Fodor's Expert Review
Visitors who want to feel fabulous during their visit to Lisbon may well want to consider a stay at this gorgeous five-star boutique hotel located in the fanciest part of the city. Owned by the three-strong Portuguese chain Memmo, the hotel follows the brand's trademark elegant-but-informal blueprint, and impresses with its detail-driven design, stunning views (which can be admired from the outdoor pool and terrace) and excellent on-site restaurant. Upmarket amenities from Hermes, and a cocktail bar serving perfectly-mixed drinks add an extra dash of indulgence.
The hotel is located in Principe Real, arguably the chicest neighborhood in Lisbon, surrounded by upmarket shopping, smart bars and restaurants, and within walking distance of Bairro Alto nightlife as well as the many sights and attractions of historic Lisbon. Shoppers-prepare to max out the credit card. This part of town is surrounded by designer stores and chic boutiques.
Tip The hotel is hidden away on a back alley and can be a little hard to find on foot.
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The hotel is a member of the Design Hotels group, and all of the 41 rooms and suites at Memmo Principe Real are unique in layout and decor, and range from 23 to 50 square meters. All feature polished wooden floors and deeply comfortable beds with large, plump pillows, and some have terraces for enjoying panoramic views over downtown Lisbon and the Saint George castle.
Executive Suites have a living room with work station and sofa bed, while Executive Rooms have working fireplaces on the terrace-ideal for cozying up on chilly nights. Details such as super-soft throws and one-off furnishings add a dash of retro-chic charm, while extras such as Bang & Olufsen TVs, BOSE mini Bluetooth speakers and well-stocked mini bars bring things bang up to date. Some rooms even have their own 'cocktail stations' with all you need to make the perfect mixed drink.
With deep baths, Hermès toiletries, high-end hairdryers and fresh flowers, the hotel's bathrooms are as luxurious as the rooms themselves.
You Should Know Lisbon is known for its delicious pastries and other culinary goodies, so you might want to ignore the digital scales in the bathroom (calorie counting can wait!).
Memmo Principe Real is in a prime spot for admiring views over Lisbon, and the lobby makes the most of this with floor-to-ceiling windows leading straight to the terrace and pool. Meanwhile, the low lighting and slick contemporary design set the scene for the stylish stay to follow.
The outdoor pool at Memmo Principe Real is better suited to cooling off, showing off and soaking up the rays and the views than it is to serious swimming. The surrounding sun loungers offer a chance to work on that bronzed glow.
Guests can enjoy a more-than-ample breakfast of hot and cold dishes each morning in the hotel's chic terrace restaurant, Café Colonial. At lunch and dinner, the restaurant is open to non-guests, and chef Vasco Lello has won many plaudits for his inventive menu that incorporates dishes from the former Portuguese colonies.
Tip The cafe serves small plates and light dishes outside meal times.
The hotel restaurant doubles as its bar, and guests should be sure to try the signature cocktail-made with dry Port wine, Campari, and tonic.
Pretty-but-hilly, historic Lisbon is fun to explore on foot when energy levels allow, and guests can get their bearings by joining the hotel's free evening walking tours held each day at 5 p.m. The central location makes it easy to see all that Lisbon has to offer, and the hotel is within easy staggering distance of the Bairro Alto, with its many late-opening bars. It's a 10-minute walk to the metro station at Avenida da Liberade, and 15 minutes to Rossio, where the grand rail station has fast trains to Sintra and Queluz.
This smart part of town has plenty of chic restaurants to choose from, serving everything from petiscos (Portuguese small plates) to gourmet hamburgers. Just steps from the hotel is La Papparucha (1-minute walk), an Argentinean restaurant serving excellent steaks and equally fine cocktails. At the opposite end of the carnivore scale, Jardim dos Sentidos is a pleasant spot for vegetarian dishes in a leafy garden setting.
It's a very short walk from the hotel to some of Lisbon's most unique bars, including the intriguing Pavilhão Chinês (1-minute walk), where drinks are served in a space filled with antique toys and other curios. The Bairro Alto late-night drinking scene is also close at hand, but for early evening drinks it's nice to have an al-fresco caipirinha at thr garden kiosk Quiosque Principe Real (2-minute walk).