The best spa hotels in Lisbon
Myriad SANA takes the most advantage of having the Tagus by its doorstep: the hotel is literally on top of the water, so there can be no better view of the river. The view is so great you might get seasick – there are rocking chairs by the room windows. The hotel is garishly decorated in tones of red, black and white, with mirrors everywhere. The 186 rooms are a bit more low-key in terms of colours, but the River Lounge Bar is a chromatic explosion. It has a Portuguese menu with a twist; in summer nights, enjoy going over it slowly on the outdoors tables overlooking the Tagus.The hotel's top floor is 143 metres high and holds the Sayana Wellness Spa, with an indoors panoramic pool, a gym, a hammam, a jacuzzi and a floatarium where you can experience zero gravity.
Vila Galé Ópera has been operating for 15 years, but seems ageless. Maybe the Tagus breeze blows youth into it. This hotel has definitely not lost its sense purpose: located right next to the Lisbon Congress Centre, it draws a business rather than a leisure crowd, and therefore it commits itself to be the best possible host for business travellers. The hotel is also very welcoming for those travelling with children, since its 243 rooms come in different sizes, including family rooms. And because life is meaningless if you can't have some fun, beyond conference rooms there is also a health club with a gym, an indoors pool and a bar serving appetizers. There is also a restaurant with regional food tastings accompanied by fine Alentejo wines.
The Altis Grand Hotel makeover was both silent and effective, and drew very little attention. It was a needed change at a time when competition and demand levels spiked, forcing veteran contenders to move into the 21st century. The Altis Grand Hotel renovated its (300) rooms, making them lighter and more comfortable, including new technology and large bathrooms. If you knew the “old” Altis, you will be amazed by the Spa, the renovation's masterpiece, with its swimming pool, Turkish baths, sauna e treatment rooms. The D. Fernando restaurant suggests Portuguese traditional cuisine, with a strong emphasis on fresh fish from Portugal's coastline. If you want a broader range of options, go up to the Campo de Ourique district and walk around until you find something that catches your fancy.
The Palácio do Governador (“governor's palace”) in Belém has an Age of Discoveries theme devised by designer Nini Andrade Silva, who drew from the building's history to create an identity for the hotel. A clear view of the Tagus, only a few metres away, is another charming detail. This isn't just another luxury hotel in the city; it is a true representative of Lisbon's character, cosmopolitan and extroverted. Inside, the architectural details were maintained whenever possible; the front desk, where a chapel used to be, still has the original masonry ceilings and tiled wainscots. The hall patio has traces of a factory that once laboured here, and some of the rooms (60 in total) still have arched brick ceilings.
The hotel might look a bit conceited at first, but that self-confidence is justified. Its 113 rooms are simultaneously chic, vintage and practical (some of them have a balcony facing the street). Bathrooms are luxurious, pristinely white and they have an integrated Bluetooth sound system. Everything else is about living the good life. The hotel restaurant tries to innovate, with a contemporary menu with dashes of traditional cuisine to go along with a good selection of Portuguese wines. Any other food emergency can be settled at the front desk, any time of the day. As for the pool, we regret not having spent more time there: its warm water felt great while outside it was rainy and windy. We didn't check the temperature outside, but as we left the pool our skin was steaming.