72 Hours at the Lapa Palace - Lisbon
Lisbon. A city that never sleeps. Latin Lifestyle, wonderful and colorful buildings along narrow and windy roads upside down steep hills. Where the hustle and bustle of a million metropolis meets the ocean-like Tejo river. Staying in Lisbon in style means staying at the Ritz or the Lapa - the short version for the city's most hidden luxury hotel: the Lapa Palace Hotel & Spa. In the old town but far enough to escape, sit back and relax. Narrow and steep roads up the hill, a hard left turn and our elegant black Limousine (a Mercedes S-Class by Lisbon Limousine) stops directly in front of a small but elegant Villa - totally unexpected to find a true Leading Hotel of the world behind the picturesque facade!
Check-in was very formal and we were accompanied to our room - always a nice touch an expected from my side at such hotels - which was situated on the 6th floor. Staying on the top floor means having an impressive view over the river and the city. It is lovely when hotels allocate such wonderful rooms - you know they appreciate you as a guests and are not focused on a "I don't care"-philosophy. Inside our room, which I found to be truly spacious for a standard category, there were two twin beds, a seating area, a writing desk as well as a tv with minibar. Beside the big bathroom - yes with seperate tub and shower, double vanities and L'Occitaine toiletries - our room also had a nice balcony overlooking the river. Well in comparison to the Hyatt beds from the Grand Hyatt Berlin, these beds seemed to be hard, however we splept good. As a welcome gift we got a nice plate of fresh fruits. Wireless internet connection is available throughout the hotel, is free and very good as well.
I would say that the whole hotel is wonderfully appointed with the Palace- and Garden-Wings around the majestic and vast private garden. In midst of this treasure there is the heated outdoor pool - at 28 degrees celsius perfect for everyone! What can be better then ending your day of sightseeing with relaxing on this big outdoor pool while sipping a strawberry flavoured tropical cocktail under the palm trees? There are always two pool boys on site who prepare your sun loungers wherever you want. They are also serving food and drinks to the lounge chair or you can hit the pool bar with its inviting atmosphere, hidden in one corner of the garden.
Honestly we had certain expectations about breakfast in Portugal - foreign countries bring different cultures and products - so we were not surprised by the breakfast selection. The bread is not the same we have in Central Europe and also the ham and cheese selection is different but there is something we in Central Europe don't have that much: really fresh and good fruits! So don't eat much bread, and enjoy the freshness of the best local fruits, pastries (the Pasteis de Belem are amazing), croissants and freshly squeezed orange juice. Unfortunately I am not the friend of coffee and even less of the Portugese version of Cappuccino.
Now to the most inconvenient thing about Lapa Palace. Although the situation is perfect for amazing views and peaceful areas, it is not handy for lovers of sightseeing and nightlife. The concierge recommends to take the cab - they are really on the cheap side for European standards - but we wanted to experience the true and authentic feeling so we took the tram to Belem and the bus back, not knowing if it is the right bus - a true adventure. If you are looking for public transport you need to get down the hill - it is a 4-5 minutes walk to the bus stop - but don't forget that you need to climb up the hill as well. However the concierge made to help us finding our lost sun hats - we lost them at the flight from Munich - and we will try to collect them at the Airport when we leave Lisbon.
All in all you can still feel the splendour of the good old times and the spirit of Belmond (ex Orient Express Hotel Collection) where the hotel was part of until a few years ago. This means the rooms are big, the service first class, the interior elegant and everywhere clean.
We were guests of Olissippo Hotels and Lapa Palace Lisboa. However all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.