I love a luxury hotel getaway as much as the next person. But this particular experience was truly unforgettable. My wonderful parents, fully aware of my obsession with Vista Alegre, a Portuguese brand of china, decided to treat my husband and me to a night’s stay at the new Montebelo Vista Alegre Ílhavo Hotel. And now, I can’t recommend this place enough!
Let’s start with the decor because that was my favorite part. The style is minimalistic and modern, which is hardly surprising at a 5* hotel, but Montebelo Vista Alegre adds a very important twist: there’s Vista Alegre china sprinkled throughout! You’ll find plates, lids, teacups and other porcelain items hung on the walls. (If you’re unfamiliar with Portuguese homes, we have this thing about hanging plates on walls; it’s just something we do.) Their placement isn’t overly curated, and serves as a constant reminder that just next door is the famous Vista Alegre factory. Each of the four floors has a different theme to it, so be sure to explore them all.
Our room had a gigantic bed with beautiful views of the Boco river, directly ahead. There was, of course, china on the walls, which were reflected in the wall length mirror in front of the bed (which also framed a TV). The ample closet space contained a surprise which made me very happy: tea and coffee that you could drink from a gorgeous blue and white Vista Alegre set. The large bathroom was modern and had one of the best smelling hotel toiletry sets by the Real Saboaria company – complete with filigree-style packaging.
The restaurant was top notch and actually deserves its own blog post (here). With it being Christmas, we didn’t get to enjoy the outdoor pool, but there’s a large indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna and a small fitness room. But what really struck me wasn’t the beautiful amenities. It was the fact that the hotel is a small labyrinth of different rooms. For example, there’s a sitting room with walls covered in gorgeous Vista Alegre plates, which, everyone agreed were small works of art.
There’s even an old building attached to the modern hotel that you can enter through an imposing modern staircase – it seemed there were a few bedrooms, and a lovely dining room, in this annex. If you explore the hotel, you’ll stumble upon a mini chapel and some lovely gardens. Finally – and I love it when architects do this – some old stone foundations were exposed for guests to admire. It’s clear that whoever designed the hotel chose to celebrate the old and embrace the modern, making sure to honor each one.
The service was great and nothing was missing. We spent a beautiful evening and morning in that hotel, before heading the the Vista Alegre Museum next door. I can’t wait to go back and highly recommend it to everyone I meet.