The Palacio do Governador is a unique heritage hotel in Lisbon’s historic Belem district.
Built in the mid-16th century, the ‘Governor’s Palace’ began life as the home of Senhor Gaspar de Paiva – the first governor of Belem. As Portugal expanded across the globe during its Age of Discovery, her fleets set sail from this riverside district to great pomp and pageantry – and the governorship of Belem was one of the country’s most prestigious positions, with an equally prestigious residence to match.
The palace’s foundations are actually the remains of an older Roman ruin, and sections of this original 1st century building are visible at the entrance to the hotel. Detailing from the 16th century palace is most prominent – from the masonry ceilings and azulejo tiled wainscoting at reception, (formerly a private chapel for the governor), to the decorative oak balustrades and intricately-laid panels which grace the ceilings of the guest lounge and Ocassus Bar.
There’s a fairy tale castle-like feel to the impressive, vaulted stone ceilings of the on-site Restaurant Anfora – these ceilings also feature in a few of the Deluxe and Club rooms. Junior and Studio suites are more spacious whilst the Mansarda rooms on the second floor have a coveted view of the Torre de Belem, one of Lisbon’s most famous historic landmarks. Infante suites have a separate living area and are on a level with the outdoor pool and garden, and the Princess and Governor’s suites are the largest and most luxurious of all, with their four-poster beds, sun terraces and sweeping, panoramic views.
The hotel’s extensive spa facilities are hidden beneath the inner courtyard, with a twenty-five-metre indoor pool, sauna, Turkish bath, therapy rooms and a gym – there’s also a large outdoor pool and south-facing sun terrace. From your doorstep, it’s a short walk to many of Lisbon’s must-see landmarks: the aforementioned Torre de Belem, the Padrao dos Descobrimentos, the Museu National de Arqueologia, the Jeronimos Monastery and the Museu Colecao Berardo, and the centre of the city is a short taxi/tram ride away.