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Two thousand and eight will be an important year for Portuguese tourism. Numerous hotels and resorts will be opening, virtually in every region of the country. From cool new designer hotels, to tasty new fusion restaurants, a visitor can find many reasons to check out what's new and exiting in Portugal. Plus, the country remains one of Europe's best values - with prices that give travelers more for their money compared to other destinations.

Today's Portugal is home to a thriving culture of fashion, music, food, and art, while remaining a meeting point for people worldwide. Its new nightclubs are some of the liveliest in Europe; its new bistros blend the pillars of Portuguese food with globally inspired new flavors. Modern designers are bringing bold fashions, impressive new architecture to blend with the historic ambiance of the cities, and new museums of contemporary art

Portugal is the closest point in Europe to the U.S.--easy to get to and to navigate. Blessed with a mild climate year 'round, an excellent range of sports awaits the active traveler. Golf is considered world class, and more courses are being added. Every corner of the country is rich with historical attractions.

What's New in Portugal in 2008 - the highlights

++ 47 New Resorts in Portugal
Portugal's government has been focusing on tourism development and the result will soon be 47 new resort hotels, added to the current 22, spread throughout the country.  Fourteen are planned for the Algarve region, 7 in the Alentejo, 8 in the Costa Azul, 9 in the Oeste region, 4 in the Douro, 4 on Madeira and 1 in the Azores.
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++ New Pousadas
In 2008, Pousadas de Portugal will expand its nationwide network of lodgings, while renovations and upgrades are planned for some of the established properties. Here are some highlights:

* New Estoi pousada
The Palacio de Estoi in the Algarve region will transform from an abandoned palace to a grand Pousada welcoming guests by the end of 2008 (or beginning of 2009).  When complete - the Pousada will have 49 rooms, a swimming pool with its own bar, a spa, a leisure area equipped with Renaissance-style furniture, a new dining room, rest areas, a small shop and facilities for meetings and events.

*Pousada do Porto - Palácio do Freixo
Construction of the Pousada do Porto - Palácio do Freixo is underway, with attention being paid to the historic design by architect Fernando Távora. The architect Paulo Lobo has designed the decor and furniture. New technical and kitchen equipment will be installed, the gardens will be restored and opened to the public, and the quay will be rebuilt. The Pousada's rooms will be in the former factory building.

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++Altis Belem
Also in the historic Belém district of Lisbon, the Altis Belém will open in 2008 as a boutique-style hotel, featuring 44 rooms, an upscale restaurant, a spa, an outdoor swimming pool and a shopping gallery.

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++ Future Design and Fashion Museum
By the end of 2008, Lisbon will offer a Design and Fashion Museum, known as MUDE. This will promote Portuguese and international design, while also providing a meeting point for other arts. The future museum will be housed in the Verride Palace, dating from the first half of the 18th century (also known as Santa Catarina Palace). With views of the river Tejo, Bairro Alto and Chiado, the museum unites two of the most charming neighborhoods in Lisbon. The building will feature eight floors (two underground) and will house the Francisco Capelo collection. It consists of around 1,000 furniture and design objects and 1,200 high fashion pieces that have marked the most important artistic periods of the 20th century.

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++ Bom Sucesso Golf course will open in June
An 18-hole Championship Golf course will open along the length of the resort in 2008 in Obidos. The golf course, designed by the world-renowned architect Donald Steel is projected to be open in June.  It was constructed by Nigel Ely, currently the Chairman of the British Association of Golf Course Constructors, a fact which offers guarantees of flawless quality at an international level, in line with the rest of the resort. It is a PAR 72 golf course with an area exceeding 600 thousand square meters, the first nine holes are played on a level part of the terrain while the second nine are located on uneven terrain, and are therefore quite spectacular.

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++ Fontana Park Hotel
The Fontana Park Hotel, will open in downtown Lisbon in mid November 2007, and will include 139 rooms. Three state-of-the-art restaurants will be on-site---the Saldanha-Mar features fresh fish and seafood; the Bonsai serves fine Japanese cuisine; and the Interior Garden offers fine cuisine in a garden setting.

