Treat yourself you deserve it: an escape in Cascais, Portugal
In our Best Cities for Nomads Entrepreneurs monthly series, we feature locations that would be perfect for Digital Nomads and Entrepreneurs, because of their dynamism and startups friendly schemes. This month, our guest post is by Edward, a travel addict who runs Parfums Luxury Travel and whom I met during my stay in Lisbon.
Our post is for all nomads and entrepreneurs working from Lisbon, needing a little luxury escape from the daily stress.
SALTWATER AND SUNSHINE
Traveling isn’t just about experiencing new things, it’s about shaping your mindset and vision of life.
It’s no surprise that a nomad loves to travel. Maybe you’re a pilot or an air hostess, hopping to and from cosmopolitan cities like London, NYC, Singapore or Dubai, or maybe you have your own business with the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. Whatever the context, nomads live a life on the go, unable to stay at home when they can be traveling, and always contemplating their next destination.
Receive the best welcome in hotels designed to give guests indulgent memories to reminisce. Visit places of pure luxury and unashamedly VIP, as well as informal guesthouses in stylish surroundings with an easygoing atmosphere. Be transported to the most beautiful islands light-years away from the bustle of the city.
Nomads purposely go off the beaten path, not afraid to go where locals have never seen a foreigner and encounter stares in a way as if Shrek entered their village. That can be odd at first, yet the feeling of having discovered a hidden gem makes up for it tremendously. It is at times like these when the realization sinks in about what makes an experience truly extraordinary for frequent travelers because they’re no longer wowed by the amenities of top resorts.
Remember Kate Winslet’s character, Rose, who saw the Titanic for the first time? All of her friends were in awe of the ship and raved about it, while to her it was nothing special. She personifies the significantly increasing group of people looking to get more out of travel than an ordinary trip to the beach.
One place in Lisbon that understands this growing need is undoubtedly the Farol Hotel, a member of Design Hotels. This unique five-star designer retreat of glamorous Cascais is situated on the coast in the stunning art district, only a five minute walk to the marina, restaurants and bars, and the famous rocky viewpoint, Boca do Inferno overlooking the mouth of Tagus River into the Atlantic Ocean. It feels far enough from the downtown hustle for privacy and seclusion yet centrally located to conveniently explore the local scene.
In Portuguese, farol means lighthouse and the Farol Hotel is a beautifully renovated 19th century white mansion next to the historical Santa Marta Lighthouse on the site of a 17th century fort. Of all the hotels in Portugal, it’s a top recommendation for travelers seeking a special place with a memorable stay. The Farol welcomes guests with a manicured garden adorned with eccentric statues that lead to a lobby of artistic sophistication and a natural terrace with a spectacular waterfront view.
The Farol’s art director sources a resident artist to design it full of visual pleasure. Stunning chandeliers by Marcel Wanders sparkle prisms from the ceilings upon the entire ground floor; accompanied with magnificent paintings by contemporary artist Diogo Navarro splashing color, his work like an eternal choreography showcasing the lightness of an imagined music felt in diaphanous bodies. All are pure and romantic with a vigor of desire and the feelings echo at the hotel´s backdrop with the sound of waves breaking on the sea wall making it a perfect engagement.
‘’We believe that hospitality as a hotelier is an art. We see it as an emotional way to connect with our guests. That is why we bring in artists.” said the sales director, Teresa Saramago.
The Farol oozes style, class, discreet glamour and individuality. With only 33 rooms including four junior suites, it’s secluded and relaxing. It exemplifies luxury combined with a seaside getaway.
All accommodations were created by leading Portuguese designers such as Ana Salazar and Fatima Lopes, and named accordingly. The Ana Salazar suite is all white with a floor-to-ceiling sea view like that from a sexy scene of a James Bond movie ; another suite has a boudoir feel laced with red and black plus an oceanfront view from its private terrace. From there, to enjoy a warm day as a gentle breeze graces your face while watching the sunset glisten on the water is a true delight.
The bliss goes a step further outside the bedrooms and into The Mix, the Farol’s place of culinary pleasures where the unspoiled views of the ocean continue. While the winter season may not be the typical time of the year to visit, the few lucky souls who do are rewarded by seeing the ocean come to life while dining. The fare is a creative and inspiring fusion of the best of Mediterranean cuisine.
The eyes cannot resist nature’s dance on the horizon. The sea has lively vibrations. The scent of the saltwater enriching and therapeutic.
