Relax by the Rio Nabao at the Vila Gale Collection Tomar.

The Nabao river roughly divides new town Tomar from the historic Templar district of the city. It’s most-ancient crossing the Ponta Velha – also known as the Ponta Dom Manuel, it’s foundations date back to the original Roman bridge which once spanned the river.

Overlooking both the river and the bridge, you’ll find the Vila Gale Collection Tomar – a four-star hotel which also bridges the old and the new of Tomar. Not quite Roman however – the older parts of the hotel were once the Convento de Santa Iria and its Colegio Feminino; both constructed in the 16th century but saved from dereliction in the 21st. They’re restored and repurposed as the Vila Gale’s main reception, Soul Bar and Versatil Restaurant, but the rounded Romanesque arches and shaded cloisters still give a feel for the building’s origins.

By contrast, the newly constructed riverfront wing sits on the footprint of an old factory. Away from its more well-known Knights Templar associations, Tomar was once an industrial centre and the fast-flowing river provide power to the paper mills, foundries and glassworks which once lined the eastern bank. There are 100 air-conditioned ensuite rooms in total – Vile Gale often adopt a local historic theme for their hotels, and here the obvious choice is the Order of the Knights Templar. River view rooms are our recommended choice, with balconies overlooking the outdoor pool – which in turn overlooks the Rio Nabao and the Ponta Velha. There’s also heated indoor pool, a spa and wellness centre, a games room and a library.

The hotel is ideal for exploring old town Tomar on foot, with the Castelo do Tomar, the Convento de Cristo, the Parque do Mouchao and the Praca da Republica within easy walking distance.


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