Experiences At Penha Longa Resort Near Sintra

A Ritz-Carlton Destination Experience

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So Many Enjoyable Experiences At Penha Longa Resort

We found such a variety of enjoyable experiences at Penha Longa Resort.

There were so many great restaurants around the property at the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort outside of Sintra in Portugal. One day we enjoyed a Gin Tasting session and another afternoon we relaxed with a tasty Afternoon Tea treat. We tried some local Portuguese wines.  But ran out of time to enjoy the Wine Tasting session offered by the resort.

With all of the eating we did, it was perfect that there was much to discover as we explored the property. We found many different paths to hike. Along the paths there were many interesting discoveries. And a tour of the former Monastery of São Jerónimo de Penha Longa provided a fascinating look into the history of this spot.

We sure loved our stay at the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort!

Tasty Food At The Many Restaurants Around The Property

The resort offered many different choices for dining around the resort. Even with a 6 day stay we ran out of time to check them all out.

Every day started with a wonderful breakfast selection at the Mercatto Restaurant. We were delighted with the variety of Portuguese treats we found on the buffet. And Nuno and his attentive team always had a surprise at our table!

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Lunch was available in several different venues. When we wanted a quick lunch, we got our favourite tapas and enjoyed the best octopus salad at the B Lounge. For something different one day, we visited the Arola Restaurant and got a great recommendation for a tapas selection.

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We visited the Penha Longa Resort on the weekend and could choose from two different buffet extravaganzas. We enjoyed the huge Italian buffet at Mercatto one night. And tried the new octopus carpaccio being introduced at by the chef. But we missed on the Asian buffet at Spices.

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One night we tasted our way through a great selection of Asian delicacies on the a la carte menu at Spices. While the buffet may have had more choice, we loved the chance to enjoy our Spices meal as we picked delicacies for several courses.

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We enjoyed so many great meals as we ate our way around the resort. Just one of the tasty and enjoyable experiences at Penha Longa Resort.

Book A Dinner In One Of Two Michelin Restaurants

We were very interested to discover that the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort had not one but two Michelin rated restaurants on site. Chef Sergi Arola is a Spanish chef who brought his culinary expertise to outstanding restaurants around the world.

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Midori was co-located in the same area as the Spices restaurant. This was the only Asian restaurant in Portugal with a Michelin rating. It offered a fascinating set of dishes with a unique mix of Portuguese and Japanese taste and style.

Chef Sergi Arola’s namesake restaurant was the Arola restaurant. The LAB Michelin Star Restaurant was co-located with Arola. This space offered only 22 seats and provided a view of the amazing glass-block wine cellar. The menu for LAB mixed Arola’s Mediterranean roots with local Portuguese ingredients.

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We had very busy days on our stay and never found the time to schedule a lovely slow dinner at either of the two Michelin restaurants. We know these would be extravagant and enjoyable experiences at Penha Longa Resort on a return visit.

Take A Break At Afternoon Tea

We loved to splurge on Afternoon Tea when we travelled. For our Afternoon Tea at Penha Longa Resort, we booked in advance and got a lovely spot by the fireplace.

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Of course we started by checking out the selection of sweet treats. They were displayed with cacao bean nibs so the chocoholic made sure there was chocolate on the tray.

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We then opened the special box and found the scones. The note on top told us the legend of “Pedpedo dos Ovos”. The tale said there was an enchanted treasure for anyone who could knock over the Penha Longa.  The Penha Longa was the “long rock” visible all around the resort. An old woman gathered a collection of eggs and threw them at the rock. But the rock never toppled. The yellow moss on the rock was said to be the remnants of the rock washed with eggs.  After reading this tale we planned a hike up to the Penha Longa!

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Afternoon Tea - Scones.jpg

Lastly we checked out the savoury treats and started our Afternoon Tea tasting there. I picked a lovely berry tea while David went with mint. My tea came in a custom tea bag. But David’s mint leaves brewed right in the pot.

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No Afternoon Tea was really complete unless we added a little bubbly. It was the perfect way to finish our relaxing Afternoon Tea. But for David, the real treat came when another box was delivered to the table. We opened it and found yet more of the custom chocolates created by the talented Chef Francisco Siopa and his team.