When creating the menus, The Mix’s Executive Chef, Hugo Silva is inspired by ingredients from the sea, recipes from his mother and grandmother, and dishes by the famous French chefs with whom he trained. His Mediterranean flair in the kitchen is a mix of Portugal, Italy and Spain, and a twist from Morocco and Tunisia.
Silva keeps his dishes simple, what he calls ‘’true food’’ with a fusion of flavors and, of course the freshest ingredients. When he travels to Brazil or India, he always returns with spices to blend tradition with innovation. A dish that demonstrates this is the Carpaccio de bacalhau guarnecido com húmus, or codfish carpaccio with hummus while codfish is a tradition in Portugal, carpaccio is Italian, and hummus is an ancient food from the Middle East and North Africa.
Premium quality produce is seasonal, hence The Mix’s ever-changing menu that includes the most carefully selected ingredients. The vegetables are from markets sourced by local farms, the fish is always fresh, caught straight from the sea, and the meat is from Alentejo, the south-central region of Portugal. There are exceptions such as the Magret de pato braseado for which the duck is imported from France.
A bite of the chef’s pork dish is so sublime it’d nearly convert a vegetarian into a carnivore.
‘’Each time when someone walks in, we need to show them something new, yet the quality of the food needs to be consistent. We have new dishes and use different products all the time, and [we] really want to be the best restaurant in this region,’’ said Silva.
The Mix’s main goal is ensuring that customers are happy with every ingredient entertaining their taste buds. That is success for Chef Hugo Silva.
Situated among the riches of Lisbon, the Farol Hotel attracts a crowd of tourists and expats alike. With its unique location, appeal and flavor, its design is special yet subtle in an Amélie Poulain kind of way. Every day the seamless stay can be catered for guests, whether it’s the ocean view upon opening the eyes at sunrise to enjoying dinner in a private area along the shore.
The Farol has an overall ocean theme with life-sized pelican artwork and other one-off pieces spread throughout. The guests feel the personalized style each time the staff addresses them by their name. While the hotel combines a mixture of contemporary design with influences of old Portuguese aristocracy, it all coordinates as a fine setting that was invested in creating a space where the well-being of guests is priority.
‘’We want to design an amazing experience for every guest. Whether they come in only for lunch, or for a longer stay, we want every visit to be something special. This is only possible with staff who are dedicated to this mission. We have a strong connection with the guests and always try to do something different,’’ said Saramago.
Finding the Farol is like finding a pearl among a sea of uninspiring accommodations where one leaves feeling as if having escaped reality, rejuvenated and refreshed. It goes beyond the traditional five-star hotel. Meanwhile, the warm city buzz of Lisbon goes on.
Most nomads love the possibility to meet a wide variety of people, the excitement of exploring the unknown paths, the lights. We cannot imagine that travelling will ever bore us. When we go home it isn’t the same anymore as frequent travelling makes us less attached to one place.
We nomads can attempt to fit in with the locals, learn their language, and enjoy their food. We make new friends and try to adapt to the culture, and after a while we can even feel like we belong, but never are we fully integrated because a few months later the next destination calls out for us. Our friends are dotted around the globe, and if we give it a spin and randomly point our finger on a spot, the chances are high that we know someone there or at least once experienced something of the local scene.
So do we regret anything, world travelers? No, we do not. However, at times when we walk back to our hotel at night and see couples hand-in-hand on the way home, something cripples inside because wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to share our nomad life, maybe even a soulmate.
Coincidental events in life can make us consider ourselves very lucky to be a nomad, yet it has its downsides. On our journey, we shape our mind and vision toward life. We learn to appreciate, to adapt, to bite through tough times, and to enjoy and smile. We connect with people and share our values.
One individual is likely to go unnoticed in a city of millions, yet a group of dedicated people, no matter how small, sharing the same vision, can do great things, and the ripples we make may go on further than any of us could imagine.
I hope this post triggered an envy for a luxurious break, we all need it sometimes. I went to the Farol hotel couple of times during my stay in Lisbon, and I can vouch for its fantastic experience. Go on, treat yourself, you deserve it! ;)
This article was originally written in cooperation with the Farol Hotel. All images are theirs and used with permission.
This article was originally published on digitalnomadsmedia.com on March 15 — Find more about Edward and the Farol Hotel in the full article