by Jorge Sanchez - 3 months, 3 weeks ago
I loved very much the atmosphere of this place plus the exuberant nature. It is registered in the UNESCO Indicative list, so probably in the future it will become a World Patrimony.
I had to pay a fee to cross the main gate to penetrate the walled complex, and then I walked for about 15 minutes in the middle of cedars, cypresses, pines and leafy woods until I reached the luxurious hotel that in the XVII century was a monastery of the Carmelites Order.
During the ecclesiastical confiscations of monasteries in Portugal in the XIX century, the place was taken by the portuguese government and later on converted into a neomanuelino style palace for the kings of Portugal. When the republic was proclaimed the palace was then transformed into a luxurious hotel.
In the back of the hotel, just in front of the Tourist Office, there are the remains of the Convento de Santa Cruz, which today is a museum (3 euro is the entry fee).
There is also a lovely garden, waterfalls, a small lake and the Stations of the Cross, plus small chapels up the hill with imported trees because the friars tried to recreate the nature around Jerusalem.
In order to embellish the external part of the hotel, there were on the walls many lovely azulejos (tiles) representing the Portuguese discoveries of Vasco da Gama and other navigators, plus poems of Luís de Camões.
I have been twice in this place and the first one (I think in the year 2001) I was allowed to enter the hotel, with the excuse that I wanted to ask for the prices of the rooms. But back in 2016 I was not permitted to go inside and I saw a sign where it was written that the customers do not want to be molested by unwanted tourists.