It’s all about the view at these nine Lisbon hotspots
Famous for its yellow trams, cobbled streets and delicious pasteis de nata, Lisbon is no longer a secret. But only once you visit, do you realise that the loveliest thing about the city is its light – which dances off the Tagus River, dappling the quintessential red roofs and blue-tiled facades – best experienced from a height, preferably at one of these vantage points below.
Buried down a narrow cobbled street in the Moorish warren of Alfama, the capital’s oldest district, strains of fado, the soulful music that originated here. The hotel deck is an all year round delight with summer soaking in its red-lined swimming pool, a nod to the roofs that it looks onto, and an inviting fire pit for winter. Beneath you lie houses which have remained unchanged for centuries, washing still strung outside their windows, sardines grilling on their rooftops. Worth staying for the view alone.
Tv. Merceeiras 27; T:35.1 21049 5660, memmohotels.com
From its 360 degree viewing platform those with a head for heights can see across the river to the outstretched arms of the iconic Christ the King, the long red suspension bridge, the 25th April, and in the other direction the many spires of Lisbon’s churches. But go down a few steps to where the infinity pool seems to disappear into the Tagus River and you have half the view in double the comfort. It is the perfect place to sit with an early morning coffee to see dawn break or a drink whilst dusk descends.
R. de Santa Catarina 1, T: 35.1 211 573 055, verridesc.pt
Four Seasons Hotel Ritz
This iconic hotel was built in 1959 by the Dictator Salazar to prove that Lisbon could do luxury as well as any other European capital and it still remains at the top of its game, now managed by the Four Seasons group. Try the best beef tartare in town at its buzzy bar, explore its impressive collection of modern Portuguese art which decorates the opulent marble-clad interiors, go for its famous Sunday brunch or dip into the lavish spa. Best of all though, is the private rooftop running track which lets you exercise while Lisbon wakes beneath you.
R. Rodrigo da Fonseca 88; T: 35.1 21381 1400, fourseasons.com
Lying sleek and low beside the Tagus River, the cool, contemporary, interiors of the Altis Belém make an interesting contrast with the ancient monuments that neighbour it; from the 16th century, highly ornate, Manueline Monastery of Jerónimos to the Tower of Belem, which marked the departure point of those great navigators who were responsible for Portugal’s Golden Age. The hotel has a Michelin star restaurant, where Chef João Rodrigues skilfully weaves the spices that returned on the caravels into dazzling dishes, an excellent spa and a pool with a memorable view over the mighty river.
Doca do Bom Sucesso, T: 351 210 400 200, altishotels.com
This gem of a hotel is tucked away behind Lisbon’s grandest boulevard. Its 18th century façade has been beautifully preserved and interiors, courtesy of the Spanish designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán are a pictorial essay in tiles of blue and white. Huge tiled panels with ancient scenes from Portuguese history fill the lobby whilst in Limão, one of Lisbon’s prettiest rooftop bars, the blues and whites are geometric in design. Try one of barman Alexis Sousa’s famous cocktails whilst soaking up the far reaching views over the city to the Tagus River beyond.
81-83, Avenue Duque de Loulé, T: 351 213 182 000, www.h10hotels.com
In amongst tiled façades of pinks, and blues and ochre yellows, the beautifully renovated 18th century Lumiares looks across the capital’s red roofs up to the ancient castle of St. George which dominates the city skyline, and is best seen from its long and lovely rooftop terrace. Here you can enjoy a typical Portuguese steak sandwich or the moreish crispy croquettes of alheiro (Portuguese smoked sausage) and a wide selection of local wines. Beneath you are 53 suites surrounding a sweeping stone staircase which finishes in an elegant black and white chequer board lobby.
R. do Diário de Notícias 142; T: 35.1 21 116 0200, thelumiares.com
Making its debut as the group’s first five star offering, this 41 roomed hotel has a superb location in vibrant Principe Real, currently Lisbon’s most fashionable district. Open plan, warm interiors mix moss greens with pale oak, contemporary local art adorns the walls and the whole manages to reference Portuguese heritage whilst setting new levels of luxury for the 21st century. In front of their Cafe Colonial lies a long, gorgeously green swimming pool, surrounded by a deck and the outside Bar. From here you are rewarded by unimpeded views across Lisbon.
Rua D. pedro V, 56 J; T: 35.1 21 901 6800, memmohotels.com
More than any other city, Lisbon is all about the light, and here at Enretanto, the rooftop bar on the seventh floor of the Hotel do Chiado, you can bathe in it, with wide open skies before you, the chic, cobbled, district of Chiado beneath you and the Tagus River framing the horizon. The hotel itself was restored some years ago by Pritzker prize winning architect Siza Vieira. The Pink Affair is the cocktail to try – an intoxicating concoction of red fruit juice, cointreau and prosecco which is Lisbon’s answer to Venice’s Bellini.
R. Nova do Almada 114, T: 35.1 21 325 6100, hoteldochiado.pt