Lisboa Carmo Hotel
Rua da Oliveira ao Carmo, 1-3, Largo do Carmo, Lisbon, 1200-307, Portugal
This 45-room boutique hotel occupies a plum position on Carmo Square, at the heart of the upmarket Chiado neighborhood, within easy walking distance of Alfama and the Bairro Alto. The five-story, four-star hotel has stylish, contemporary decor, a highly-regarded restaurant, and modern rooms with impressive views, and luxurious touches such as pillow menus. Service is another strong suit, and guests can refresh after a long journey with complimentary drinks on arrival. The hotel is part of the Lux Hotels group, which has several high-end properties in Portugal.
This is a good choice for guests who want to be within easy reach of the lively Bairro Alto nightlife district, as well as the sightseeing and shopping of the historic downtown
The 45 rooms and suites have an elegant design that strikes a happy balance between the historic and the contemporary. The decor is light and simple rather than brash or bold, with light colors and simple-yet-stylish furnishings. Expect modern touches such as air-conditioning, speedy in-room Wi-Fi, LED TVs with international cable channels, and super-soft bed linens. All rooms have views of some description--some look out onto the pretty Carmo square, while those on the upper floors have views over the old town and the St George castle. Some superior rooms have free-standing tubs in the bedroom, in addition to the standard private bathrooms.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The priciest rooms have the best views--if budget allows, it's a worthy investment.
Bathrooms are luxurious in feel, with powerful showers, gold-on-white accents, ornate mirrors, and upmarket amenities from Portuguese brand Castelbel.
The lobby is a welcoming, bright space with lots of monochrome along with some pops of bright color on the walls. The reception area is small, but the hotel takes pride in offering a warm welcome, and there's a good concierge service. Guests can keep abreast of world events thanks to free newspapers in the lobby-lounge.
The hotel restaurant, Maria do Carmo, is something of a destination restaurant in itself. With tables and chairs set out on the flag stones of Carmo Square, it's a popular choice with couples looking for a romantic place for dinner and drinks. The menu is predominantly Portuguese, with lots of seafood dishes as well as daily vegetarian options.
The restaurant is famous for its petiscos-small plates, similar to tapas-ordering a few small plates to share is a good way to sample several traditional dishes in one sitting.
The hotel restaurant, Maria do Carmo, welcomes those who just want to sip a glass of wine (there's an extensive list) and enjoy people-watching on the square.
Guests with a reasonable fitness level will find that the hotel is well-placed for exploring Lisbon on foot. As the city is famously built on seven hills, some climbs are inevitable, but walkers are well-rewarded with viewpoints at every peak, and interesting shops, cafes and bars at every turn. Baixa-Chiado Metro station is less than a 5-minute walk from the hotel, and has connections to the international airport. The 5-mile airport run is relatively inexpensive by taxi or Uber. Rossio train station is less than a 10-minute walk, and has fast trains to Sintra, and it's a sub-15-minute stroll to the transport hub at Cais do Sodre, where ferries make the 10-minute hop across the River Tagus, offering great views of the city as well as connections to the beaches of Caparica and Sesimbra, and trains depart for Cascais and Estoril. Buses and trams rattle along the streets nearby, taking the strain out of the ascent to Alfama and the St George castle.
This part of town is very well served for restaurants of every style and price category. For excellent seafood, Sea Me (6-minute walk) is deservedly popular with a mixed-age crowd of locals and out-of-towners, while O Chiado (5-minute walk) is a favorite with locals thanks to its friendly service and generous servings of Portuguese classics such as steak cooked on a hot stone, right before diners' eyes.
Guests are midway between two lively bar-hopping districts, namely Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodre, both of which are around 10 minutes' stroll from the hotel. Closer still is Topo Chiado (1-minute walk), a lovely rooftop bar overlooking Carmo Square and the Santa Justa lift, which attracts a lively crowd during the summer. On cooler evenings, Delirium Tremens Bar (5-minute walk) is famous for its imported beers, including the super-strong Belgium brew which gives the bar its name.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This stylish-yet-unpretentious hotel has impeccable service, a great restaurant, and a wonderful location on one of the prettiest squares in Lisbon's historic center. Guests are close to all the city's sightseeing, shopping and nightlife action, yet the hotel is relatively quiet at night (especially the rooms on the upper floors). Little extras such as welcome drinks and free bottled water add to the hotel's appeal, and the breakfast--included in the nightly rate--is generous.
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