The best spa hotels in Lisbon
Lisbon is an all-round show pony when it comes to cracking views (all those hill-climbs have to count for something), but the InterContinental takes the cake for having one of the best. Pair the sweeping city vista with the hotel’s prime position near the swanky Avenida da Liberdade and you’ve got yourself a winner. Last year the hotel underwent a renovation, so everything here looks exceptionally swish. Choose from a classic room, executive or suite – complete with marble bathrooms – and doze off in a cloud-like bed surrounded by cosy furnishings at the end of the day. There's a restaurant in-house called Akla, as well as the bar Uptown, and nearby is the Marquês de Pombal metro.
The unassuming exterior of the Corinthia is a mere smokescreen masking an opulent interior. This fancy five-star hotel’s seemingly low-key status makes it a magnet for the powers of the world, with guests such as Hillary Clinton passing through its doors. Set over 24 storeys, Corinthia welcomes guests with a marble lobby flanked by the creations of both Portuguese and foreign artists. The 518 rooms have calming, earthy colours and provide AC, cable TV, wifi and luxury toiletries. Elsewhere around the hotel you'll find a gym, a pool, spa, two restaurants serving traditional Portuguese cuisine, a bar and gardens with waterfalls.
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.
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.
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).
Miguel Câncio Martins, the same architect that designed the famous Buddha Bar in Paris or the Pacha in Marrakesh, created this stylish hotel from a Pombaline-style 18th century building. The original outline remains unchanged, with its cast-iron balconies, stonework and tile walls. But the makeover made it fresh-faced, urbane and cosmopolitan, mixing the young and the old – an alchemy that earned it international recognition as one of Portugal's most successful restoration projects. You will see why right on your way in, with an old apothecary counter converted into a tea station, and the mezzanine turned into a library. It is a small hotel, 41 rooms, with a range of amenities you wouldn't expect from a location merely six storeys tall.
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 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).
Born in 2010, Inspira Santa Marta is like a Kinder chocolate egg – plain on the outside, full of surprises within. Upon stepping into the lobby, you will realize the hotel is much more ambitious than you might have previously thought. Don't expect gold-plated walls, but this utilitarian hotel has earned a positive reputation for its good taste and friendliness. It is a favourite among the LGBT community. There are 89 rooms; those on the ground floor are the plainest, but even they have a Nespresso machine, free wi-fi, glass window showers and biodegradable amenities by Ominsens - stuff worthy of a five-star hotel. Feng-shui principles determine the hotel configuration both inside and outside the rooms, which are ample, minimalist and very comfortable.