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We sure loved our Afternoon Tea as one of the indulgent and enjoyable experiences at Penha Longa Resort.

Gin Tasting Experiences At Penha Longa Resort

We got our first taste of some interesting gins when we stayed in the Hyde Park area in London. So when we learned that the Penha Longa Resort had about 150 different brands of gin, we knew we were in for a new gin treat. We settled in at the bar for our session with Fernando.

We were taken through the history of gin. The story started with the Bols gin. This had a very sharp taste and it was easy to understand why this was originally treated as a medicine.

From there we went on to a traditional gin and tonic with Gordon’s gin and Schweppes tonic water in a tall glass. Fernando then presented the same gin and tonic in a newer way with a balloon glass and some oranges for garnish. It was interesting that just that slight change took away some of the sharp citrus taste of the traditional gin and tonic.

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From this traditional start we moved to the new botanicals. Fernando made a drink with Brockmans gin and then added just a small amount of Mediterranean Fever Tree tonic water. This was garnished with two raspberries and a slice of orange. And I immediately knew I found a new favourite gin and tonic!

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Before we were done we tasted a few of the gins made in Portugal. We learned how little tonic water was needed for a perfect drink.

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A gin tasting session was one of the educational and enjoyable experiences at Penha Longa Resort that we really liked.

Taste The Local Wines Of Portugal

When we stayed at great resorts, we often enjoyed wine tasting sessions. Penha Longa offered a full wine tasting session with a charcuterie board. Sadly we never managed to book time for this treat. But as we enjoyed the different restaurants around the resort, we tried a few interesting Portuguese wines with our meals.

David always looked for sweet wines. At home in Canada, we collected a good variety of ice wines. So when he wanted something for after dinner, he was introduced to the Moscatel Roxo de Setubal. It was a good alternative to some of the port wines from Portugal we enjoyed on previous visits.

When we dined at Spices we wondered what a perfect pairing might be. On our trip to Japan, we did a sake tasting and knew Sake was a good option. We tried our first green wine (“Vinho Verde”) when we visited the Azores Island of Pico. But for our Spices dinner it was suggested we try a sweeter version of green wine (“Soalheiro 9% Alvarinho 2020”). And that sure turned out to be a good choice.

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We were sorry we missed the Portuguese wine tasting session. It was one of the enjoyable experiences at Penha Longa Resort that we would plan on a return visit.

Discover The Art Around The Property

As we wandered around the inside of the Penha Longa Resort, we found some very interesting art pieces. Much of the art was very modern and some pieces were quite unusual. All were all marked with a price and available for sale.

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Art - Adalia Alberto.jpg

In one spot by the boutiques we even found a fun display of designer fire extinguishers.

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When we wandered the halls, the art pieces added another of the enjoyable experiences at Penha Longa Resort.

Outdoor Experiences At Penha Longa Resort

Penha Longa was situated in the heart of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The resort property covered 220-hectarex and included 27 golf course holes. Around the property there were many different hiking paths. There were also bike paths for even more exercise.

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On one day we followed the path that took us up to the observation tower. We were fascinated with the trees that looked at first like they lost all their lower bark. But when we looked closely we discovered that they were in fact cork trees that were harvested.

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We were a bit surprised when the observation tower was a newer wooden structure. And not an old stone tower!

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There were ten historical monuments around the property. On our walk we stopped at the Nuncio’s Garden and looked around. And off in the distance we saw another ruin in the valley. It was always interesting when we came across new discoveries on our walk.

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The “Penha Longa” was visible from everywhere we walked on the resort. A path went up through the woods to the bottom of the rocks. Narrow paths went between the rocks. On the windy day we visited, the trees played a plaintive song. Close up we easily saw the yellow moss and recalled the story of “Pedpedo dos Ovos”.

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With all the great food we ate at the resort, we were glad there were lots of paths to hike. Definitely many great outdoor experiences at Penha Longa Resort.

Tour The Monastery of São Jerónimo de Penha Longa

The Penha Longa property was first developed in 1355 when the St. Jerome Order built a monastery. The monastery operated on the property for five centuries. When the monastery operated, various Kings and Princes often stayed for long periods. And in the 16th century, King Manuel built a weekend house on the property.

