Águamel Boutique Guest House in Sintra opened last year and is the brainchild of PR veteran Cristina Valente who created a five bedroomed guest house stretching over three floors, nestled among winding lanes and an abundance of flowers only seen in hot European countries. Sintra is romantic and so is the guest house; the décor and daily cakes make it a casual setting for a few days away and as it’s close to the Natural History Museum, National Palace and Quinta da Regaleira with other sights a short drive away, it is the perfect place to be based while exploring Sintra.
The five bedrooms are all named after flowers chosen by bees to produce honey and all individually designed. Think Zara Home meets Anthropologie with modern comforts, local antiques and a bit of Portuguese flavour. I stayed in Jasmine which had a slanted ceiling, calming grey wallpaper, plenty of floor space and a great view over the historical town.
There are no mini bars in the rooms but there is an honesty fridge in the kitchen which I love as one of the downfalls of travelling is not having your own cupboards and food when you get hungry. Guests can help themselves to beer, wine, water, as well as some food items and tell staff on check out. Alternatively guests can also buy food and wine themselves to keep in the fridge for when they fancy a snack or drink. I’ve heard of honesty bars before but never an honesty fridge and I absolutely love the idea, it’s definitely something more hotels and guest houses should look at having.
Breakfast is served daily and consists of all the glorious regulars that come with a continental breakfast. Each day I wolfed into cereal, ham rolls, pastries and freshly made juice.
The hotel doesn’t normally provide lunch or dinner but if guests ask then the staff are more than happy to oblige and if guests get the quality and quantity of food we got for lunch one day they’re in for a treat. On arrival Laura and I were offered a light lunch consisting of cold meats, a selection of cheese, fish, bread and the most creative and delicious salad I’ve ever had. It had leaves, apple, raspberries, seeds, ham, and a honey dressing. Mmmm mmm mmmm. And I don’t even like salad.
Guests are given keys to let themselves in at whatever time they please and if they return in the evening they’ll most likely be greeted by Filipe, a breath of fresh air and an absolute character. He’s the night guest relations manager and I imagine able to break through even the iciest of personas with his genuine care for guests and his slightly risqué comments. A really lovely guy. In fact all the staff were great and spoke to us more like friends while staying professional. I bet they’re all great fun in the pub. I can imagine Águamel being the type of place that guests go back to time and time again to see the staff and catch up.
Everything at Águamel is done to the highest degree of quality; the food, décor, welcome, customer service, cleanliness and desire to help. As is it a guest house stretched over three floors rather than a hotel it’s important to be aware that noise travels and during my stay the sound of next door’s hairdryer and dull sound of the TV could sometimes be heard. But that shouldn’t deter anyone from staying here. It’s a beautiful property made even more special by the staff, location and views and throughout my short stay I felt completely at home and welcome. I can’t speak highly enough of Águamel Boutique Guest House and I want everyone else to stay there too just to experience how fantastic, as a whole package, the guest house really is.
(I was a guest of Águamel Sintra Boutique Guest House as part of a press trip to Portugal)