By Time Out Lisbon editors
Posted: Wednesday August 8 2018
When it comes to the most romantic cities in the world, Lisbon easily makes the top five. You can take dreamy strolls through the tile-fronted terraces or along the beach, the cafes offer perfect pastries over which you can stare lovingly into each other's eyes, and there are a wealth of luxury hotels in which romance can't help but blossom. Whether that's because of a delicious breakfast is served in bed or because you’ll get highly emotional with the breathtaking views, Lisbon's charming accommodation will make you fall in love even more. Pick your perfect fit now with our guide to the best romantic hotels in Lisbon.
The modern Memmo Príncipe Real is the third addition to Memmo’s portfolio in Portugal and is in one of the city’s trendiest neighbourhoods. The hotel sits perched on a hill so offers jaw-dropping views of the orange-speckled cityscape from the terrace bar and room balconies. This area is cool and cosmopolitan with a high concentration of boutique shops, chic cafés and snazzy restaurants, which suits the hotel to a tee. Rooms have clean lines and modern furnishings, with homey extras like faux fur throw rugs, a daily tip of things to do in the area, and ingredients to make your own port tonic cocktails upon arrival.
Pousada translates roughly as 'no-frills', but don't expect that at Pousada de Lisboa. After all, it's owned by the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group and the finish and service is of the highest quality. Inside you can gaze upon the hotel's commitment to Portuguese arts, as its corridors and public spaces are filled with tapestries by Nadir Afonso, sculptures of St Anthony and more. It's not a museum-hotel, but it's close. There are 90 rooms and suites of varying sizes, all of them comfortable and spacious.
A stay at Pestana Palace Lisboa is a stay at one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Seriously. Even Madonna stays here when she's in town. Dating back to the 1800s, this colonial mansion once belonged to the Marquis of Valle Flôr, and has been designated a national monument. You don't need to stay here to be able to visit, but if you can afford it, you'll get to experience one of its outrageously elegant 200-odd rooms and suites, the old ballrooms, Valle Flôr restaurant and its traditional Portuguese fare, and the sprawling gardens.
Nostalgia is said to be a quintessentially Portuguese state of mind, and we might be inclined to agree if you admit we have reasons for it. Just walk around downtown and Lisbon's historic centre and gaze at the city's architectural legacy. That is part of what makes Lisbon so unique: the city has a foot in the past but still looks confidently into the future. Altis Avenida might be the nexus where both strands meet. Urban-chic and 1940s-inspired decor come together beautifully throughout the building. Its 70 rooms feature art deco flourishes, with all the mod-cons: think Nespresso machines, minibar, electric blackout blinds and an a la carte pillow list. On the top floor you'll find the Rossio restaurant.
We may find it endlessly annoying that there is no subway stop near Estrela, but it's not that hard to go up the Avenida Álvares Cabral to get to one of the city's nicest (and busiest) gardens. On your way there, in a street parallel to the aforementioned avenue, you will find the Hotel da Estrela – a unique, cosy and intimate place. There are only 19 rooms, each of which are bright, clean and soundproofed. They also include en suites with walk-in showers, cable TV, seating areas and a minibar.
The whole of Lisbon's downtown owes a lot to the Marquis of Pombal, and that includes the Alma Lusa Baixa/Chiado. The hotel resides in an eighteenth-century Pombaline building, which was renovated and opened as the Alma in 2016. Despite the extensive history however, the interior is exceptionally modern. Its 28 rooms are clean and cool, with separate seating areas, kitchenettes and city views. Even if you don't end up staying at the Alma Lusa Baixa, pay a visit to the Delfina restaurant, where traditional delicacies are given new life with exotic seasonings.
There can be no greater luxury than staying in the city centre while keeping the urban noise at bay and enjoying country-style tranquility. Torel Palace – set up, in fact, in two former palaces – offers that and much more thanks to its well hidden spot between Torel garden and Lavra elevator. A stay here can truly provide peace and quiet when you're not out exploring the bustling city. While back at the hotel, you should take a dip in the pool, get a drink in the bar – one of Lisbon's most exclusive open-air bars – and grab a bite to eat at the restaurant, Cave 23.
