1950s glamour, innovative cuisine and incredible view of the city
Lisbon is known as the city built upon seven hills. High atop of one of these sits the 282 room property originally opened in 1959. Welcomed by a friendly, well-dressed doorman, a lavish purple orchid display hanging from the ceiling is taking shape in real time in the lobby. The flowers’ drama is perfectly synchronous with the rest of the opulent Louis XVI-meets-art-deco style found throughout the hotel. Intricate Portuguese tapestries, marble columns, 18th century replica furniture and original artwork all come together in a cohesive gold, powder blue and sage green colour palate.
Abundant with old world glamour, this property also heralds an inviting, down to earth atmosphere. Luis, a waiter at breakfast at Veranda restaurant anticipates requests before they can be vocalized, and encourages guests to try something else, with a generous spirit like that of a family friend. An attendant at the business centre greets with a warm smile, and the concierge steadfastly offers directions to a local restaurant.
Decorated in Pierre-Yves Rochon style, the premier room in peacock blue tones is fit with Biedermeier style wood furniture accented with porcelain lamps on each of the two bedside tables. An enclosed marble bathroom with separate shower and tub and large walk in closet are luxurious touches. The masterstroke though is that nearly all rooms (273 of them), have a balcony with all encompassing views that capture the soul of the city from Eduardo VII Park to the further afield Tagus river.
Watch the sunrise at breakfast on Veranda’s outdoor terrace lined with a neat row of topiary trees and magenta azaleas. Dinner here is a must. French chef Pascal Meynards’ playful Portuguese menu is grounded with technically skilled cooking thanks to his Michelin kitchen experience. The amuse bouche, a small frozen sphere filled with chardonnay, citrus and coriander is a modern take on a ‘frozen sangria’ and precedes the ultra soft kid confit served with broad beans, lemon and shitake mushrooms and served with a rich jus showing off Meynard’s precision. For dessert, a thin shell of white chocolate is made into an exacting replica of a sudachi (an Asian citrus fruit) and served with an herbaceous pennyroyal granita.
The coup de grace though, is the rooftop fitness centre with 700 square metres of facilities and floor to ceiling glass walls. This is arguably the best hotel view of Lisbon. Yes, there is a full pilates studio and resistance training room, and a plethora of cardio machines, but when the neon sign spelling out ‘Ritz’ in a stylized 50s font turns electric blue in front of the running track, you too will be spellbound.
Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca, 88
This original travel article first appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of City Style and Living Magazine