From the good old classics that already belong to the city’s history, to the most recent ones that bet on the design or on the boutique concept, these are the best luxury hotels in Lisbon. Intended for a very specific audience, for people with blue blood running through their veins we might say, these hotels were born and exist for all who refuse to let go of their whims.
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The best luxury hotels in Lisbon
The 30-year-old building underwent a recent facelift, giving Intercontinental its glow back. The decoration is both light and cosy and rooms have all the technology the 21st century requires – wi-fi is available everywhere. The Akla restaurant is famous for its steak tartar – among the city's best – and its exemplary wine cellar. Its vintage “azulejo” ceramic wall tiles alone will make a visit worthwhile. If you take one of the suites, you can have longer breakfast hours and room delivery. The hotel has a gym and private parking.
The Portuguese word “pousada” usually means no-frills lodging for short stays. That is not what's on offer here. The newest addition to the Pestana Group family is the fulfilment an old promise to the city; some doubters thought Lisbon would never be a part of the Pousadas de Portugal roster. Last year it finally came to be, as this “Pousada” with a capital P moved into a Pombaline-style building in the Terreiro do Paço, which once housed Portugal's Interior Ministry. Inside you will find a cosmopolitan, luxurious hotel, one that proudly displays its commitment to Portuguese arts. Its corridors and salons have art niches with tapestries by Nadir Afonso and sculptures of St. Anthony. The building's original high ceilings and wooden floors have been preserved.
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.
Picture yourself in a hotel that was once the main residence of a 19th century nobleman, the Marquis of Valle Flôr, a well-travelled man of refined taste. After his death, the building was left abandoned for more than 60 years, until being purchased by the Pestana group – who saw a diamond in the rough in this Petit Trianon of sorts. But only in 2001, after being designated a national monument, did the building open to the public as the Pestana Palace. It became the crown jewel of this hotel corporation, and it is considered one of the world's best luxury hotels. Madonna, a former guest, can attest to that.
The hotel is, inside and out, a worthy representative of late 1940s glamour. Its 70 rooms and suites, divided over six floors, are both kitschy and futuristic, with Art Déco features such as the golden, purple and wooden details, contrasting with the black and white contemporary decoration. The 16 Deluxe rooms have a balcony; all rooms have marble bathrooms and Egyptian cotton bed linens. Here's a tip – room 206 is the only one with a balcony in its bathroom. But if you really want the full retro-chic Altis experience, then ask for one of the (just two) suites.
At Torel Palace, a boutique hotel consisting of two old palaces, you will find the best of two worlds: the speedy pace you would expect from a capital city and the peace and quiet you only obtain in a rural environment. Lisbon is not the countryside, that's for sure, but in some of its nooks and crannies life continues to be unhurried. The rococo décor, full of golden and florid details (had Marie Antoinette vacationed in Lisbon, this is where she would have stayed), is just one of the distinguishing features of this hotel. Another one is its unbeatable, instagrammable view: no other hotel spreads itself down a hill with such a fantastic view of the São Pedro de Alcântara Viewpoint, overlooking the Tagus and the Pombaline city centre.
Behind its 19th century facade Valverde is a boutique hotel whose distinguishing features are its artistic side and its immaculate service. Let's start from the beginning. Right upon arrival you will notice how seriously the building's renovation works were taken. The hotel has a bold aesthetic that brings out its classic features. That might have resulted in a schizophrenic style but instead it became Valverde's calling card, a non-dull history lesson. The 25 rooms and suites vary in size and type – the building's original structure did not allow for any major alterations. However, even the smaller rooms (a little bigger than 20 square meters) make up for their size with large bathrooms including a shower and a tub.
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.