LISBON – A glam resort feel minutes from the centre of a great city.
The four-star Lisbon Marriott offers a “best of both worlds” approach to visiting one of Europe’s great cities; a place that is both close to the heart of the action and a relaxing spot where you can swim and work on your tan. Not to mention a boutique feel and snazzy bar area populated by attractive locals and visitors alike.
The lobby creates an immediate impression in any hotel, and this one is a lovely cross between a modern business hotel and something with a more casual feel. They had lots of open spaces to relax, but also lovely Portuguese tiles on display and lots of colour on the wall.
There’s a tranquil courtyard out back with shade trees and palms and a good-sized pool that’s more North American in size than European. They had bright blue and white chairs scattered about, as well as a shady garden you can walk around and a children’s play area protected from the summer sun by towering, shady trees.
Not only is the pool larger than what you might normally see in Europe, the rooms are considerably bigger than you’d expect. We had a fantastic bed with good work space, as well as soft bath robes and lovely bath products.
We didn’t get to the on-site restaurant Citrus, but it’s got a lovely patio that would be perfect at breakfast or in the cool of the evening. The emphasis is on Portuguese/Atlantic cuisine, with fine local wines. There’s a very nice bar/café on the main floor called Tapas and Tiles, and a wonderful executive or club lounge, with wine and snacks and an outdoor seating area with pretty lighting overlooking the pool. It’s a great spot for a glass of wine at the end of your evening, and they have an excellent breakfast spread, as well; European breads, bacon, eggs, pastries, yogurt, fruit and good, strong coffee.
The lounge has lovely black and white photos of Lisbon on the walls, as well as magazines, newspapers and such.
The lobby, fully renovated in 2015 to meet the Marriot “Great Room” concept, seemed to be filled with pretty people at all hours, and the service is superb. All 577 rooms have a mini-fridge, a TV with local and international channels, a kettle for tea or coffee and ironing boards and an iron so you can hit the town looking good after your flight. There’s also a nice, renovated gym.
All the rooms have a balcony (a great touch), and more than one-third of them were renovated last year. From our balcony we had a nice view of the pool as well as the centuries-old Lisbon aqueduct and some of the city’s famous hills.
It’s also a fine spot for a business meeting, with 16 meeting rooms that can accommodate small sessions or major conferences.
What I really liked is that the hotel feels like a California or Florida resort. They even have a tiki bar in summer. Yet it’s only about five minutes from the airport, a short walk to the Metro/subway and perhaps 10-12 minutes from the centre of Lisbon, which is one of the most underrated cities in Europe in my opinion.
I was able to show some friends the wonderful Miradouro Sao Pedro de Alcantara at sunset, always a magical time. We also had a fantastic dinner on the patio at Sandeman Chiado, a sleek but comfortable spot with a wonderful local cheese and meat appetizer, fabulous steak and lovely seafood risotto. Top it off with a 22 Euro bottle of Herdade do Peso red wine from Alentejo, then sip slowly as you soak up the atmosphere in the shadow of the brilliant, purple-pink Teatro da Trindade.
On our last morning I showed my wife around Alfama for a few minutes. It’s got cool alleyways, lots of urban art, winding staircases with little parks perched on top, beautifully tiled apartments, lovely cafes with killer views and Castelo de Sao Jorge at the top of the hill. Definitely one of my favourite neighbourhoods anywhere in the world.