We pulled into Lamego on a Saturday afternoon after our drive from Guarda and, once again, my various attempts at mapping exactly where this hotel was located had not gone too well. However, I did immediately recognize the famous staircase leading up to the religious shrine at the top of the hill (distantly visible in the background here)!
After circling the square a couple of times in the busy traffic, I pulled over into a clear space beside the park to have a closer look at the maps. As it turned out, I had pulled into a Taxi-only zone and it was not long before one of the drivers approached. When I asked him if he knew where the Hotel do Parque was, he smiled and pointed up the hill behind me saying "very nice - great view". Armed with that information, I thanked him and off we went to find our way to the top of the hill, not realizing just how great a view we really would have!
We were totally amazed when we drove up through the surrounding hillside forest of pine, chestnut, oak and mimosa trees to suddenly emerge at the hotel perched at the very top of the famous stairs! When I had booked our two nights here over the phone a few weeks earlier, I had no idea that it had such a unique location!
Unique Quality: This whitewashed building contains 39 rooms, 3 suites, a games room, bars and a restaurant as well as its own private garden. There was no fuss at the reception desk, and we were quickly ushered upstairs to what turned out to be the top floor. There did not seem to be too many other guests about at this time of the season and I get the feeling that they gave us the best room in the house!
As seen in the photo, we had the top corner with our bathroom window looking out on the Shrine and the bedroom window with a view out over the staircase leading down into Lamego! For E65 (US$80) per night, we had hit the jackpot.
Directions: At the top of the staircase from town or drive up through the forest to the right.
The room was plenty big enough for our bags and with space to move around as well. This view shows the doorway leading into the corner bathroom and part of an easy-chair pulled up in front of the bedroom window.
On our second night at the hotel, on Sunday after we had returned from our day trip to the 'Geraz do Minho' region further north, we sat at the open window as darkness fell. The first serious rain and lightning storm of our trip was brewing off in the distance and it was great fun feeling the warm air on our faces, watching the flashes and listening to the booms as we again sipped on Port wine (after all, we were in the Douro River area)! Making it even more enjoyable was the distant sound of beating drums from the old castle across town, where a weekend-long Medieval Festival was being held.
We were very happy with the location of our room. It was great to sit there on a warm afternoon or evening in May, admiring the great views or just doing a little people-watching of the activities in the square below!
Far off on the other side of town, a medieval castle stood on another hilltop. There was actually a festival going on during the weekend, celebrating those long-ago days. We sat at our window sipping Port, watching the fireworks and listening to the drums echoing across the city on the Saturday night after our meal in the hotel restaurant.
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