24-Hour Room Service: Fontana Park, Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon's sleepy hotel scene has been undergoing a quiet revolution. Two design hotels opened last year: the 65-bedroom Jeronimos 8, in the historic suburb of Belem, was completed in August; and on Boxing Day, the larger Fontana Park Hotel in central Lisbon welcomed its first guests.

Local response to both has been enthusiastic, and in the case of the Fontana Park, positively rapturous.

During my stay shortly after it opened, a small but steady stream of stylish Lisboans flowed in to take a look at the striking lobby and bar area, exclaiming over the sheer impact of this large space, and the dramatic juxtaposition of black floors and illuminated walls of opaque glass.

Countering the starkness of the black-and-white effect, several floor-to-ceiling photographs of trees add shades of green and brown.

The building dates from 1908, and was constructed as a factory for iron products. The façade and some ironwork near the entrance have been retained from this period, and although much of the rest of the hotel is entirely new in construction, a subtle sense of industrial reclamation prevails through the play of clean lines and the use of micronised concrete on some walls and other surfaces.

Facilities include a courtyard garden into which the bar area will spill through rolled-back doors during the summer, and two restaurants: Bonsai, for sushi and other Japanese dishes, and the all-white Saldanha-Mar, which has an open grill area and serves well-priced Mediterranean and Portuguese cuisine (grilled shrimps, for example, at €10/£7.70, and pork with clams at €12/£9). It was already drawing fashionable local diners during my visit.

As a brand new operation, careful consideration has been given to green policies. Behind the scenes, the hotel has implemented extensive environmentally friendly measures, particularly in its use of the latest energy- and water-saving equipment.

Location

Fontana Park Hotel, rua Engenheiro Vieira da Silva 2, Lisbon, Portugal (00 351 21 357 6212; www.fontanaparkhotel.com), is a few kilometres north of Lisbon's central railway station and major sights. The heart of the city, around Praca da Figueira, is about 35 minutes away on foot (downhill all the way), or seven minutes by metro from Saldanha station, just around the corner from the hotel. Despite the hotel's name, there is no park here: Praca Jose Fontana down the road is a leafy street with a small square. Such quibbles aside, this is a pleasant business neighbourhood that is becoming increasingly fashionable as a hotel and residential area.

There are smart stores and restaurants beside the metro station, while for a flavour of old-time Lisbon you can visit the morning fruit-and- vegetable market, Mercado 31 Janeiro, right opposite the hotel.

Time from international airport: Lisbon airport is a 10-minute drive away (allow 20 minutes at peak periods), costing around €8 (£6.15) in a taxi.

Comfortable?

Furnished in black and white, the 139 rooms are pared-down chic and generously proportioned. Standard features include a wall-mounted flat-screen TV and a small desk area. Bathrooms have black granite floors and smoked-glass screening. My room had high windows giving on to a balcony that offered good views west over the city.

Freebies: Bathrooms are stocked with Rituals "body cosmetics", such as ginseng and peony shampoo and mandarin and mint soap.

Keeping in touch: Chargeable Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.

The Bottom Line

Double rooms start at €185 (£142), including breakfast.

I'm not paying that: The Sheraton (00 351 21 312 0000; www.sheraton.com), very nearby at rua Latino Coelho 1, has recently reopened after a radical refurbishment. For all the Seventies tower-block exterior, its rooms are sleekly contemporary, with ultra-modern lighting. Doubles from €125 (£96), including breakfast.

Suggested Topics
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'