The monastery was ultimately sold to a private family. And when we toured we saw the tomb for the last family member buried in the church in 1966. There was always an interesting link between the monks of the monastery and the Japanese. So in the 1990s, a Japanese family purchased the property and began to restore it. The property was finally sold and turned into the lovely Penha Longa Resort.

Parts of the monastery buildings were destroyed over the years. But much has been re-built and the buildings inside and outside were fascinating to tour. Luckily we were the only guests when Maria took us around for 2 hours and put up with all of our questions!

We started outside in the Ladies Garden which was now used as a playground area for children. And then we moved down to several different green spaces. From the outside we saw the dome of the church and the courtyard areas.

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Wandering Inside The Monastery

We walked in through the archway and stopped to look at the colourful tiles. We saw the mixing of design styles immediately. The walls were decorated in beautiful Portuguese tiles in traditional blue, white and yellow. But the floor tiles were very different and of Arabic design. It was the first view we got of this Arabic design style that King Manuel did for his daughter who loved all things Moroccan.

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As we moved through the Monastery we were fascinated by the interesting mix of monastic simplicity and grandeur. But that was easily explained when we learned about how much time the royal family spent on the property. We moved through several “Sala” rooms that were used today to host large private gatherings.

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Maria was delighted when her favourite room was open and not in use. The Sala Arabe was the King’s library and was totally decorated in Moroccan style as a tribute to his daughter. Colourful tiles went up the walls and over the ceiling. We found delicate arches and colourful glass in the windows that were perfectly showcased by the sun when we visited.

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Our path took us around the open inner cloister. We saw four very typical Portuguese tile displays on the wall in blue and white. They were similar to what we saw in so many buildings on our Porto visit. These tiles represented the four seasons.

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Finishing Up At the Monastery Church

As we walked along, we looked up and often saw ceiling tiles that represented the emblem of the current Portuguese flag. And we knew we entered the religious area when we saw the angel tile on the ceiling.

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When we finally went into the church we found it much more decorative than we expected. But when local residents and the royal family were in residence they worshipped at the church. We wandered around and looked at the displays. Maria pointed out the statues of the disciples. But Judas was missing to punish him!

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Our tour around the Monastery was a unique and enjoyable experiences at Penha Longa Resort that provided an amazing historical look back.

Visit The Falcon Tower

From the front of the Penha Longa Resort we saw a tower. When we wandered over, the courtyard around the tower provided a loverly panoramic view over the golf course.

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The Falcon Tower had educational information on the outside walls of the tower.  When we went inside, we found a whole series of displays on the Dovecote and pigeons!

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A simple ladder was in the centre. But David soon learned it could not be climbed for a view from the top. The Falcon Tower was just one of the educational experiences at the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort.

Other Experiences At Penha Longa Resort

We had a very busy schedule for our 6 day stay and we did not get to try all the enjoyable experiences at Penha Longa Resort.

There were several pools around the property for a relaxing day.  If we were golfers, we surely would have had even less time. The golf course looked like a great spot to spend many days.

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There was a lovely spa on the property. But even after we walked almost 20,000 steps on our visit to the palaces of Sintra, we did not relax at the spa.

There was a large outdoor playground for children. And it even had a mini-putt course we wanted to try. And different children’s activities were scheduled around the resort.

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There were so many things to see and do on a stay.

So Many Enjoyable Experiences At Penha Longa Resort Near Sintra

We had many enjoyable experiences at Penha Longa Resort on our 6 day stay. It was a great way to start our return visit to Portugal. We could have spent several more days tasting our way around the resort. There were so many ways to get outside and enjoy the resort property. And many more hiking paths to explore.

We loved to leave a place wanting more. And that was certainly true on our stay at the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort.

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74 Comments

  1. Wow, this resort really is stunning and property grounds are amazing. I’m also in awe of the incredible food and beverages choices and venues for this gorgeous property, I would like to try them all some day!

  2. Your experience at the Penha Linga resort near Sintra looks so intriguing.The cute box of scones served with the tale of Pedpedo dos ovos is so fascinating. The afternoon tea treats along with mint tea is so tempting!
    And the gin and wine tasting experience is a bonus for sure . The art museum of Penha Longa with designer fire extinguishers is totally out this world! The outdoor garden area looks beautiful with the beautiful monastery displaying colorful stain glass work in the ceiling and the arches and columns.

