Fodor's Expert Review Evolution Lisboa Hotel
Praça do Duque de Saldanha, 4, Lisbon, Lisbon 1050-094, Portugal See on Map
Aimed squarely at young travelers, Evolution Lisboa is an ultra-contemporary hotel that scores major points among digital nomads and thanks to its self-check-in, 24-hour dining, in-room working spaces, and happy hour parties. Rooms are compact but comfortable, with eyebrow-raising open plan bathrooms, and the location overlooking Saldanha Square is far enough off the beaten track to have plenty of local flavor, but within walking distance of the city's main sightseeing, drinking, and dining. A metro stop almost next door makes access to the city center easier still.
A favorite among digital nomads and young travelers, the hotel serves food and drinks round the clock, and the small dining area lends itself well to socializing with other guests.
At 20 square meters for "Cool" category rooms and 30 square meters for "Super Cool" rooms (the category names alone should tell you this is not a hotel for tech-phobic fuddy-duddies--only "cool" people who like "cool" rooms), accommodations are compact but comfortable and uncluttered, with plenty of natural light and high-tech facilities including super-speedy Wi-Fi, and multimedia bells and whistles such as a plug-and-play multimedia HDMI, USB, and Bluetooth connection panel, speakers, and a free online press reader with access to international newspapers and magazines.
Guests can ask for tips and advice round the clock thanks to an E-help system, but assistance in human form is also available from the friendly staff.
The love-it-or-loathe-it bathroom design is open plan, with rainfall shower and WC cubicles installed in the main sleeping space. It's not the best design for bashful travelers, but solo guests and those for whom privacy is not a deal breaker will appreciate the high quality design and the free EVOLUTION amenities.
Stepping inside the lobby is like stepping into a bright version of the very near future. Guests can check in and retrieve their keys automatically at self check-in terminals, where guests can also select their room type, ask for extras such as breakfasts (not included in the daily rate) and check out. The process is incredibly smooth, but those who balk at so much robotic interaction can also do things to old fashioned way at a manned reception desk. The lobby has been designed as a space for relaxing and talking with other guests, and there's even an 'Icorner' where guests can use a Mac free of charge.
The hotel's 9th floor Wellness center has a heated indoor pool, following the same sleek, minimalist lines as the rest of the hotel, and there's also a sauna and multi-sensory shower.
With modern Technogym equipment for cardio and strength training, the hotel's small gym is open 24/7, and has impressive views over central Lisbon.
The casual dining area at Evolution has spaces for communal or private eating, and has been designed to cater to modern tastes, with low-carb, high-protein, gluten-free, and clean eating options sitting alongside more standard dishes at a 24-hour buffet system. Meals can be picked up and eaten at any time of day or night, while the breakfast buffet has healthy options such as beets and fresh fruit as well as hangover-soothing bacon, sausages, and eggs.
Just a minute's walk from Saldanha metro, Evolution Lisboa is slightly removed from Lisbon's sights, shopping, and nightlife scene, but a metro ride, cab or 25-minute walk will take you to the historic center. The airport is just three miles away and can be easily reached by cab or metro.
The hotel is surrounded by simple, low-key restaurants frequented by locals looking for good food at non-touristy prices, and there are some interesting international options too. Try Passage to India (3-minute walk) to satisfy a hankering for authentic curries, or Italy Caffe Restaurante for some of the best pizzas and pastas in town, at extremely fair prices.
Mid-gentrification, Saldanha is showing signs of hipster influence, and there are some nice spots to sip a cocktail before heading to the livelier streets of Bairro Alto or Cais do Sodre. Champanheria do Largo (1-minute walk) has a sunny terrace for nibbling tapas and sipping sparkling wine or sangria, while Honorato (1-minute walk) has a great gin list as well as some seriously good hamburgers.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Unashamedly modern, Evolution Lisboa has everything that switched on, sociable travelers could ask for. Its public spaces are geared towards encouraging guest interaction, and the automated check-ins are easy and simple to use. Rooms are comfortable and sleek, the facilities are good, and guests can soak up the local vibe of this emerging neighborhood or jump on a metro for big ticket attractions downtown.
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