The best luxury hotels in Lisbon
Look out over the Tagus from one of the many windows in this glass tower. The InterContinental provides the lap of luxury, with elegant decor that harks back to the Golden Age of Hollywood glamour. There are vintage Azulejo ceramic tiles along the walls, the steak tartar at their exemplary restaurant Akla is well known and there's a wine cellar too. You can access free wifi everywhere in the building, use the onsite gym and take advantage of the private parking.
In Portugal the term pousada (hostel) is usually used to mean somewhere cheap and cheerful, but that's not the case here at all. Run by the SLH group – that's Small Luxury Hotels of the World – Pousada de Lisboa offers cosmopolitan luxury with a commitment to Portuguese art. Tapestries, sculptures and paintings line the lobby, stairwells, rooms and more. It's situated in the impressive Pombaline Interior Ministry building, which sits right on the banks of the Targus, overlooking Praça do Comércio.
The Corinthia's 518 rooms are sober and functional. They aim to please both business clients (full amenities are offered, including free wi-fi) and leisure travellers. The latter should get out of their room and explore the hotel's common areas. The Longevity Spa has hydrotherapy, a beauty and wellness centre and a panoramic gym; it is one of Lisbon's largest and best. A haven of quiet and comfort, Corinthia also has an excellent, twofold gastronomic offer. There's the traditional restaurant O Típico and the international cuisine of Sete Colinas. On Fridays there is live music at the Terrace Lounge bar, from which you can see the entire Águas Livres Aqueduct.
Given the name, you'd be right to assume that this hotel was once a palace – belonging to Marquis of Valle Flôr no less. You'd also be right in guessing that Pestana Palace is a five-star establishment that is so high-end that even Madonna has stayed here. You may well just rub shoulders with the stars if you stay here, but if not, at least you can take advantage of the spa, gym, indoor/outdoor pools and three restaurant/bars.
The five-star Altis Avenida harks back to the sumptuous design of the 1940s. Rich gold trim and slabs of marble run throughout, with lovely modernist touches. Despite the retro glamour, you can rest assured that they have all the mod cons. Enjoy an elegant lobby bar, rooftop restaurant (Rossio) and 24-hour room service. Plus they're pet-friendly, so you can bring Fido along (so long as he's under 15kg) and they'll provide a bed and bowls
Formed from two old mansions built in the heart of Lisbon (on Colina Sant'Ana), Torel Palace boasts crisp rococo décor. All over are golden and florid details fit for a French monarch and, as if that weren't Instagrammable enough, you can get the most stunning views of the city from here. Torel Palace sprawls down a hill that rolls down to São Pedro de Alcântara and the Tagus beyond. Rooms here provide free wifi, minifridges, Nespresso machines and flat-screen TVs. There's a pool on the hillside, a gym, restaurant and bar.
This historic building was protected from alterations when renovations were being made, so much of its nineteenth-century charm remains. Naturally, this means the 25 rooms vary hugely in size, but even the smallest ones (little more than 20sqm) are decked out beautifully and have en suites (with tubs). Each room also has a different aesthetic, from neoclassical to Scandi midcentury modern. Guests can enjoy cocktails or afternoon tea in the restaurant/bar, live fado twice a week and a walled pool garden.
Belém includes the city's most famous monuments, such as the Belém Tower, the Jerónimos Monastery and the Pastéis de Belém pastry shop (not, strictly speaking, a monument, but it might as well be). You would expect hotels to mushroom around here. But they don't, and so Altis Belém had space to grow undisturbed by competitors to become a luxury hotel with a Michelin restaurant. Modern on the inside and out, its trademark is the Tagus – it is very close to riverside. Within you will find a quasi-futurist setting unafraid of empty spaces and minimalist decoration, in a black and white scheme that only varies in theme rooms inspired by Portugal's former colonies.
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.
