The best family-friendly hotels in Lisbon
Hidden among the mansions of four-surname-plus-two-hyphen-named families, this 19th century manor house is as close as it gets to a modern day royal palace. Its classical imperial style will have you constantly gaping even if you think you're immune to the charms of a wooden dresser, an elegant curtain or a crystal chandelier. The decoration and the landscape are different in each room (some face the Tagus, others the exotic garden). The palace suites have the largest four poster beds you will ever see, wherein two people can stretch diagonally and not touch each other. The gym with its heated swimming pool and the spa are great indoors options for a relaxed time, but on sunny days it's a sin not to enjoy the garden and the outer pool.
For more than eight decades in business (the hotel was built in 1933), the Tivoli's group grew and expanded within and outside the city. Its Avenida da Liberdade firstborn remains one the city's classics. Lisbon is not New York but if you had to draw a comparison, you'd say the Tivoli is Lisbon's version of the Big Apple's Plaza when it comes to fame, recognition and location. The Avenida da Liberdade, with its designer shops and international brands such as Cartier, Gucci and Louis Vuitton is not far behind Manhattan's 5th. In 2016, its Thai owners invested 15 million euros in a total makeover of the rooms and common areas. You don't want to mess with perfection, though: no changes were made to the top floor terrace, proud host of the Sky Bar, one of Lisbon's hippest rooftops, nor to the botanic garden with a swimming pool.
This Belle Époque style hotel opened for business in 1892, and has often been praised as one of Europe's finest and prettiest. It was designed by José Luís Monteiro, the same master builder who conceived the facade of the nearby Rossio train station. Avenida Palace precedes by many decades the big tourist boom. It survived the Portuguese republican revolution, the Spanish civil war and both world wars, while being a major venue for political intrigue and espionage – or so some say. Its 82 rooms and suites face Lisbon's centre. The bathrooms are marble, the decoration is Spartan.
At a time when Lisbon's hotel business turned towards smaller, more intimate boutique hotels, the SANA Group parked right next to the Amoreiras a five-star giant with a surprisingly warm and family-style customer care, as if to prove that size really doesn't matter. The 291 rooms and suites are a luxury proposition. Their minimalist décor highlights their generous size and spaciousness, making their king-sized beds the centre of attentions. Bathrooms are also worthy of mention, with their huge showers and tubs, so large you will feel like soaking in a bath all day long and fall asleep (we're not saying that's what happened, but we're not saying it didn't either).
Miguel Câncio Martins, the same architect that designed the famous Buddha Bar in Paris or the Pacha in Marrakesh, created this 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.
Portuguese high society's golden age was about to come, but 1950s Lisbon was still behind its peers in terms of luxury accommodations. There were a couple of hotels with a good international reputation, but not much else. And then came the Ritz, in 1959. Its grand opening was a hot ticket, with more than two thousand guests and a French hotel's refinement in its decoration and service. The luxury remains and this five star hotel is still one of the city's most popular. “No” is a taboo word here; ask for anything and the hotel will get it for you. Designed by award-winning architect Pardal Monteiro, the building is a city landmark.
Designed in 1940 by modernist architect Cassiano Branco, Hotel Britania remains genuine and true to itself, and that's what makes it so special. Ignoring the competition and thoroughly uninterested in adapting to 21st century trends, its calling card is simplicity – not everyone needs state of the art technology or contemporary furniture to feel home. Perennially voted as one of the hotels with the nicer staff, its team is devoted to turning every stay into a guided tour through the golden age of European architecture. There are 32 rooms (and a suite) decorated in grey and wooden tones, and they are both comfortable and spacious. Some of them have balconies and cork floors, but most have classic marble floors, the same material used in the lobby.
The 91-metre tall giant hides within its walls one of the most effective staffs you will ever find (they even have a medical department). Its 369 rooms will make you want to move in. We don't even mean the ten executive suites, whose generous areas make them larger than many Lisbon apartments; the standard rooms are breathtaking enough in its style and luxury features, such as Bang & Olufsen LCD screens, marble bathrooms and delightful beds by Sheraton's exclusive brand, Sweet Sleeper. Only the Club Rooms include breakfast, free wi-fi and access to a panoramic lounge with a bar and light meals service, the place where we suspect VIPs go to dodge meetings. In other rooms, the buffet breakfast (you might as well call it lunch, considering the absurd amount of available hot and cold plates) costs 23€ and Internet access costs 15€ per 24 hours (there's free wi-fi in public areas).
The rooms are great, large and comfy, both classic and relaxed, but it's the rest of the Plaza that truly sings. The original decoration mixes the old and the new with a delightful zest: old furniture and designer pieces, brightly painted walls and marble rooms with armchairs and rocking chairs. Some traces remains of the 1950s, when the hotel opened for business as a meeting point for the artists that drew crowds to the nearby Parque Mayer. It has been managed ever since by the same family, who remained committed throughout the years to the hotel's informal and bohemian style.
This luxury hotel in the back of the Avenida da Liberdade invites its guests to gather in lively soirées where great writers are remembered. Its 107 rooms got their names from Virginia Woolf, Stendhal, Shakespeare or Mark Twain; snippets of their work hover above the bedposts. Drop by the bar and say hi to Dickens and step inside the conference room to witness an unlikely meeting of Pessoa and Cervantes. All of it is surrounded by a modern atmosphere, with light cascading over design furniture and black marble floors suggesting the hotel's creative personality. Eurostar is unusual in its price – much lower than what you'd might expect in a five-star hotel. But that doesn't mean the staff is any less friendly or the array of services any narrower.