Quinta Nova da Conceicao
An unusual style of Lisbon hotel, Quinta Nova da Conceicao is the former 18th-century country house residence of the Count of Benfica. It is Lisbon’s only Turismo de Habitação, a government-monitored scheme that allows tourists to stay in anything from a cottage to a castle as a guest of the owner. Only three of the 52 rooms, all with private bathrooms, are available to book.
Communal areas include an azulejo-tiled breakfast room, a grand living area, and an exotic wood-crafted library where numerous secret political liaisons have allegedly taken place. Situated within half a hectare of land, an outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts are also available. Current owner Teresa welcomes guests to treat the palace as their own, as long as they are prepared to live with her dogs!
Furniture originates from various periods and some exquisite pieces can be found throughout the house. Teresa has little clue as to their worth and is keen to treat the building as a living entity rather than a museum-piece. Her rather eccentric taste in interior design is certainly heart-warming; don’t be surprised to find a cabbage-shaped candle atop a mahogany grand piano.
Since the hotel is located north of the city, the surroundings are remarkably unimpressive – a mixture of motorway intersections and sprawling suburbs. However, the close proximity of Benfica stadium means that guests can hear a goal from the comfort of their own palace.