This our review of the new InterContinental hotel in Estoril, Portugal.
Being the only hotel in Estoril set right at the ocean front, this new InterContinental hotel – which opened its doors in September 2015 – promises to become a popular destination, and not only in Summer. An easy taxi or train ride from Lisbon, it is a new option if you are looking for an upmarket short break where you can spend your IHG Rewards Club points or earn some credit towards the new Accelerate promotion.
I (Anika) flew out to Portugal to find out whether Estoril is a ‘must visit’ destination for the summer. Here is Part 1 of my review – Part 2 also appears today.
IHG provided Head for Points with two free nights to have a look at this new addition to the InterContinental family. We paid for all our expenses including flights.
Estoril is a small town on the Portuguese Riviera about 30-40 minutes from Lisbon. It is in walking distance to Cascais, a former fishing village with lots of restaurants, bars and shops. The InterContinental Estoril sits right at the Atlantic ocean.
The exterior of the InterContinental Estoril gives the impression of a huge hotel with a vast number of rooms. However most of the building is actually residential. Only the first three floors are part of the hotel and accommodate just 59 rooms in total of which two are suites.
As the building is set on a hill, the reception area is on the ground floor coming from the street but on the third floor looking out at the ocean.
We (I took a friend with me this time) flew into Lisbon Airport, took a bus towards the city center and got off at Rossio to have a quick stroll through Lisbon before continuing to the hotel. The airport bus would have taken us to Cais do Sodré railway station where you can get a train that stops right outside the hotel (Monte do Estoril) which costs about €2.15 per adult and takes 40 minutes.
We ended up not walking all the way to the railway station but taking a taxi from Cais das Colunas to the hotel for €27. A taxi from the airport to the hotel would have been a €65 fixed price which is a little bit ridiculous as our taxi from the hotel back to the airport was only €38 with light traffic.
From the moment I walked through the doors I felt like I was on holiday. The reception area was a bright and open space with sitting areas and an open balcony at the rear of the hotel facing the ocean. We sat down, got a welcome drink and immediately felt relaxed after our travel. It’s also worth mentioning that everyone was super friendly and attentive to a high standard.
The rooms are split between ‘garden’ and ‘ocean’ view. We were on the ‘ocean’ side.
To be honest the room wasn’t the biggest and especially with two people staying it got a bit cramped at times. Nevertheless this was the only downside. It had two comfortable large single beds, lots of wardrobe space and pretty much the all the important things I want from a hotel room (except proper coffee!).
We were welcomed with sweets, fruits and water.
Here is another picture to show the size of the wardrobe.
The desk was a good size for working, had sockets (including European and USB) on top of it and drawers for storage – handy during a longer stay at the hotel. There was literally no space between chair and bed which made it a bit difficult for my friend to get from the room to the balcony and back whilst I was working.
This was the hallway in the room. At the end to the right was the door, opposite the door another wardrobe with ironing board, hair dryer and safe and next to it the bathroom.
The mini bar had soft drinks and two beers and was included in the room rate, which is a nice touch. There was a kettle (all the English shout YAY!), tea and INSTANT COFFEE!!!???
The bathroom was functional but a bit too small for two people.
To the left was the shower (shower head and rainfall) which was a good size. Unfortunately the towel rail in this picture was the only one to be found, which made it not easy to dry all the towels. The sink was decent and there was storage space underneath it for washbags. I probably don’t need to say too much about the toiletries as they were the standard InterContinental ones.
To the right was the toilet with a large door that opened to the inside of the bathroom. My friend caught her toe twice whilst opening the door.
Our room was facing the ocean and had a balcony to properly enjoy the view. When we arrived our balcony did not have any chairs, but it only took a quick call and 5 minutes waiting until that problem was solved.
Our room was decent and ok for a weekend stay. However if I had stayed there for longer, a room slightly larger would have been appreciated.
What about the other room types?
For comparison reasons I asked to see some of the other rooms at the InterContinental Estoril.
Our room was the same category as this room, however as ours was a corner room, it was slightly smaller. As you can see in this picture the room doesn’t differ in style from our room, but noticeably different in size. Even though it was just about 1m wider it really made a difference. Unlike our room this one had a larger sized bathroom with bathtub, two sinks and more space to move around.
The InterContinental Estoril only has two suites. They come with a huge bathroom with round bathtub, two sinks and shower with massage function. The door can be shut completely or opened to the side allows ocean view whilst taking a bath. There is a balcony which can be accessed from the bedroom or the separate living room area.
It is also possible to book one or two additional rooms which can be accessed via connecting doors (handy if you have more than two children and/or a nanny).
My thoughts … part 1
InterContinental did not have a hand in the design of the hotel building and had to work with the existing layout of the rooms. Keeping that in mind they did a great job.
In Part 2 of of our InterContinental Estoril review I look at the pool, gym, breakfast and beach.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)