Getting to know and enjoy traditional Lisbon does not necessarily mean getting a room in one of the historic centre's narrow, slippery streets. There are more convenient, equally attractive alternatives that will allow you to learn the ways of the city without finding yourself in the middle of the tourist bubble. The Valverde, in the Avenida da Liberdade, is the perfect choice for that. On display inside are century-old tiles, fine china, old tapestries and vintage furniture, including Moorish heritage carved wooden pieces and marble inlays from days when stone was a mandatory building material for any proper house. Contemporary art is represented by Vieira da Silva works, adding to the hotel's artistic credentials. The 25 rooms aren't huge, but they're comfortable and have sizeable bathrooms (considering).
We're not really sure why, but Belém remains one of Lisbon's most underserved areas in terms of hotels. Especially considering all the major attractions in the area: Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery and the Pastéis de Belém pastry shop, to name but a few. This lack of hotels has, however, allowed Altis to grow a modern, luxury hotel right beside the Tagus. This five-star stay offers stunning design inside and out, a Michelin-starred restaurant, rooms with balconies, a pool, spa, Turkish baths and hydrotherapy treatments.
In the middle of one of Lisbon's poshest neighbourhoods lies one of its most expensive luxury hotels – Olissippo Lapa Palace. It's not the easiest spot to reach, as the Lapa is a maze of steep and narrow streets – but everything else is incredible. It's a breathtaking nineteenth-century manor house overlooking the Tagus, with expertly landscaped gardens that surround the sun-kissed pool and ornate marble halls. Each room varies in decor, but they're all elegant, with views of the water or the garden. Elsewhere there's a gym, a spa and the restaurant serves Italian cuisine.
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.
Architect Pardal Monteiro did a stellar job on the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz. The vast concrete exterior looks like a monument in itself, especially the bits carved with murals, but the interior will take your breath away. Get ready for marble-floored halls, huge candelabras, golden furniture, table-wide flower arrangements and art collections, both modern and historic, about whose history you can learn more through the hotel's app. The spa is the finest in the city, with an eighteen-metre indoor pool, mani-pedis with vegan products and over 700 square metres for sports and fitness, including a gym, sauna, Turkish bath, pilates studio and an 400-metre running track on the roof of the hotel.
Located in the Janelas Verdes street, near the Museum of Ancient Art, this is much more than just a hotel with a pretty facade. Every one of its nine rooms and seven suites is unique. Some of them have a view to the Tagus, the others to the inner courtyard, but all of them are faithful to its original architecture, with wooden floors, big windows and painted ceilings. The “wow” moment will come when you open the door to a suite that used to be the palace's kitchen, and gaze at an enormous fireplace. But even that might not be as wondrous as the chapel suite, with its tiled walls and king-sized bed. Ramalhete has something of a double personality: a classical side allied to a more modern perspective.
But 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.
Its 66 rooms are not particularly large but they are comfortable and surprisingly well lit, considering how narrow its windows are. The pillow menu is a charming little touch to make up for the diminutive size of the rooms. The hotel comes with two other fine surprises: the Lounge Bar with its relaxed feel, for sipping cocktails; and the Tapas & Friends restaurant, whose purpose is quite clear – unpretentious Portuguese and Spanish snacks for sharing at lunch and dinnertime in the prettiest room of the hotel, a marble-arched hall whose huge windows face the street. Breakfast will prove the theory that you can eat with your eyes. The buffet has a little bit of everything you might crave in the mornings.
Hotel Alegria (“joy”) is one of those timeless classics guaranteed never to go out of style. Its decoration successfully meshes the young and the new, with vintage restored furniture next to design pieces. Everything is rather classic, but there are some bold dashes of colour (for instance, in the same room you will find a blue sofa right in front of a pink one) that will make you smile and nod in agreement. Joy, right? Hotel Alegria might as well be an early 20th century bourgeois family manor, a home full of happy people with a contagious joie de vivre. The hotel is not particularly big but its 30 rooms are all quite spacious and well designed to take maximum advantage of the available sunlight. That extra space in the rooms conquered at the expense of common areas: there is just a breakfast room (no restaurant at the hotel) and the bar, whose cocktail menu is worth looking into.