The Hotel Palácio in Estoril, a place on the Atlantic coast near the Portugese capital Lissabon is not an ordinary hotel. The hotel was during the Second World War a base for several spies and a  refugee for royals and many others  rich and (famous) people.

“The story of mysterious wires first surfaced in the middel of the eighties of the last century, when the Hotel Pálacio Estoril underwent complete renovation and two more floors were added to the building. They found so much cabling under the carpets, behind the skirting boards and wallpaper, that, according to the press, ‘there was enough to circle the planet and still have some left over’.  No one could say who installed it, when or for what purpose, but it was widely suspected that it had to do with the redundant listening devices from the Second World War, left behind and long forgotten.”  Extract from the book ‘Estoril’ by Dejan-Tiago-Stanković.

Duško Popov, the Serb who was the inspiration for James Bond
Also Duško Popov stayed in the Hotel Palácio during the Second World War as did l Ian Fleming. Both worked for the British Intelligence Service MI6, but Duško was a double spy. He worked for the German ‘Abwehr’ (Intelligence) and for MI6. Ian Fleming is of course known as the creator of the world famous James Bond movies.  Duško was actually inspiration for James Bond as he liked as well the fast cars, the girls, the luxury  and yes he was thus a spy.

Registration card of the Hotel Palácio of Duško Popov

On her majesty’s secret service

The hotel is also Bond’s hotel in the James Bond movie ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ from 1969 with Gerge Lazenby as James Bond. 007 arrives with his olive green Aston Martin DBS  and parks next to Contessa Teresa’s red Mercury Cougar XR 7.  A bit later James Bond get the keys and those keys where handed by José Diogo, back in 1968 a bell boy at the Hotel Palácio .

José Diogo is today the deputy Head concierge of the Hotel Palácio, and he was there when we visited the hotel. He was so kind to give us a private tour and told us many beautiful stories about the hotel.  We had luck that José was there and felt honoured to get this private tour from him.  

After the tour we went to the beach. Along the coast there is a railway line from Lissabon, reason why Estoril became so popular as it was easy reachable. It is called the ‘Portugese Riviera’ and not without reason!  When I told my friend from Sevilla (Spain) that we were in Estoril he wrote me: “Estoril has also a special significance to me. It was where the Spanish Royal Family lived during Franco’s regime. Sad and colourful notes all bound us together when we immerse ourselves into history”.  Nothing more to add here, because Estoril is such a place. A remarkable place in history indeed which bound us together.

Later we went by car ( no not an Aston Martin as ours was in the garage) to to the Cabo da Roca, the most western point of continental Europe to watch the sunset.