luxury of being able to organize activities through its own destination management company, Once Upon a Day (more on this in another post). For example, though the neighboring Quinta do Esteval estate, guests can ride horses, with experienced bilingual guides from Cavalos na Serra, in Arrabida, taking in the exquisite views as well as the unique aromas of the forests.


Enjoying a picturesque setting in the Arbida Natural Park, Hotel Casa Palmela finds itself in a privileged position among rolling hills and lush vineyards, where grape varieties include Syrah, Castelo and Touriga Nacional, the latter considered by many to be Portugal’s finest red grapes. is

As well as the vineyards, the estate covers a large area of ​​forest which is easy to explore via marked paths.

Arbida has breathtaking views of the mountains and a real sense of peace and solitude, making it the perfect place for relaxation and rejuvenation and an ideal environment for outdoor activities such as bird watching, horse riding and cycling.

Beyond its natural splendor, Hotel Casa Palmella is just a short drive from the historic town of Setubal, renowned for its rich cultural heritage. Guests can explore the town on foot and visit the historic 16th-century castle, Castelo de São Filipe. From Setúbal, you can take a ferry to Troia, known for its pristine beaches and archaeological sites from ancient Roman times.

Another nice touch

A stay at Hotel Casa Pamela is not without a range of thoughtful extras. Guests are invited to grab a complimentary drink at the bar on arrival, while we were greeted in our room with fresh juice, a warm welcome note and a basket of local farm produce. The evening turn-down service includes some sweet treats.

The hotel’s commitment to sustainability is evident in many ways, such as its use of renewable energy to heat water and the provision of electric vehicle charging points, reflecting its mindfulness of its location in the Arbida Natural Park.


Hotel Arabida rooms start at 182 euros per night in the off-season and 400 euros per night in the peak season, including breakfast.

The hotel’s only master suite, which includes a balcony, garden and Serra da Arabida view, is available from 455 euros off season if booked using their early booking offer through their website, and from 609 euros peak season on the same basis.

The best bit

While there are many positives to share about the hotel, the overriding feeling of truly being welcomed, which seemed so easy and natural for the most part, stood out for me. But make no mistake, every effort goes on behind the scenes to ensure that your stay is a memorable one, with no detail left out.

final judgment

I have the utmost respect for everyone involved in the management of Hotel Casa Pamela. Creating an environment that is so inviting and comfortable, and a hotel experience that is so impeccable, is no small feat. And it is nothing remarkable to make it all look so simple.

This is a shining example of what five star hospitality is all about. If we are worth visiting, whoever is lucky enough to stay here, will surely leave with fond memories and a lasting impression of unmatched excellence.

Disclosure: Our investment was sponsored by Hotel Casa Pamela.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is the editor of the Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for over 30 years. He is the winner of the Innovation in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ award from WIRED Magazine. The blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best luxury” by The Daily Telegraph, among other awards.

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