We arrived at Casa de São Lourenço on a rather sunny afternoon on April 12th 2021 and where spoiled with a beautiful view over Serra da Estrela at our arrival. We've been longing for this visit for a long time and therefore had high expectations. And we weren't disappointed.
Our journey started in Porto (airport). We drove directly to Serra da Estrela with some stops along the road as the spring landscape was glorious. Driving up the narrow streets of Serra da Estrela with its spring beauty, we felt like driving up towards paradise. After some heavy months of being lots inside due to COVID-19 restrictions, we felt free and light like a bird.
First of all, we want to point out the friendly and courteous staff. Everyone was on a mission: to make our stay as pleasant, relaxing and safe as possible. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions back then, we had basically two rooms for ourselves: one bedroom and one dining/breakfast room. It's very special to be in a hotel and barely see other guests. In our case, we loved it! As much as we enjoy interacting with the staff and locals, we tend to rather enjoy our own company. It's how we recharge our batteries. And believe us, these vacation was very much about that.
Since 1940, Casa de São Lourenço is an icon from Serra da Estrela. It offered a rustic comfort and kind simplicity. 70 years after, it reborns as a 5-star Hotel. The historic Pousada de São Lourenço is not only transformed into a house (Casa) but also becomes the only 5-star hotel in Serra da Estrela. The new project follows the initial concept of Rogério de Azevedo and wants to pay a tribute to the beautiful artwork of Maria Keil, one of the most relevant Portuguese designers from the 20th century, and at the same time gives space to the contemporaneity of Portuguese designers. The purity of air in high-altitude and the beauty of the panorama are fundamental themes.
Pictures © Burel - Mountain Originals
Casa de São Lourenço is part of the Burel Mountain Original’s Family alongside with Burel Factory and Casa das Penhas Douradas. It's a sustainable project of valuing Serra da Estrela’s heritage. We were fascinated by the interior Burel walls, curtains and details. It offered the minimalist design warmth and coziness. The usage of Burel fabric in the interior architecture is very innovative and unique. You won't see it in another hotel. We got so inspired that we're thinking of integrating it in our new home.
Hand-stitched Burel wall: It takes 8 hours to produce 1 square-meter
Burel curtains and separators
We were lucky to have the room number 13 - a Premium Panorama Plus room. It's the view that will soak in all your attention while staying here. You'll wake up and fall asleep to the wide landscape of Serra da Estrela. In our case, we only fell asleep twice looking over the breath taking Serra da Estrela as in the mornings the mountain and hotel was covered in fog. I was fascinated by the foggy landscape and how it embraced the hotel - it was very romantic and soothing. The modern and minimalist design makes the landscape the main protagonist of this room.
The view to our room.
The view from our room
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we booked the spa area in advanced (no further costs) for ourselves for one hour and enjoyed it to the max. Again, it was so peaceful and energizing at the same time. We specially liked the light and bright spa rooms.
As mentioned before, breakfast and dinner were served in a separate room (actually a normal room which was converted into a dining room). We were a bit sad to not eat in the beautiful, spacious dining room with the view over Serra da Estrela and under a ceiling of golden Burel stars. However, the food was excellent and the service outstanding (they had to walk a lot form the kitchen to our private room for each course). You will not experience traditional Portuguese food but you'll go on an expedition through Serra's gastronomy. In the Restaurant of São Lourenço the freshness that the seasonality confers to the local flavors are privileged and the simplicity of the ingredients of the mountain seasoned with the contemporaneity and ingenuity of Chef Manuel Figueira, without losing the authenticity that distinguishes them.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions we ordered our breakfast the night before from a very wide range of selection.
We actually wanted to go for an extended hike while at Serra da Estrela but the weather made it very difficult. However, our local guide and assistant Manager at Casa das Penhas Douradas, Luis, challenged us with a hike through the forest. The fog was so tense that it even entered into the forest and surprised us with a mystical mood. The air was very refreshing and the lunch at Casa das Penhas Douradas comforted us. Casa das Penhas Douradas has its own style and is very different from Casa de São Lourenço. It embraces more the mountain chalet style with a strong touch of vintage design. We loved it too! We wish we could have brought all those pretty and unique vintage pieces back to Switzerland for our new home. We recommend to stay at Casa das Penhas Douradas if you're traveling with your family. The kids will have more space to play.
We also recommend to visit the Burel factory. Their work is impressive and it's the perfect activity for a rainy day or for design lovers.
On the right picture: How shepherds use to mark their trails
Short break at Casa das Penhas Douradas for lunch
Our time at Casa de São Lourenço was magical and we enjoyed every bit of it. The only bad thing is that you'll have to leave at some point. But we will come back for sure! A big OBRIGADO to the whole family of Casa de São Lourenço and all the best for your beautiful project.
And to you out there, take care, stay positive and keep exploring!
View to the dining room and terrace
Living area with contemporary design and design pieces by Maria Keil (chairs on the right picture)
The ceiling at the dining room: Burel golden stars
Contrast of minimalism and warm, cozy atmosphere
Bringing the outside to the inside
View from our room to the glacier valley and the village Manteigas