Lisbon is getting busier and we don’t mind that at all. With so many cool streets to go, shops to buy and restaurants from all over the world to experience, besides the good and old traditional ones, of course, you can end your holidays more tired than when you began. Whether you're looking for a relaxing treatment or to spend a full weekend, these hotels have the ideal recipe to forget the craziness of the urban life for a while. Lean back, place some cucumber in your eyes and enjoy some zen music at the best spa hotels in Lisbon.
The best spa 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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.