  3. Penha Longa Resort is such an amazing. I specially like the art you can find in the place and that hiking trails are so close. That Gin tasting and wine experiences are something I wold like to try myself. Food, specially he Asian specialties, seems delicious.

  4. You can’t go wrong with a Ritz-Carlton can you and now this one is on my radar I want to visit! That afternoon tea looked lovely and as an English woman who is always in London with friends enjoying this treat I would love to experience a Portuguese one! The grounds look stunning and it seems there’s plenty to keep you entertained. Pinning for future reference.

  5. What a beautiful resort! I am a big fan of reading reviews for hotels and resorts. It helps so much when choosing a place to stay. Looks like this place had amazing foods topped with some Michelin restaurants. We are big foodies and always look up good restaurants where ever we go. This definitely made me hungry.

    • If you are big foodies then the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort is definitely a spot to put on your radar. There were so many amazing food and drink options.

  6. Wow, this whole post made me so hungry! I want to go there just to eat the sandwiches and then have tea. I am starving now. Looks incredible!

  7. Gin tasting then tea tasting. Wow those are two complete opposites lol. And then throw in the wine! Sounds like one heck of a place to stay. I’m in!

  8. Wow, this resort looks like a foodie paradise! I would especially love to enjoy the afternoon tea. The macarons looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing this incredible hotel!

  9. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a Ritz-Carlton hotel anywhere but this one looks amazing with both incredible food and beautiful surroundings. Loved some of the day trips and tours that you took as well. I think my favorite room in that monastery would also have been King’s library — what amazing architecture and beautiful arches!

  10. The Ritz Carlton Penha Longa Resort looks just fabulous! And the food must have been divine. I would love to try the Afternoon Tea. However I feel they should work on their Gin tasting. For what reasons ever, Gordons+Schweppes is too standard, I would say, :-). I guess you also visited the sights in Sintra? Looking forward to more Portugal posts!

    • We were glad that the gin tasting introduced us to some new ones in addition to the Gordons and Schweppes. This was a great base to explore Sintra. New Portugal posts coming!

  11. You had such beautiful holidays! Sintra is still on my bucket list. I was in Lisbon for a weekend, so next time I will go to Sintra. Staying at Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort seems a perfect idea. I like all those facilities you mention and tasting the food at many restaurants around the property. Especially The LAB Michelin Star Restaurant and Arola seem a fantastic culinary experience. I also like the surroundings and would like to see the Monastery.

    • We too were sad we missed Sintra on our first visits to Portugal. The Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort offered so many great reasons to stay on the property and enjoy the experiences. Great good and outdoor adventures too. Hard to leave the resort!

  12. ….and I thought Sintra was all about castles and culture – and now this! Everything looks fantastic, however, the octopus carpaccio takes the cake! It looks mysterious but in a very good way. Obviously, the way they arrange the food helps making you drool. I had very good food in Portugal, but nothing this fancy. Maybe I should focus less on culture and more on grub, after all 😉

    • The Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort was definitely the perfect spot to focus on food. We had so many great meals. And great food and drink experiences too. A great surprise on our visit for sure.

  13. I’ve never stayed at a Ritz-Carlton but this one certainly sounds like a lot of fun! There are so many activities. I’d love to check out the afternoon tea someday! Thanks for sharing.

    • This Ritz-Carlton had so many great activities for us to do. We really needed far more time than we had on one visit. A great stay at the Penha Longa Resort.

  14. I was only able to spend a day trip in Sintra, it was very rushed and not enough time. If I were to do it again, I would find an extra day and spend the night without hesitation. The Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort is a great recommendation. I love the location and grounds, including Monastery of São Jerónimo de Penha Longa. The food looks amazing and a Portuguese wine tasting is an added bonus.

    • We were glad we planned a longer stay in the Sintra area. But the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa had so many great experiences for us to enjoy that it was hard to leave the resort. But we did get to see the palaces of Sintra. A great treat for sure.

  15. All the food looks amazing! It’s so creative to put a special box and scones inside with a note about the legend of Penha Longa during your Afternoon Tea Time. Good things for the hiking trails to burn out all of those calories.

