The beautiful old palace, steeped in centuries of history, was the scene of the tragic love story of Prince Pedro and Lady Iñes de Castro in 1355. The story gives the property its name, House of Tears. One famous guest, the Duke of Wellington stayed here and planted two sequoias next to the spring of love. The splendidly refurbished hotel now offers three contrasting moods to choose from: the palace rooms are spectacularly grand, richly draped, furnished with elaborately carved pieces; the garden rooms in the converted stables are done in pleasing blends of soft colours with space and excellent beds; the big spa rooms are airy, modern and have love poetry on their walls; all have excellent pastel-tiled bathrooms. There are two superb restaurants serving beautiful plates of food; the gardens are a dream to walk in – from formal entrance to bamboo forest, Pedro-and-Ines spring to giant Australian ficus tree and the black-tiled indoor pool is stunning beyond words. To cap it all, you will find the manager and staff are as kind and well-informed as any in the world. And you are bang in the middle of Coimbra.