Years ago, several city districts were merged, a political move dismissed by many locals as a shotgun wedding that joined different neighbourhoods against it.
From afar the whole thing might seem blown out of proportion, but Lisbon has always been resistant to change, and Lisboners get easily riled when someone messes with their traditions. Interestingly enough, that does not extend to converting old estates into hotels. And Heritage Avenida da Liberdade happens to be a living example of a successful transition, a place where past, present and future live along in harmony. That is partly a result of hiring the same architect that designed the famous Buddha Bar in Paris or the Pacha in Marrakesh: Miguel Câncio Martins created a stylish hotel from a Pombaline-style 18th century building. The original outline remains unchanged, with its cast-iron balconies, stonework and tile walls. But the makeover made it fresh-faced, urbane and cosmopolitan, mixing the young and the old – an alchemy that earned it international recognition as one of Portugal's most successful restoration projects. You will see why right on your way in, with an old apothecary counter converted into a tea station, and the mezzanine turned into a library.
It is a small hotel, 41 rooms, with a range of amenities you wouldn't expect from a location merely six storeys tall: a gym, an inner pool with a hand-painted mural and a relaxation area.
When it comes to picking a room, you get to choose between great views or lots of space. Take our advice and ask for the attic to get the finest window over Lisbon, with a view to the castle and the historic centre.
There are no restaurants on the premises, but room service works around the clock. The lobby is also a bar, with a wine list, cocktails, light snacks and a breakfast room.