Fodor's Expert Review Memmo Alfama
Travessa Merceeiras 27, Lisbon, 1100-348, Portugal See on Map
With a lofty location at the top of historic Alfama, this stylish 4-star boutique hotel scores major points for its detail-driven design, carefully-restored 19th Century building, and friendly staff. Colorful street art ramps up the cool credentials and the views from the rooftop pool and bar are the hotel's crowning glory. Staff are savvy to the best places to visit in Lisbon, and the hotel even offers free walking tours each morning.
This is a child-free hotel (over 16s only), which, while perhaps disappointing for parents, makes for chilled breakfasts and splash-free sunbathing by the small infinity pool.
The 42 rooms vary slightly in layout, size, and design, but all are bright, cool and contemporary, with a minimalist-chic feel to the wooden floors and crisp white linens. Beds offer a deeply comfortable night's sleep, and all rooms have iPod docks, mini bar, and Wi-Fi. Alfama rooms have the best views, taking in gorgeous vistas over Medieval Alfama and the river; Terrace rooms open onto a shared veranda, with private wooden decks for admiring the panoramas, while Patio rooms look out onto the hotel courtyard and the street scene below.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Some rooms lack any kind of view, be sure to book an Alfama room if this is a deal breaker.
Bathrooms are contemporary and beautifully kitted out with lots of polished concrete, rainfall showers, and abundant complimentary amenities from the Portuguese brand Saboaria Portugueza.
Guests arriving at the hotel are literally told 'Make Yourself at Home' (it's emblazoned on the wall at reception) and that's not hard to do here. Finding the hotel can be a tough task, tucked away as it is among the maze of narrow streets that make up the Alfama), but staff offer a warm welcome in a space that feels more like a well-appointed living room than a hotel reception. Nooks and crannies offer a wealth of curiosities, from interesting artworks to cozy armchairs, while a dedicated Lisbon Story corner offers a visual and written history of the city.
Guests are free to check in wherever they please in the hotel rather than lining up at a front desk, so they might want to curl up with a book in the library or head straight to the terrace bar for a reviving drink and breathtaking view.
It's not large, but the red-tiled infinity pool is key to the charm of a stay here. The views over the red rooftops, white domes and towers and shimmering river are spectacular. A poolside bar serves drinks and tapas, and is open to non-guests.
YOU SHOULD KNOW It's not heated, so guests might not want to brave a dip when temperatures drop.
The hotel has a small gym, for those who don't find the steep surrounding streets to be enough of a workout.
Breakfasts are served at a communal wooden table in the light, bright Living Room area of the hotel, and the buffet offers plenty of fuel for exploring Lisbon in the tasty form of buttery pastries, cheese, and cold cuts as well as hot dishes. There's no formal dining restaurant, but the terrace Wine Bar serves tapas-style platters, salads, and other light dishes.
Memmo Wine Bar & Terrace is split over several levels, with drinks and snacks served by the pool or up a level for the most impressive views as you sip.
The bar is a favorite sundowner spot for well-dressed Lisbonites, so get there before dusk to grab a seat and watch the sun put on its dazzling daily display as it dips over the water.
Memmo Alfama offers a winning fusion of classic style and contemporary flair, and the surrounding restaurants offer plenty more opportunity to sample both. There's food-as-theatre gastronomic wizardry on offer at the acclaimed Boi Cavalo (10-minute walk) while the cobbled streets are lined with spots offering traditional food accompanied by the soulful sound of fado music. Parreirinha de Alfama (10-minute walk) is a good case in point.
For similarly impressive views at a fraction of the price of Memmo Alfama's Wine Bar & Terrace, join the locals and out-of-towners gathered at Portas do Sol lookout point (10-minute walk) where drinks can be enjoyed at an al-fresco bar, or if the weather doesn't allow outdoor drinking, hunker down for a wine-tasting session at Winebar do Castelo (5-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
This contemporary boutique hotel has a location at the top of one of Lisbon's hills, beautifully-appointed rooms and common spaces, and a hipster-pleasing design that wows from the get-go with dramatic outdoor mural from Portuguese artist Vhils. The terrace pool is lovely, and the breakfasts are delicious. Extra details, such as free walking tours, further sweeten a stay here.
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