Faded façades harbouring of-the-moment interiors are the order of the day in Lisbon, which means the recently opened 41-room Memmo Príncipe Real (from £242) in the tranquil neighbourhood of Príncipe Real, just north of the buzzing Bairro Alto, fits right in. Oak and steel furniture mingle with contemporary art in the rooms, many of which have capacious terraces; and, as at sister hotel Memmo Alfama (from €325) – also designed by talented architect Samuel Torres – all guests have access to a knockout rooftop terrace, complete with sunken pool and alfresco bar.
Another Lisbon fixture is the pastéis de nata (custard tart). They’re particularly wonderful at the Pousada de Lisboa hotel (from €263), where breakfast is served in an inner courtyard with ancient triptychs on the walls and blue skies above. Here, museum art on loan almost rivals the views for magnificence. Situated within part of the arcade that lines the Praça do Comércio, the hotel’s bedrooms overlook the imposing square facing the Tagus river, where so much history has been made – including the assassination of the penultimate monarch.
Praça do Comércio’s grand Pombaline architecture is perfectly exemplified on Avenida da Liberdade, the city’s wide and very splendid boulevard, home to the understated, gorgeous boutique Hotel Valverde (from €220). Celebrating all things Portuguese, from Delta coffee to the Braz Gil cup in which it is traditionally served, its 25 elegant rooms are a huge addition to Lisbon life.
So too is Santiago de Alfama (from €215), home to the provocatively named Baia canvas. Neighbouring the church where Christopher Columbus married his Portuguese wife, this luxury inn was six years in the making. The 19 rooms and suites are huge, with the highest looking out over the characteristic red roofs of Alfama to the Tagus. On the ground floor is Café Audrey, complete with beautifully tiled floor and an entrance from the street, and a restaurant, A Fábrica de Santiago, which offers modern Portuguese dishes. The hotel’s Jaguar Mark VII, nicknamed Grace, waits outside to ferry guests downtown.