Hotels in Lisbon, Portugal

Andrew and I recently returned from an absolutely amazing trip to Lisbon Portugal. We spent a couple days in the city on our own and then welcomed our golf guests from the US for a fun three days of activities.

For the first two nights, Andrew and I stayed at the Alma Lusa Hotel. This boutique style hotel is located in one of the most beautiful squares of Lisbon - Praça do Município. The location, charm, style and grace of this hotel made it the perfect respite for us while visiting this magnificent city. Our room was spacious with contemporary fixtures and equipped with a Luxury Heavenly Bed.

We also had the pleasure of dining in the Defino Restaurant for breakfast each morning and also stopped in for a late night drink one of the evenings. Bruno the manager took time out of his busy evening to give us an overview on the history of port and let us taste some fantastic samples.

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Once our guests from the States arrived, our group of sixteen people checked into the Olissippo Lapa Palace Hotel. This 19th century 5-star hotel featured lush gardens and was set on a hilltop overlooking the Tagus River. The large rooms at The Lapa Palace included a sitting area and our room included a balcony with a view of the beautiful pool area.

Breakfast was served each morning in The Restaurant Hotel Lapa where we sat at outdoor tables in the terrace garden — the perfect location for a wonderful cup of Portuguese coffee.

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Following our stay in the Algarve area, we returned to Lisbon for a one night stay at The Myriad by Sana Hotel. This was the perfect location for us with it’s proximity to the airport are lively restaurant area. This contemporary hotel was located right on the Tagus River and all of our rooms featured a corner room with panoramic views. The decor was ultra-modern with a 1970’s flair and featured many upgraded amenities. It was nice to be able to walk to dinner for our last night in Lisbon.

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We truly feel we hit the jackpot with all three of these hotels and we are certainly looking forward to returning soon.

Rome - Golf, Food and Photos

Having just returned from an incredible excursion in Italy, the sights, sounds and tastes of Rome still linger. I love Rome. The people are typically grumpy and somewhat rude, there is way too much trash just lying around, the place is overrun with tourists and graffiti seems to be the norm, but I just cannot help but love Rome.

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Let’s start with the bad news - golf. SYNCExcursions operates luxury golf trips to a variety of destinations all over the globe and our clients typically love golf, food and wine. As a result our trips always include a little (or a lot) of each. If you travel to Italy for golf I would avoid playing in Rome. Yes, I know the Ryder Cup is coming in 2022, but the course you will play has nothing to do with what the tour stars will experience at Marco Simone. We also played at Olgiata which is a good golf course and in decent condition, but nothing special. Keep the clubs in the travel cover until you hit the north or Sicily!

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Whilst Roman golf might be a fail, the food and sights more than make up for things. The restaurants we visited were all home runs (except for one abysmal showing)…

Don’t Miss Restaurants:

  1. Da Cesare al Casaletto

    This might just be my new favorite restaurant! Energetic service, a wine list to die for and the food you’ve been dreaming about. All the Roman classics with wine pricing that encourages you to order another bottle.

  2. Armando al Pantheon

    This place just feels special. Attentive service, another solid wine list (although quite a few selections were unavailable) and exceptional traditional Roman fare.

  3. Antico Arco

    This ristorante has an upscale feel to it and rightfully so. We went twice in a six day period and thoroughly enjoyed each visit. We were warmly greeted by the wait staff for our second visit - always a good sign. Make sure you try their Carbonara and the Eggplant starter. Excellent wine list and service!

  4. Emma

    We opened up our Rome dining with lunch at Emma and were not disappointed. Fabulous suppli for starters followed by the pizza of your dreams. All washed down with a superb, and reasonably priced bottle of 2016 Monsanto Chianti Classico. Highly recommended.

  5. Salumeria Roscioli

    The only way to book is online and I found the process efficient and simple - a rarity for Roman reservations. We had a group of six in the wine cellar and the food, service and wines were outstanding.

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We did have one horrible dining experience - at Il Bacaro. The place seemed lovely, but after two hours we had not received our meals and opted to leave.

On a side note - if you are interested in taking a cooking class in Rome (and you should) I’d strongly recommend Andrea Consoli and his Cooking Classes in Rome. Our group of twelve spent five fun filled hours with Andrea as he demonstrated how to prepare, cook and enjoy a number of Roman classics.

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If you happen to be into photography like I am then Rome is perhaps the greatest city on the planet for you and your camera. What other city has this number of historically significant structures to photograph and enjoy? I would strongly encourage you to plan on getting out of bed before the sun on two of your mornings to venture out before the crowds. Anytime you get an early start you’ll end up having Rome’s most popular sights all to yourself. On one morning head to the Colosseum with your tripod and shoot a ‘tourist free’ pano. On the way back be sure to stop on Aventine Hill at the Orange Tree Garden for a stunning high view of Rome and the Knights of Malta Keyhole with your 200mm lens to shoot the following shots…

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On your second early rise head for Trevi Fountains, the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. Don’t worry, they’re all within a few hundred yards of each other. You’ll be amazed to notice that at this early hour these hot spots are ‘tourist free’ zones and you’ll have the place to yourself.

There are so many incredible locations to photograph in Rome that I cannot list them all, but I felt the following spots to be very special:

  • Trevi Fountains (day and early AM)

  • Pantheon (early AM and inside)

  • Spanish Steps (early AM)

  • Colosseum (early AM)

  • St. Peter’s Cupola (evening)

  • Vatican Museum (anytime)

  • Knights of Malta Keyhole (early AM)

  • Orange Tree Garden (early AM)

  • Roman Forum (early as possible)

In September 2019 SYNCExcursions will be traveling to Portugal for more of what we experienced in Italy. Great food, wine and I’m certain better golf than in Rome. For more details please contact Terri at terri(at)syncexcursions.com.

Thanks for reading!