The best romantic hotels in Lisbon
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.
Inside are 53 rooms in a contemporary style, low on frills but high on comfort, next to the Figueira Square. This is an excellent area of the city, close to the Rossio, the Chiado and the Cathedral, where you can enjoy the best Lisbon has to offer without having to go far. This includes the Deck, a traditional Lisbon patio turned into a café. The Portugal Boutique Hotel also offers other quality alternatives, including access to the bar and two restaurants at the nearby Hotel Mundial. One of these is the Varanda de Lisboa, where traditional Portuguese food is served with a panoramic view to the city and the river.
Its 72 rooms come with a choice of view, according to how much peace and quiet you require. There is the front of the hotel, overlooking the busy Avenida da Liberdade, a lovely boulevard with its share of heavy traffic and nervous honking; or you can face the backyard patio, where the bar's outdoors tables are placed, which offers a rare commodity in the city centre: silence. Conceived by and for young people, in Fontecruz the leisure areas share an open space with the lobby. After checking in we felt tempted to immediately take a detour towards the bar before going up to the room, but we're well behaved and waited patiently until 2pm. At the Bar Small and Delicious (also a restaurant), the gin menu has scores of choices, which connaisseurs will appreciate.
Graça Viterbo, one of the busiest interior decorators in the country, was tasked with turning a palace where writer Eça de Queirós once lived into a boutique hotel. 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.
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. There are 42 rooms of varying sizes, some with a balcony, others with larger areas to make up for a less inspiring view, and yet a few quieter ones overlooking the inner courtyard.
The International Design Hotel's 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.
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.
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.
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.
This luxury hotel in the back of the Avenida da Liberdade invites its guests to gather in lively soirées where great writers are remembered. Its 107 rooms got their names from Virginia Woolf, Stendhal, Shakespeare or Mark Twain; snippets of their work hover above the bedposts. Drop by the bar and say hi to Dickens and step inside the conference room to witness an unlikely meeting of Pessoa and Cervantes. All of it is surrounded by a modern atmosphere, with light cascading over design furniture and black marble floors suggesting the hotel's creative personality. Eurostar is unusual in its price – much lower than what you'd might expect in a five-star hotel. But that doesn't mean the staff is any less friendly or the array of services any narrower.