More information:

++ Design Hotel Jeronimos 8
The Hotel Jeronimos 8 in the historic area of Belém, Lisbon, is already open, near the Jerónimos Monastery and the Cultural Centre of Belém. The Tejo River and the Monument of Discoveries can be seen from the hotel. The property includes 61 bedrooms and 4 suites.

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++ Lisbon's Costa Azul
The Hotel-Apartamento Meliá Aldeia dos Capuchos opened recently on Lisbon's Costa Azul and offers sea views, beach access from its 69 rooms, plus tennis and golf on site.
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++Quinta da Marinha Hotel Upgraded
The Quinta da Marinha Hotel in Cascais, west of Lisbon, has been reclassified from 4- to 5-stars after a major renovation, including redecorating all the guest rooms, installing LCD TVs, and opening a fine dining restaurant, the O Rocca. A modern fitness center was added, plus new meeting rooms.  Located on the Estoril Coast just 30 minutes from Lisbon, the hotel has 43 villas and 200 hotel rooms and suites, plus two 18-hole golf courses, including the Oitavos course, considered one of the best in Southern Europe.

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++ Douro Palace Hotel Resort & Spa
This Four star hotel is scheduled to be open in Baião, on the Douro Valley region, with 60 rooms in mid 2008.
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++ Northern Hotel opens near Porto
The WR São João da Madeira Hotel is a new 4-star property in the center of São João da Madeira, near Porto in northern Portugal. The hotel has more than 100 rooms and suites, plus a restaurant, bar, health club, spa, Jacuzzi, sauna and gymnasium.  Four rooms are available for meetings, seminars and other corporate events, with capacity for up to 140 people.
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++ Great Beach, Amazing Hotel
A new PGA golf course and resort will open in Porto in 2008. The5-star resort will offer a spa with innovative sand and hydro-therapy treatments. The property includes unspoiled beaches, tropical vegetation and great views.

++ New Porto Spa
The Porto Palácio in the city of Porto is 15 minutes from the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport. The Casa da Música and the Modern Art Museum are in the hotel's neighborhood. The property features 251 renovated rooms--192 executive suites and 41 deluxe rooms. In early 2008, the hotel will open an L`Occitaine spa, a panoramic lounge on the 19th floor and four new restaurants offering Italian, Japanese and gourmet cuisine.
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++ Hotel do Vinho do Porto
The Hotel do Vinho do Porto will open in 2009 in the historic town of Gaia, across the river from Porto. The hotel will sit among some of the great wine lodges of the area.


++ Discoveries Museum of Belmonte will open in 2008
A new museum in the town of Belmonte will be devoted to the Portugal's age of exploration and discovery and will open by the end of 2008. "Discovering the New World" will pay special attention to the discovery of Brazil by local son Pedro Álvares Cabral, The museum will occupy two floors and 16 rooms in the manor house Solar dos Cabrais, starting with the preparations for the explorers' trips to India and through the arrival of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 in Brazil.

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++Mountain Hotel to Open
In Portugal's Central Region, Castelo Branco will open with 44 rooms, a restaurant and health club. The hotel will be only the third one in this region.

++ New Ski Resort Planned at Serra da Estrela
The Portuguese tourism company Turistrela will open a ski resort in the Serra da Estrela mountain region of central Portugal, adjacent to the existing Skiparque center in Manteigas. The resort, expected to open in 2009, will have 30 chalets. Serra da Estrela, mainland Portugal's highest peak, is nearly 1 and ¼ miles above sea level and is already a ski destination. The resort will have plenty for off-season visitors or non-skiers--including mountain biking and boat trips on the Zêzere River.

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++ Porto Covo Best Western
The new Best Western Hotel Porto Covo, in the Alentejo region, is within the Southwest Natural Park, where the explorer Vasco da Gama was born. Porto Covo was once on the explorers' main route, and so many archaeological remains from this era are nearby.

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++ New Hotel Portas da Lagoa - Belver Collection
To open in 2008, this hotel is located in the historic Évora city center at the landmark Palácio Sepúlveda. This hotel will have 70 rooms, a Spa, heated exterior swimming pool, restaurant and bar. Belver Collection - each
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