  16. This place is stunning and the food! Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort is where I want to stay when I visit Sintra.

    • I hope you do get to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort one day when you get to Portugal. I could not say enough good things about the great experiences.

  17. This resort looks amazing! Good for you for being so adventurous with food. I would love to try octopus Carpaccio, but am not sure if I’d really eat it!

    • There was so much great food to try. We had a favourite octopus carpaccio before we visited so we were delighted that the chef let us try a new menu item. A treat for sure.

  18. Wow fancy! I need to get started on Portugal research so no better time than the present! The natural areas and the monastery are right up my alley and I do love tea service!

  19. The Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort sounds like the perfect place to stay in Portugal. I would love it especially for the food experiences and the afternoon tea. Experiencing afternoon tea in new places is one of my favorite things to do too.

    • Afternoon Tea is a splurge we love to indulge in when we travel. Always love the show that goes with the tasty food and drink. Hopefully you can visit Penha Longa Resort one day. A real treat in Portugal.

  20. It looks like there’s lots of things to see and do. The gin tasting experience sounds like a good time, as does the afternoon tea! 🙂

  21. This brought back so many wonderful memories for me. I stayed here in ~2016 with my now ex-husband and really enjoyed the resort thoroughly. There was so much to do I didn’t get to avail myself of the all it has to offer. I vowed to return.
    Now that I am in the process of immigrating to Portugal I shall definitely return and use this as a guide. I can’t wait!

  22. I can see why you loved it! What a great recommendation! It offers all of my favourites – high tea, gin tasting, Italian buffet, and most of all Michelin star dining. You know when you stay at the Ritz what to expect, and this luxury stay is right up my alley! Not to mention the beautiful setting. It’s the perfect place to explore Sintra.

  23. Amazing resort. Any time you can have afternoon tea is wonderful, but especially at a Ritz Carlton. It’s not a meal, it’s an experience. Great photos.

  24. The food looks delicious but the hiking paths and the tour of the Monastery seem quite amazing. I love the architecture of the Monastery. It looks beautiful!

    • We were very surprised with the Monastery on our visit to Penha Longa Resort. It was great that it was restored and they have found a way to use it. So many amazing experiences on our stay.

  25. Wow! This is one amazing resort and one you want to spend several days at! I’d be in heaven with all the incredible food, afternoon tea, and wine tasting! That is nice that there are so many scenic places to go for a hike too!

    • We booked several days at the Penha Longa Resort and even with that we did not get to enjoy all the experiences the resort had to offer. But it sure was tasty fun!

  26. Penha Longa Resort seems to be excellent place where to stay. I love accommodation with good food and pool and it has both. The nearby sightseeing additional bonus! Thanks for detailed description and gorgeous pictures!

    • The Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort was an amazing place to stay. We were delighted with how many different things there were to see and do. We sure at our way around the property. Good thing there were lots of outdoor activities on the site and in nearby Sintra.

  27. Oh my goodness, what an amazing resort. We just stayed for the first time at a Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California, and now its going to be hard to stay anywhere else.

    • I totally understand what you mean. Ritz-Carlton knows how to deliver great customer service. We loved the amazing experiences we enjoyed at the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort.

  28. The gin tasting seems interesting. It isn’t something I would normally associate with Portugal, so it really stands out. It’s too bad you ran out of time for the wine tastings.

  29. So envious…what a great resort Penha Longa us! 2 Michelin restaurants, gin tasting, an Afternoon Tea, a monastery, a Falcon Tower, hiking, etc. Etc. My husband would live the golf courses. I would do the spa!

  30. Wow this is truly an incredible resort! I am in awe of all the options of things to do. You can definitely work off those delicious meals on the hiking trails too.

  31. Wow, I have never stayed at such a large resort with so much to do! It’s so neat that it used to be a monastery and that you can still tour the old buildings. I love when tours turn out to be private tours! The afternoon tea that you did sounds very lovely but I would definitely prefer the wine tasting over the gin tasting if I ever make it!

    • There was indeed so much to see and do at the Penha Longa Resort. It was a very busy … and tasty … stay. We sure did love the private tour of the Monastery. Definitely a spot we will re-visit.

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