The best 4-star hotels in Lisbon
A day in the life of the world's best – this is the Pestana Group's proposal at the new CR7, the chain's second hotel (the first is located in Funchal, Madeira) inspired by Portugal's celebrated footballer and aimed at a millennial crowd. Interactive, modern and connected, Pestana CR7 brings to Lisbon a seductive offer: to have a glimpse at a day in the life of Ronaldo, and enjoy the same comforts and extravagances that the Real Madrid star expects to find away from home.
Roger Moore, Romy Schneider, Brigitte Bardot, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were among its many famous guests. In the 1950s, tourism in Lisbon didn't go much beyond the city centre and castle areas. Staying in this hotel at the Martim Moniz square, a couple of minutes' walk from the Rossio, thus meant staying smack in the middle of the fun part of town, right next to all the typical food joints, the theatre houses and Lisbon's bohemian nightlife spots. More than half a century later, a lot has changed in the city, but Mundial's reputation remains intact. The square earned and then ditched a “rough” image, and has now become a fusion food market. As Lisbon grew, so did the Mundial, while keeping its old charm.
Located within the old palace of the Counts of Paraty, it is a small deluxe hotel with the kind of gardens and outdoors areas that few city hotels enjoy. With only 19 rooms and suites, at the Hotel da Estrela luxury doesn't mean officiousness. The staff is thoughtful but not overwhelming, and whatever flaws they might have, they make up for it with their kindness and effort. Most of the staff are young and fresh out of hospitality school. Right in the vicinity, the Estrela garden is a local favourite on sunny weekends, but you might have to fight to get a free square metre of lawn, so you may want to enjoy the Lisbon sun quietly at the hotel's garden and swimming pool.
Upon entering 4 João das Regras you will find an unusual lobby, with brass walls and marble columns welcoming you to the Boutique Hotel. Inside are 53 rooms in a contemporary style, low on frills but high on comfort, most of them facing the João das Regras street – named after a nobleman whose actual surname was João de Aregas; in the great game of telephone of history, the original Aregas became a rather more colourful “Regras”, the Portuguese word for “rules”. The street lies next to the Figueira Square, in the centre of which is a statue of Portuguese king João I, whose cognomen was Of Happy Memory, and whose ascent to the throne was partly due to that “rules” fellow.
Mission brilliantly accomplished: the result is there for all to see at the welcoming As Janelas Verdes, a 29-room manor where every corner has traces of the literary and artistic heritage of one of Portugal's most important novelists. There is a friendly mood to the place, perfect for lovebirds looking for the romantic side of Lisbon. The furniture is very much the same as when Eça sat at his wooden desk facing the Tagus to write “The Maias”. The armchairs, oil paintings, heavy drapes and the gorgeous stone and cast iron staircase leading to the top floor library are all original 19th century pieces.
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.
A few years ago, the city's most traditional district had little to offer tourists apart from some local lodgings and budget hostels. A less money-conscious traveller looking for a fuller experience would have to look elsewhere. That lasted until the day the Memmo Group decided to up the stakes and start Alfama's first boutique hotel worthy of that name, youthful in spirit but much more ambitious than its neighbours. It is not a luxury hotel, neither is it meant to be one. Memmo wants to be a home away from home, and that requires an informal mood that would not fit in with the five-star model.
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.
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.
Upon stepping into the lobby, you will realize the hotel is much more ambitious than you might have previously thought. Don't expect gold-plated walls, but this utilitarian hotel has earned a positive reputation for its good taste and friendliness. It is a favourite among the LGBT community. There are 89 rooms; those on the ground floor are the plainest, but even they have a Nespresso machine, free wi-fi, glass window showers and biodegradable amenities by Ominsens - stuff worthy of a five-star hotel. Feng-shui principles determine the hotel configuration both inside and outside the rooms, which are ample, minimalist and very comfortable.
Looking for the personal touch?
That Lisbon doesn’t lack hotels, everyone knows. And that the number of hotels has risen considerably over the last few years – a result of the worldwide hype around our city – is also a well-known fact. That being said, we swooped the whole of the city’s hotel industry to bring you the best boutique hotels in Lisbon. Considered the rich cousin of the not-so-fancy Bed&Breakfast, boutique hotels are known for their personality and cosy environment. The laidback mood is designed to make guests feel at home, and these certainly knew how to do it. Recommended: The best Lisbon attractions