Welcome to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal and quite possibly one of the world’s most beautiful cities. There aren’t enough words in the English vocabulary to properly describe the serene beauty of this city, which is why we always recommend to go there and check it out with your own eyes, if you have the chance to do so.
Perched on a series of hills right next to the blissful River Tagus, you can immediately see why this city is a very special place, simply because of how it’s all beautifully mixed together, from the city’s historic buildings to its superb surroundings.
In fact, way back in the 15th and 16th centuries people used to sail across the seven seas just to make it to this land, and the best part about it is the fact that this still happens even to this day, although for slightly different reasons after all.
This time period is commonly referred to as the golden Age of Discovery for Portugal and as the beacon of attention from way back in the day, Lisbon continues to represent Portugal’s ancient culture and unique heritage through its many sights.
But hey, that’s all ancient history, isn’t it? There is no way the city is just as popular today, if not even more popular with foreigners so many centuries later, right? Well, the truth may surprise you as nowadays we would argue that Lisbon is easily one of the top 10 most popular vacation spots in the world.
This city is commonly referred to as one of the world’s dream destinations, that you just have to visit at least once in your lifetime, and we really can’t argue against that, because after our first visit here we immediately knew we had to come back as soon as possible.
Lisbon has it all in fact. Are you interested in seeing a plethora of historic monuments, world-class museums and some of the most jaw-dropping views you’ll ever see in your life? That’s all here.
You can also wander through the narrow cobblestone streets of the city’s old quarter for hours and while you’re at it hop in the iconic yellow tram and make your way towards one of the spectacular miradouros or the verdant parks and gardens around.
Lisbon is a very picturesque and vibrant destination, which is why it’s always recommended that you visit it when the weather is fine, from spring to fall. That is when the historic monuments around really shine, both figurately and literally, but even if you have to settle on visiting it during winter times, you’ll still be more than happy with your decision, because there are obviously less tourists.
Portuguese culture is pretty much stunning regardless of the time period when you’re here, but we still heavily recommend that you take your time and stay here for at least one week, because you you don’t want to end up missing out on any of the drop-dead gorgeous views around the city, right?
One of the first places that we decided to visit while in Lisbon was Praca do Comercio, an iconic square in the heart of the city, that’s known as the Terreiro do Paco by the locals, which roughly translates into the yard of the royal palace.
You can immediately see why this is the nickname they gave it, from the massive triumphal arch that was completed in 1873 on its northern side. Walking around this square for a bit you will eventually make your way to a series of imposing buildings, shops and restaurants that are pretty much around every corner.
Praca do Comercio is also the place where the old Royal Palace used to be, before the 1755 earthquake turned it into rubble. Almost everything that you’ll see around it was rebuilt after the plans of the first Marquis de Pombal and that’s how the beautiful Pombaline architecture style has been born.
There are SO many wonderful places to visit and check out in Lisbon, that you will actually find it impossible to see everything with your own eyes in just a few days. This is why we recommend to find yourselves a hotel somewhere near the town’s center if you want to properly enjoy this city and all its beauty.
During our visit to Lisbon we’ve stayed right in the heart of Praca do Comercio at the superb Pousada de Lisboa hotel, and we couldn’t have picked a better option. Here’s how our entire experience at this charming property was like:
First off, let’s talk about Pousadas for a second. Pousadas de Portugal is more than just a luxury hotel chain. It’s an experience, a journey that will touch your soul, a portal back in time, that allows you to stay in some of the most culturally significant properties in Portugal.
You can find 33 incredible Pousada hotels in Portugal, nestled within beautifully restored palaces, old convents, monasteries, and several castles as well. Pousada Lisboa might be the cherry on top, a small luxury hotel proudly sitting right in the center of Lisbon, in a building with character that was once the office of Portugal’s former prime minister and dictator António de Oliveira Salazar.
The entire property was updated and transformed into a stunning Pousada hotel a few years ago, under the guidance of architect Jaime Morais, who managed to retain most of the original 18th-century elements that made this building unique in the first place, such as high ceilings and the stunning staircase.
But in order to make it appealing to the modern tourists Pousada combined its classical heritage with modern luxury, adding elegant rooms with en-suite bathrooms, a small fitness center and even a lovely spa, which comes with an indoor pool, a sauna and a Turkish bath.
The hotel’s central location is a massive plus from the get-go, especially considering the fact that right as you step outside you can just walk into the Praca do Comercio and you can start exploring the numerous attractions this city has to offer.
The interior is also the work of the talented architect Jaime Morais, who managed to find the perfect balance between the superb heritage details that made this building so attractive, contemporary amenities, and original artworks that came straight from the city’s museums.
While you’re here you’ll get a glimpse at what the centuries-old Portuguese culture looks like, with works of the brilliant abstractionist painter Nadir Afonso and artifacts inspired by Portugal’s Age of Discoveries gracing the lobby. We have a soft spot for places like this and the hotel’s lobby looked very warm and inviting. But that’s just the beginning of an awe-inspiring experience at Pousada de Lisboa.
