28 Feb 2017

The Palacio Estoril Hotel - Portugal

In On Her Majesty's Secret Service from 1969, Bond is taking a few days off from his current assignment to track down Blofeld, an operation called Bedlam. Mi6 has no information about Bond's whereabouts and Moneypenny is searching for him through their contacts in Amsterdam, Madrid and Cairo, all with negative replies. In reality, Bond is holidaying in Portugal.

Bond is staying at the Palácio Hotel in Estoril on the Portuguese riviera, a short 30 minute drive from central Lisbon. Located in Cascais, one of the richest municipalities in Portugal, the five star Palácio Hotel is still one of the finest on the coast. It was built in 1930 and it is located only a five minute walk from the famous Casino Estoril, the casino which sign supposedly is reflecting in the hotel swimming pool in the film.    

             "-Your baggage sir? 
-In the boot. Take care of those clubs."

During the Second World War Portugal was neutral, which resulted in several royal families went into exile in Estoril, leading to the Portuguese Riviera around Estoril becoming known as the "Coast of Kings". The Hotel Palácio became the hotel of choice of numerous members of European royalty as well as both British and German spies and military personnel.

Visible in the film are several signs from various automobile clubs in Europe, including the Automovel Clube de Portugal, the Automobilclub von Deutschland and the Royal Swedish Automobile Club - Kungliga Automobil Klubben. These same signs can still be found on location on either side of the magnificent entrance to the hotel, as seen in the film.

The signs of Automovel Clube de Portugal ACP (below), the Automobilclub von Deutschland AvD, the Royal Swedish Automobile Club, KAK (Kungliga Automobil Klubben) and the Automobile Club d'Italia (above left) as well as the Automobile Club de France (above right) are all seen in the film and can still be found on location today.

In the film, the hotel is probably supposed to be located in France, given that the corresponding scenes from the novel unfolds in a fictive village called Royale-les-Eaux, a seaside resort close to Le Touquet on the Atlantic coast north of Paris. Furthermore, at the Baccarat table in the casino, Francs is used rather than the Portuguese escudo, which was the currency before the Euro in Portugal. However, the location of the hotel is somewhat unclear, since the hotel manager is named Manuel and it is obvious that he does not speak French to the bellboy in the hotel. 

From a Bond perspective, this is definitely one of the coolest hotels you can stay at, together with for instance the Grand Hotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary or the Peninsula in Hong Kong.

Read more about the hotel's history or make reservations on the hotel website here.

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