Oitavos Dunes adds a luxury hotel

View from the balcony of room 351
View from the balcony of room 351

A recent trip to the Oitavos Hotel in Cascais, Portugal introduced me to a unique hotel on many different levels. It could be described as a boutique, beach, warehouse, modern hotel that is very much charting a course for itself as an independent property in a marketplace consumed by chains or marketing consortium’s.The hotel is situated a few miles from the charming town of Cascais, approximately 30 minutes to the west of Lisbon. It sits on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with it’s golf course to the side and behind the hotel. With only three floors above ground to comply with local zoning regulations (no taller than the native pine trees) it does a great job of fitting into the landscape. A short video that still uses computer animation is strikingly accurate and worth viewing as it gives a effective overview of the hotel and interior space.The footprint is a classic “Y” with the base of the letter facing directly to the ocean. As you enter the hotel you are struck by the sheer size of the public spaces. With very few exceptions, there are no fixed walls in this space that encompasses bars, restaurants, lounges, even a pool (snooker) table. The resultant flexibility this provides the hotel to adjust to guest needs is remarkable. Although the space is large, due to the use of furniture, dividers and acoustical seperators at the same time it feels very intimate. Make no mistake about it, this is a modern hotel with a chic, contemporary look. The furniture is comfortable, attractive and functional with a myriad of seating & dining options, including high tables.

Downstairs is housed the Spa and breakfast restaurant. I am not a Spa person but was enormously impressed by the facilities and service (no moveable walls here). The hotel has both an indoor and outdoor saltwater pool, sauna and Turkish bath.

Each of the three floors above the lobby contain approximately 48 rooms & suites  which all provide ocean views of varying degrees. The size of the hallways and central lobby space on each floor allow the hotel to sell on an exclusive basis one or multiple floors to a group and provide check in, breakfast, cocktails, etc on their private floor without impacting other hotel guests. Indeed other guests would be entirely unaware and this capability is very compelling.

As you walk down the hallway (at the base of the Y) with rooms on both sides, the hallway is 20 feet wide, the sense of space is luxurious without being caverness. At the end of the corridor, facing the ocean is a floor to ceiling window which is as wide as the hallway…offering a stunning view. One of the guiding principals of the hotel design was to bring the outside in and take the inside out. Given the attractive climate in Portugal, this works extremely well with sizeable glass sliding doors and floor to ceiling glass on virtually all exterior walls.
All of the rooms have outside patios with comfortable seating options.Given the innovative design of this hotel, the rooms will not disappoint. The work space provided is exceptional with all of the needed connections and power easily accessible. Even on holiday, guests may want to look at their pictures on a flat screen television or listen to their iPod or MP3 player through room speakers. The bedding is arguably the most comfortable I recall ever sleeping on. The bathroom space is part of the bedroom with no interior walls. Glass seperates the shower and toilet. The bathtub is visible as soon as you enter the room. Ladies will be delighted with the thought that has been applied to their make up area with lighting, seating and power, there is even a small trolley with wheels for additional storage and assistance in this area.  The room works extremely well but I suspect for some people who are wed to more traditional bathroom arrangements it may be too much.  However, I think the pluses of the design far outweigh the negatives…indeed, if that is an issue, Oitavos has 12 junior suites with a more traditional bathroom configuration.

Activities around the hotel include outstanding golf (Oitavos Dunes #88 in most recent GOLF Magazine rankings), equestrian center, surfing, Spa experience, etc.

One of the thoughtful service features of the golf experience is that the hotel and golf clubhouse are sufficiently integrated to let golfers go directly from the hotel to the range and courses without requiring them check in at the golf shop in the clubhouse. In summary, a wonderful facility with genuinely engaged and personable staff who will do all possible to ensure your visit is memorable.
 

About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+