Portugal Part 15 – Penha Longa Resort Review

I chose this resort for three reasons: 1) The resort was available for 35k Marriott points 2) I had two Marriott 35k free night certificates expiring June 30, 2022 and 3) We could wait to visit Sintra at the end of our trip and still be close to the Lisbon airport for our flight home. It worked out perfectly.

This is marketed as a Ritz Carlton resort, although I’m not really sure why. Sure, it’s nice, but it doesn’t seem like anything better than a JW Marriott. Perhaps it’s just a way to avoid giving Marriott elites free breakfast?

We arrived at the resort around 3pm after driving from Porto with a couple of stops along the way. There is a gate to get into the resort grounds, but no ID check was required anytime we went through it. There was valet parking, although when we retrieved our car for dinner and ended up driving back to the resort, I just parked in one of the parking spots and held onto my keys. No one said anything about it to me.

When we checked in, we were given an overview of the resort and the dining options. Unfortunately, the two Michelin-starred restaurants on site were closed on Sunday and Monday nights, the two nights we were there (I knew this ahead of time). The front desk agent also told us they were sold out but that my Marriott Titanium status got us an upgrade to a junior suite. You be the judge as to whether this looks like a junior suite:

Maybe the separate tub and shower made it a junior suite? The bedroom portion was certainly no bigger than a regular hotel room. There was a nice view from the balcony, but I didn’t really see this room as anything all that special.

I spent quite a bit of time that afternoon booking our flights home as we decided to fly Lufthansa First Class. I’ll provide a lot more information about how we booked everything in the next segment of the report.

We had dinner at a local sushi joint and then the next day visited Sintra and a nearby (ish) beach after we took our Covid tests for the trip back to the US.

The following evening we ordered Uber Eats as the prices at the hotel restaurants were significantly higher than any other hotel we had stayed in, but I suppose that’s a Ritz Carlton for you.

We really did not have time to explore the resort as we were exploring Sintra and the surrounding area all day and then left at 4:15am (!) on our last morning. The grounds looked beautiful and there is a golf course and spa. To be fair, we used it more as a place to sleep than a destination unto itself. If we had paid cash for the stay and not used expiring Marriott certs, perhaps I would have been more interested in getting more out of the resort.

The staff were very helpful, almost to the point of annoying. You could not stand in the lobby waiting for an Uber without at least three people asking you if you need help. Meanwhile, the concierge was 10 feet away if I actually needed help.

I could see this resort appealing to families or couples looking for a relaxing last couple of days after traveling around Portugal or for people who want to be close to Sintra for spending some time there (like us). It was a great use of expiring Marriott free night certificates, but, to us anyway, it wasn’t anything all that special.

Next up: Booking Lufthansa First Class

If you enjoyed this post (or have questions), let me know in the comments or send me an email at emptynestermiles@gmail.com. If you are thinking about opening a new credit card, please use one of my links.

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