It’s no wonder everyone’s banging on about Lisbon. Just look at it, for one: a time capsule in the mould of Paris, with modern draws like innovative restaurants and fearless design. The weather is flawless – warm enough in winter and cool enough in summer to explore unhampered. Plus, it sits handily in a GMT time zone.
As for hospitality, Lisbon occupies that sweetest of spots, offering VIP treatment at delightfully retro prices. All that makes the city a most unique prospect for a weekend break. Just make sure to go soon. All the attention is bound to get to its head…
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Best for families: Martinhal Chiado
Worth every penny of its not-outrageous price, Martinhal stuffs every corner with play kitchens, bouncy mats, colourful upholsteries, even a mini BMW to “drive” at mealtimes – to the point your kids may not want to leave. That’s OK, too: the Baby Concierge and Pyjama Club will cover you in the evenings. Come morning, top sights – including the vintage 28 Tram – are walkable in minutes.
Doubles from €292
Best for the location: AlmaLusa
AlmaLusa scored real estate in an enchanting praça straddling two covetable neighbourhoods, and does the setting justice with antique tiling, silk rugs, dreamy hand-embroidered linens and fortified Juliet balconies. It’s remarkably quiet, despite its position; you can watch trams trundling past each morning while nibbling pastries on the piazza, but you can’t hear them at bedtime. The destination restaurant Delfina, serving baccalau à brás and traditional bread stew, means you don’t really need to leave for a local scene.
Doubles from €85
Best for stags and hens: Hall Chiado
An unsigned home-from-home with door-code access, this “not a hotel” is cheap and exceedingly cheerful. Sunlight streams in past iron balconies, and a full-kitchen option with a breakfast bar mitigates the absence of an in-house restaurant. The suite (from €90) sleeps five in two ample rooms. Store your baggage as long as you need in the lockers, provided in the lobby.
Doubles from €60
Best for couples: Memmo Principe Real
Neighbourhood: Principe Real
Life looks rosy from a table for two overlooking the terracotta roofs of old Lisbon. This is the grandest quarter of the city after all, and the boutique Memmo chain has improved on its downtown location with this hilltop aerie. A top-floor terrace shrouded in glass and ferns houses a saltwater pool and cocktail lounge. Mood-lit rooms are warmed by faux fur throws and fireplaces on the terrace – all the better for sipping your complimentary port digestif.
Doubles from €225
Best for views: NH Collection Lisboa Liberdade
Neighbourhood: Principe Real
The Liberdade takes Memmo’s fourth-storey pool and raises it seven more – that’s a helluva panorama-for-pound ratio. This rooftop has views to the Tagus river and a bar open until midnight. Book a superior room with a view and you’ll get those same vistas for just €15 more. All rooms are done up in basic neutrals, but the wood floors and marble fixtures are super cool, in every sense.
Doubles from £100
Best for feeling at home: Casa do Barao
It’s the smart family home you wish you’d been invited to by an intellectual friend. A tranquil, unstaffed foyer behind charming double doors leads to a well-stocked library full of tufted leather and contemplative atmosphere. Art-filled rooms atop the elegant curved staircase mix contemporary design with quirky walnut antiques. Take breakfast on your private garden terrace or under a lemon tree by the trickling pool.
Doubles from €98
Best for a neighbourhood feel: Lisboa Carmo Hotel
Past a ruined 14th century convent on a cobbled square shaded by jacaranda, Carmo sits on a grid of quiet residential streets, although the city’s best boutiques are steps away. Inside, staff are old-school obliging and floor-to-ceiling windows have views to the castle – just make sure to get one on the third floor or higher, facing the square, where you’ll also have your own balcony.
Doubles from €68
Best bargain design: Hotel Convento do Salvador
White, wide open spaces with cool, clever nooks make this former convent one of the loveliest spots for lounging in the labyrinthine, old Alfama district – whether or not you’re a guest. You’ll need the rest after climbing up the steep neighbourhood streets to the door. Squint and the furnishings in the immaculate rooms look just enough like designer classics for the price. That said, there’s still a bit of a dormitory feel about the place, though.
Doubles from €70
Best for partying: Teatro B&B
Neighbourhood: Bairro Alto
It’s two streets away from the spill-out bars of Lisbon’s buzziest area, but far enough to sleep through the worst of it. Stumble home from a night on the tiles (actually embedded in the pavements) into your onyx shower and hit the sheets surrounded by trompe l’oeil curtains, cherubs, pillars and more mirrors than necessary. Breakfast – in a velvet banquette, designed along the elegant curves of the building – waits for late sleepers.
Doubles from €129
Best for staying in: Bairro Alto Hotel
Neighbourhood: Bairro Alto
When renovations wrap up in spring 2019, this neighbourhood destination will have transformed itself from louche party pad to tailored pied à terre. Chic fabrics by local designers cover every seat and surface – even the walls. Herringbone marble floors extend from the vast bathrooms to the shimmery grotto bar, still popular with Lisbon’s beau monde. The Bairro Alto bars beckon from across the road, or you can watch the revelry from the safety of the rooftop lounge. Stay in for the great in-house bar.
Doubles from €279 (pre-opening offer – includes breakfast)
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