Some believe it is the world's most beautiful boutique hotel, and we won't say otherwise. Featuring only ten suites each with living and dining rooms, a bedroom and a bathroom, the intimate mood is so valued by the staff you might feel you're at a B&B. All the better for couples in a romantic mood, and for visiting celebrities in search of some peace and quiet. For the full experience, the Bartolomeu de Gusmão suite has three floors and a spiral staircase that once led to a minaret and now is a private space overlooking old Lisbon's rooftops and the Tagus river. Despite lacking a restaurant (there are good alternatives in the vicinities), the hotel won't mind fulfilling the occasional food eccentricity – within reasonable limits.
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).
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.
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 best thing about the Bairro Alto Hotel might be its location, right in the heart of Lisbon (if such a thing may be said to exist), at the Luís de Camões square, where Bairro Alto, Chiado, Cais do Sodré and Príncipe Real all come together: the perfect starting point for hitting every side of the city. In the vicinities you will find baroque churches, historic cafes, restaurants and shops; there is plenty to do for a day of strolling around. But it's at night, especially during the weekends, that the area really comes to life. Where it will lead, time will tell. You can be sure that returning to your room after a night out will be more or less like getting into heaven: a large, fluffy bed, perfect when you need a rest from a long day.
Porto Bay Liberdade offers the best of both worlds: a five-star city hotel's luxury, the relaxation and friendliness of a vacation resort. The location, just a couple of minutes from the Avenida da Liberdade, is an added bonus for tourists: in fifteen minutes, you can get to the traditional shops of the city centre or the Chiado. The hotel's name is a bit deceiving. You'd assume it has something to do with Portugal's second city, but actually it comes from Porto Santo, in the Madeira islands, where this group already has 11 other properties. This is their first in Lisbon. The 98 rooms on offer are utilitarian rather than dazzling, but they all have a choice of pillows, a tiny detail that can make or break your hotel stay. To make up for the lack of a spectacular panorama there is a rooftop lounge bar and jacuzzi.
Myriad SANA takes the most advantage of having the Tagus by its doorstep: the hotel is literally on top of the water, so there can be no better view of the river. The view is so great you might get seasick – there are rocking chairs by the room windows. The hotel is garishly decorated in tones of red, black and white, with mirrors everywhere. The 186 rooms are a bit more low-key in terms of colours, but the River Lounge Bar is a chromatic explosion. It has a Portuguese menu with a twist; in summer nights, enjoy going over it slowly on the outdoors tables overlooking the Tagus.The hotel's top floor is 143 metres high and holds the Sayana Wellness Spa, with an indoors panoramic pool, a gym, a hammam, a jacuzzi and a floatarium where you can experience zero gravity.
Hotel do Chiado was born in a Pombaline building brought back from the ashes by renowned architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, who made a point that every one of its 40 rooms should include a patio or a private balcony with a view towards the Tagus and the São Jorge castle hill. Lisbon begs to be gazed upon, and Hotel do Chiado is the perfect spot to do it – even more so from the Entretanto Rooftop Bar, where the panorama extends as far as the eye can see, all the way until the Arrábida Range. The insides of the hotel have been renovated more than once, and its early garish colours were replaced by a soberer look. Feng-shui principles dictate the room layout, with classic furniture and neutral tones to enhance the relaxing mood.
The Palácio do Governador (“governor's palace”) in Belém has an Age of Discoveries theme devised by designer Nini Andrade Silva, who drew from the building's history to create an identity for the hotel. A clear view of the Tagus, only a few metres away, is another charming detail. This isn't just another luxury hotel in the city; it is a true representative of Lisbon's character, cosmopolitan and extroverted. Inside, the architectural details were maintained whenever possible; the front desk, where a chapel used to be, still has the original masonry ceilings and tiled wainscots. The hall patio has traces of a factory that once laboured here, and some of the rooms (60 in total) still have arched brick ceilings.
Out of the former convent the only thing remaining is the frame; everything else was conceived from scratch. The old backyard became a hip lounge bar, with light wreaths and mood music to enliven the evenings; the old dining room is now a vibrant living room with a mezzanine for serving breakfast. Proud of its artistic side, the Convento do Salvador likes to lend its salons and walls to major Portuguese and Lusophone artists. Works by Sebastião Salgado, Júlio Pomar, João Cutileiro and Paula Rego are all on display. The lobby tiled panel was commissioned by the hotel to the Pedrita duo.