Though the category technically spans the best resorts in Spain and Portugal, the latter dominated the field in Travel + Leisure readers’ minds. They may be far-flung — with locations in the enchanting walled city of Évora, the terraced landscape of the Douro Valley, and the storybook town of Sintra — but the top resorts in Portugal all have something in common: they’re steeped in history.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.
Related: The World's Best Awards 2019
Évora’s Convento do Espinheiro (No. 3) has a long and storied past. It was built as a convent in the 15th century on the spot where the Virgin Mary was reputed to have appeared, and it was later frequently visited by Portuguese royalty. (Tours of the property are offered every day.) There are echoes of a more religious era throughout, but the guest rooms are sumptuous and modern. “A beautiful place in a beautiful town,” wrote one reader.
The Six Senses Douro Valley (No. 2) in Lamego strikes a more secular note. An earthly paradise, it’s housed in a stately 19th-century mansion surrounded by gardens and vineyards. “The interior design is sophisticated, with a beautiful landscape around it. The service was top-notch, and the spa was state of the art,” commented one Travel + Leisure reader. Others agreed: “Beautiful and perfect in every way,” wrote one voter. Another singled out the breakfasts as “divine.”
Scroll down to learn which resort captured the top spot.
3. Convento do Espinheiro, Historic Hotel & Spa, Évora, Portugal
More information: conventodoespinheiro.com
2. Six Senses Douro Valley, Lamego, Portugal
More information: sixsenses.com
1. Tivoli Palácio de Seteais, Sintra, Portugal
More information: tivolihotels.com
The hilly town of Sintra is topped by a candy-colored castle, but this beloved hotel in a Neoclassical palace that dates from the 18th century has an equally regal bearing. “Fabulous location, architecture, interiors, grounds, food, and service,” wrote one reader. “This is a place we have stayed at for more than 25 years,” commented another. “It seems to get better each time we visit.”
See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2019.