Where to Stay in Lisbon

Pedro Sampayo Ribeiro

The Portuguese capital offers hotels that range from secluded, renovated palaces to modern elegance in the heart of downtown.

The very modern Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon (rooms, from $460; Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca 88; 351-21/381-1400), owned by one of Portugal’s most well-known clans, the Queiroz Pereira family, reveals its class in the well-tailored crowd at the bar each evening and is distinguished by pin-sharp service orchestrated by long-serving bellmen, waiters and concierge. The spa, indoor pool and open-air rooftop running track are all genuinely alluring, but in 
the end it’s the Deluxe Double that nails it: right size, right view, with the higher the floor the better (ask for the tenth) 
to maximize the hilltop location, right in the center of town (though the hotel restaurant can be too formal for some tastes). For somewhere romantic but with fewer “service” props, Palácio Belmonte (Rooms, from $510; Páteo Dom Fradique 14; 351-21/881-6600) is a national treasure—the $33 million 
dream of a French-born cultural philanthropist, Frédéric Coustols, who rescued the building dating 
from the 15th to 17th centuries to create one of Europe’s most perfect ten-suite hotels. With a lovable new Pakistani manager, 
it keeps getting better, even if there is still no sign, spa or bar (instead, there are complimentary drinks in a hidden cupboard). We’re particularly fond of the Muslim Tower Suite: three levels built around a stone spiral staircase leading to a terrace overlooking the River Tagus. 
For the happy medium—a 
hotel combining deep history and 24-hour room service—
Pestana Palace Hotel (Junior Suites, from $950; Rua Jau 54; 351-21/361-5600) is perfect, nestled among gardens à la Bel Air (for those in search of a reference). The four Royal Suites in the original 19th-century palace, now a national monument, 
have high-ceilinged interiors 
as pretty as French confectionery, with delicate plasterwork 
in shades of pink, peach and peppermint. For stellar views of the palm-peppered gardens, however, book a Junior Suite with a private terrace in the newer addition, ideally with 
a second-floor elevation. The heated indoor pool is a draw 
in winter, but the one in the garden is even better. 


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