Far from the noise and rush of urban life, the Burel Mountain Hotels are set in the midst of Portugal’s Serra da Estrela Natural Park. By the 19th century, the area was already popular with summer visitors thanks to its healthy climate.
The Casa das Penhas Douradas is situated at an altitude of 1500 metres on one of the highest peaks in Portugal. This designer hotel, built on the foundations of an old sanatorium, was inspired by local architecture. Regional materials were used in its construction. A side wing of the building is clad in cork, and the interiors are dominated by birch wood—used to create the walls, ceilings and much of the furniture. The smooth surfaces of the wood, linear design, and large windows create a modern look, while traditional wool fabrics lend each room a cosy character. At the same time, colourful “retro” glass lamps give each room that individual something. You will find design pieces from the 1950s and 1960s throughout the hotel’s spaces. Add the breath-taking views of mountains from every room and the result matches nature with a complete designer hotel experience.
The Casa de São Lourenço was added as a further hotel in 2018. This 5-star hotel offers wonderful panoramic views across the glacier valley. The original structure, once an old inn dating back to 1940, has been modernised and extended with further buildings. Fair-faced concrete, broad window fronts and white plastered walls provide a counterpoint to the old building and blend harmoniously into the mountainous surroundings. The old is combined with the new inside as well: alongside the works of well-known artist Maria Keil, who designed the interiors over 70 years ago, works by contemporary Portuguese artists are exhibited too. The mountain scenery is always in view—not just from the 17 rooms and 4 suites, but also from the restaurant and the pool.
The owners of the hotels have breathed new life into an old, previously disused wool-mill in Manteigas, where they produce amazing traditional “burel” fabrics in modern designs using antique machinery. The fabrics are marketed under the brand Burelfactory and are particularly suited to upholstery and interior design. Many of these fabrics can be seen in the Burel Mountain Hotels, creating a link to the history of the town.
What to do
A spa with swimming pool and sauna, excursions to historic villages and castles, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, gourmet picnics, snowshoe tours in winter.
Why we like this house
Landscape, local traditions, design from different eras and modern architecture are all wonderfully combined at the Burel Mountain Hotels.
This house is great for
Guests who want to get to know a side of Portugal far from the tourist beaches, and who’d like to get out into nature.
Details of the property
Region/Town: PT – Portugal, Manteigas
Name: Burel Mountain Hotels
Scenery: Serra da Estrela, between Portugal's highest mountains
Number of guests: Casa das Penhas Douradas: 17 double rooms and 1 suite; Casa de São Lourenço: 17 rooms and 4 suites
Architecture: Old & new
Completed: Casa das Penhas Douradas: 2006. Extension: 2010. Casa de São Lourenço: 2018
Design: Casa das Penhas Douradas: Pedro Brígida Arquitectos; Casa de São Lourenço: Nuno Gusmão
Published: blue Travel, Irish Independent, El País, The Guardian, Monocle, Die Zeit, Time Out;
Awards: “Tourism of Portugal 2008 – Projects of Excellence in Tourism” award; Publituris 2008 award for “Best Tourism in a Rural Area”; “Tourism of Portugal 2011 – Projects of Excellence in Tourism” award, Chave de Prata award 2018 - Boa Cama Boa Mesa;