We were kindly greeted by the hotel’s staff, who checked us in and explained everything there is to know about the hotel, as our luggage was taken up the room.
The rooms themselves are also very impressive, fully decorated and furnished in that classic-contemporary style that is very hard to get right these days. Almost every hotel out there tries to get this mix going, yet only a handful can actually do it at the end of the day.
This is why we personally believe that the Pousada de Lisboa is special, and why we will always recommend it to anyone visiting Lisbon.
Depending on which room you actually book you might have a balcony or a gorgeous view over the plaza and the river. But even if you don’t get a room like that you will surely love your stay here. The rooms themselves may not be massive, but they made sure to use every inch of the room to its advantage.
On top of that it is all well-soundproofed – we’ve stayed right next to the square and the main street where trams pass by and we’ve slept like babies. You’ll also get all the usual necessities available, as well free Wi-Fi, a massive smart TV, air conditioning, a desk, a very well stocked mini-bar and a safe that you can fill up with your jewelry when you go out.
The bathroom itself is very stylish too, again giving off that mix of both classic and modern, which is made all the better by the use of marble and glass inside. Almost all the amenities inside your room come from Portuguese brand Castelbel and even though that might be the first time you’ll hear about them you will surely want to take them home.
The linens are ungodly soft as well and did we mention the massive windows that offer splendid views over the square and the river? We did that already? Ok, we just had to mention it again!
There are a total of 90 rooms and suites for you to choose from and as far as we know, they are all unique in their very own way. We’ve stayed in a lovely deluxe room on the last floor of the hotel, but if you like something even more exquisite we have to mention Suite Aurea, Suite Praca do Comercio or the luxurious Presidential Suite.
Since these rooms were previously used for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, let’s just say that despite being refurbished to a tee, they still have an added level of character and luxury that you can’t quite find anywhere else in town.
Eating & Drinking
As far as the food part of our journey is concerned, we spent most of our time at the hotel’s RIB Beef and Wine restaurant, because we just couldn’t get enough of their RIBeye steak or the Chateaubriand.
Ok, we were also very tired at the end of the day after exploring Lisbon all day long, but this place is not only very close to your room and it looks amazing, but the food and the service here was absolutely stellar too. So good that we had dinner here almost every single night.
The signature RIB burger was also really good, especially due to their generous Azorean Sao Jorge cheese topping and those tasty chips. And if you are a vegetarian don’t worry because you can still get your fill from the beetroot risotto with pine nuts and green apple.
Drinks wise you’ll have a ton of amazing choices to pick from, as the cocktail and wine menu was large enough for us to get lost in it.
If we had to pick our favorite drink though we’d definitely have to mention the Lisboa cocktail, simply because you have to try one if you’re in town. If you don’t drink alcohol though, there are plenty of options for you too.
When it came to the breakfast, we totally enjoyed starting our day in the hotel’s covered indoor terrace, where the staff was always super nice as well. We couldn’t decide what to eat because there were too many options to choose from, but even then they came in to the rescue.
You have cold cuts, buttery croissants and other tasty pastries, a few hot options like omelette, fried or Benedict eggs, so many fruits and a few sweet treats as well, like the delicious Pasteis de Nata, that are so good that you can’t get enough of them. The coffee was also very, very good, and that’s something we all need in the morning, right?
While we’re at this section we also have to mention the hotel’s beautiful exterior terrace. Dining under that lovely Pombaline arcade would have been an awesome way to end the day, but unfortunately it was pretty cold at night when we were there and preferred to stay inside. But we’d love to come back and have a dinner there sometime in the future.
Spa & Wellness
From the moment we saw this hotel has a heated indoor pool and a small gym we just knew we’ll spend at least an hour here every day. Having something like this in a historic building in the heart of Lisbon is probably the ultimate treat for guests, and even though some of you might say they’re pretty small, we immediately fell in love with the intimate pool and the gym.
Besides that though, we also need to mention the solarium, as this was also a very surprising addition to the hotel’s amenities. You can find it at the top of the building, and as soon as you get up there you can pick out a random sun lounger and just soak in the sun for the rest of the day. If the sun’s warm rays decide to show up, of course.
The Magic Spa services are also worth mentioning if you want to get rid of the cramps that you’ll store up during your adventures around the steep hills of Lisbon. They offer several face and body treatments so this might be the perfect way to the end of the day. Or you can always hit the gym if you want to feel better after eating so much delicious food from RIB.
So, in conclusion, should you spend at least a few nights at the Pousada de Lisboa? Definitely yes. This fascinating Pousada will meet all your expectations and then some.
From the ideal location in one of Lisbon’s most beautiful plazas to its grand architecture and refined interiors, or the impeccable service and attention to detail, this hotel is definitely the right place to be. We will surely come back here in the future.
Where: Pousada de Lisboa, Praça do Comércio
Praça do Comércio 31 34, 1100-148 Lisboa, Portugal
Phone: +351 21 040 7640