The best 4-star hotels in Lisbon
The International Design Hotel gets 10 out of 10 marks for its location, on the corner of the Rua da Betesga and the Rua Augusta, in the middle of the Rossio. It only lacks official recognition to be a national monument, with its ancient facade being one of Lisbon's oldest. A complete renovation in 2009 cleaned up the dust and brought the city centre a hotel with a strong personality. Its 55 rooms are small, you won't be able to throw a party in them, but they make up for that with their design options, based on four major themes: Urban, Feeling, Zen and Pop.
Young and stylish enough, this 45-room boutique hotel is located in the nexus between the Chiado and the renewed Ribeira das Naus (a riverside “beach” of sorts). It is geared at young folks, to whom it caters with an artsy but relaxed vibe. Lx Boutique Hotel acknowledges the city by telling its history in five theme floors, whose rooms have photo panels referring to fado, literature and Bairro Alto daily life. Some of those rooms have views of the Tagus, all have a Nespresso coffee machine. Being in the middle of the “movida” scene makes this hotel a typical example of the cool side of Lisbon that puts the city among the world's most seductive destinations.
Hidden in an old 17th century convent in a Lapa hill facing the Tagus, this small boutique hotel has been open for business for more than 100 years. Where once Carmelite sisters wandered, now tourists roam in search of their cloisters. True, the current configuration is modern, but this is not a party destination: rather it is a quiet haven away from the crowds, a peaceful sanctuary with an easy access to the city centre. You might even wonder if you had the right address on your way in, as you meet the unassuming lobby and the friendly but subdued staff.
Brown's Central is everything but dull. Despite being located in the middle of Pombaline dowtown in an old building, it does not seek to impress through its link to the city's history. Instead, it breaks through the stigma of the hotel as a closed-off space to be a meeting point and an arts venue. Its bar and restaurant both have a cultural program with pop-up concerts and chats, and they are trendy gathering points for artists and prospecting gallerists. The place has an arty feel: a revivalist style recreating the café scene of the early 20th century, combining vintage furniture and contemporary artworks.
The designer Graça Viterbo brought an original, intimate feel to this hotel, and thus gave the city centre back a comfortable and glamorous location – a hotel the way hotels used to be in the days before multinational chains. It has a mere 20 rooms – some of them with an amazing view of downtown and the Tagus. Ironically (considering this was once the castle's kitchen) there is no restaurant in the premises, but room service works around the clock with a menu of snacks and salads, and that should do if you're in a hurry. But if you get the evening blues and your body calls for serious nourishment, go out and seek one of the many nearby restaurants – but first wait for sunset, when the inner courtyard is lit.
The four-star 9 Hotel Mercy wants to bring a little bit of peace and quiet to one of Lisbon's most agitated streets. That might seem tricky, considering how busy the area's shops, bars, restaurants and monuments are, but the hotel is nice, calm place where you will feel like staying – and slowing down. The hotel has 47 rooms, some of them with a balcony or a patio, but the best view is from the sixth floor terrace, where you can see Lisbon all the way to the river, ideally with sunglasses on while holding a glass of wine.
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