Our vacation at pet friendly Hillside House Suites & SPA

This August we wanted to take a few days off and go somewhere to relax. We didn’t feel like traveling far, so we chose a beautiful place close to home: Obidos Lagoon, Portugal. It’s an hour and a half away from home, by car, and we wanted to be by the ocean.


Before we got there, we looked for a nice place that had a pet friendly policy and we found out Hillside House Suites & SPA. We made a great choice and we had the best time, especially Sami, our Westie dog!

Let’s just put it this way: the weather wasn’t great. First few days were cloudy, low temperature, damp and windy, only the last two days having sun and beach weather. Well, this cozy hotel made us actually enjoy bad weather! It was the first time we go on vacation and are happy that, even though the weather sucks, we can swim in the heated pool or spend an hour in the jacuzzi, with a cup of tea and a book. Or book one of the spa treatments, why not. Which makes it not just a summer destination, but also a nice winter escape (since winters here in Portugal are sunny and overall pretty warm).


Since we traveled with our Sami, we were especially glad to find a pet friendly hotel that would accommodate our every need dog-wise. There was no restriction for Sami to get in the pool to swim and we could even bring him with us in the breakfast area in the mornings (we chose not to, but dogs are allowed if no guests are bothered by them), which I thought was really cool. You can also choose to have your breakfast in the room, if you want privacy or you don’t want to leave your pup alone, and they bring the food to you. 


The staff was so nice and by the time we left everybody already knew Sami and they would talk to him and pet him whenever they walked by us 🙂

We felt super welcome right from the start! When we got to our apartment we had the nice surprise of finding food and water bowls for Sami, along with some dog treats! Unfortunately he’s currently on a diet for eliminating kidneys struvite crystals, so the treats were just admired and desired 🙂 


Our apartment, overlooking the lagoon, was the perfect beach house: light, cozy and clean. The terrace was super spacious and we enjoyed spending our mornings and evenings there, lounging and looking at the view (which can also be admired from the infinity pool). Sami loved spending time on the terrace and looking at the people downstairs by the pool. Well, he would also get anxious whenever anyone jumped in, thinking probably that they must be in grave danger, but that’s just his westietude. 🙂


There were lots of green spaces where we could take Sami to do his necessities, not to mention run and play free (at home he never gets to do that, since we live in an apartment). The grass was always freshly cut and inviting, so he couldn’t have been happier! The hotel area itself is pretty big, so morning and evening walks are great, and at night there are lights everywhere. They did a good job fencing the place, which allowed us to let Sami off leash for the first time and not worry that he will run away chasing a cat or something. 


Since the weather wasn’t very inviting for going to the beach, we made the best of our stay. Honestly, we were also pretty tired from working all summer so we just wanted to stay in, take it easy and recharge our batteries. It wasn’t difficult, considering we had everything we needed right there: the view of the lagoon, the pool and jacuzzi, the public lounge area, our own terrace that had the same view, green spaces and a comfy spacious apartment.


We even booked a morning at the spa, where they have “flotation therapy”, which means you get to relax and float in a pool of water with high concentration of salt. The salt keeps you at the surface and you are encouraged to sleep if you can (we couldn’t, but it was still very peaceful and relaxing). This was the only activity we did that Sami didn’t participate in. Other than that, we brought him with us every night down by the jacuzzi (he stayed on a sunbed and closely watched us), we brought him along when swimming in the pool (and even convinced him to get in, too!). On our last day he even made a friend, since new guests came in with their 7 months old puppy! They hit it off immediately and played until exhaustion. 



This was the best vacation we had in a long time. While we travel a lot, we rarely get to not stress about anything, including Sami, our Westie. While he is a really good dog, we still stress about him bothering the other guests or running in the streets chasing a small animal. Not the case here.

Add to this the fact that we had the pool and the jacuzzi to use, the beach between the ocean and the lagoon to walk and the Portuguese food to eat and you understand why we can hardly wait to go back.

Overall we had an amazing time at the Hillside House Suites & SPA. It was a memorable vacation, actually the best one since we have Sami – and that’s largely due to how comfortable we felt staying here. The question, now, is when will we be back.


  • Beautiful, cozy apartment and spacious terrace with lovely view
  • Great ammenities
  • Super clean
  • Dogs allowed in the pool and at breakfast area
  • Staff is very friendly and accomodating
  • Plenty green spaces for the dog to play 
  • Close to the beach


  • They don’t serve lunch or dinner. 

This probably the only thing we would have liked to have, for lazy days when we didn’t feel like getting in the car to drive 10 minutes to the nearest restaurant. But again, that’s understandable, since most people don’t go on vacation to sit in their hotel all day long 🙂 They do have a fully equipped kitchen though, if you stay in one of their apartments, so you can shop for groceries and make it yourself, so that’s nice. There are also some good restaurants in 10-15 minutes of walking or 3-4 minutes of driving.

This is not a paid endorsement. We chose Hillside House on booking.com, based on the reviews and photos on the site, and paid with our own money. But we felt so good there, we had to write about it. I hope this review will help you decide where to stop if you ever visit Portugal with your puppy.