Staying at the Pousada do Convento das Chagas de Cristo is a unique, dreamlike historical experience. Lose yourself in rooms and corridors, staircases and round arches: one of the most noble and opulent convents in Portugal awaits you.
The first thing you need to know about this extraordinary place is that you are staying in a religious house built more than 500 years ago to serve as a Pantheon for the ladies of the House of Bragança, the second most powerful noble house in the country after the Royal House. Set in Paço Ducal, the convent, the church and the palace are witnesses to a very rich historical period and, thanks to D. John IV, the Restorer, they bear matchless beauty and richness.
You will sleep in the Poor Clare nuns' convent, which became home to many second-born daughters (or illegitimate daughters) of noble families and, thanks to continuous endowments and gifts, one of the most opulent praying sites in Portugal. Confirm this importance in person, whether by attending Sunday Mass in the church or by peeking at the higher choir through the door that leads directly to the Pousada.
Come and marvel at the first hall: rebuilt in the old barns area, it is now decorated with the painted wood art pieces that were once positioned in their original ceilings . Go to the bar and sit in one of the unique chairs called ''conversadeiras'' (from "chatting"), which are perfect for long talks with the best possible comfort. In this Pestana Historic Hotel you will find a different nook every day, or a different path between the room and the cloister, or between the room and the restaurant. The frescoes and tiles, whether original or restored, are the best company for your wanderings.
In fact, we challenge you to try and identify the various restored halls and guess the number of rooms at the Pousada - no easy task. Be sure to check the magnificently restored Sala do Capítulo; or the room where the old gatehouse to the monastery used to be, with a magnificent parlour - the only place where the cloistered nuns could contact the outside world, through bars and an imposing wheel where they received the supplies. You can imagine the nuns meditating in the cloister, the abbess in the hand-kissing room, and try to imagine what the structure in the middle of the Professor's room was for, if the room is free.
The story of your stay in this Pousada is bound to be a continuous journey between the present and the past, and it's even likely that the frescoes, the chapels and the oratories will bring out the sacred art enthusiast within you. Lose yourself in the gardens, explore the cistern, find the source of São João Evangelista and be sure to spot the most bizarre and quirky aspect of the reception desk - ask for help if you cannot identify it.
Take refuge from the inclement heat and strong sun in the summer - when the outdoor pool and the cool cloister are calling for you. Keep out of the cold and the rain in winter - the chairs and fireplaces await your company. Be enthralled by this land of kings and orange trees, of noble and nuns, of marble and dust, and head back home with many stories to tell.