Built in the 19th century, Lapa Palace is situated in Lapa Hill, Lisbon’s most elegant and traditional district with embassies in the neighbourhood. The hotel is just minutes from the downtown.
The resort-style hotel is surrounded by magnificent gardens and boasts stunning views of the city and the Tagus River.
It is a real privilege to arrive at the entrance of the Lapa Palace. Our taxi dropped us in the middle of the wonderful green and well-maintained front-garden and the doorman welcomed us warmly. The first impression was not only great but intense, too. We knew that we would have a good time in this place.
The history of the hotel started together with the birth of the whole Lapa district which is an exclusive area of Lisbon. It gives place for several embassies, and home for many honoured people. The first Baron of Porto Covo, Jacinto Fernandes Bandeira built his house in 1755, starting the creation of the Lapa district. (Lapa means Moorish rock.) In 1870, the succeeding Viscount built for one of his sons a beautiful house here. Unfortunately, his son didn’t like it, so the house was later sold to the Count of Valenças, who in 1883 decided to transform it into a Palace. It functioned as a family house until 1988 then was sold to a new owner who turned the building into a hotel. Finally, in 1992 the hotel was ready for the public.
As we stepped into the Lobby we had the feeling that during the process of renovation from Palace to hotel, the artists had done their best to keep the original design of the Palace, which gives clear examples of the Portuguese society in the 19th century. We have a personally very important priority and this is nothing else but the living flowers. We were happy to see the huge flower composition in the Entrance Hall. The atmosphere is royal, thanks to the amazing wall-paintings, colorful stones and classy furnitures. As I am writing these sentences I wish I could walk on this crystal clear, reflecting floor. I think, that this is the moment when a place catch you for a lifetime.
The interior design emit calm and deep harmony. There is a stylish bar to have a drink during daytime or socialize with others and build new relationships in the evening.
We just could not wait to see our room after such a good start downstairs. It was located on the top floor of the new wing built in 2002. The name-purfled pillows are masterworks! We can choose from 3 types but there is a pillow menu served in every room to choose any other special pillows from at request.
Wonderful welcome gifts waited us on the table! The glass of premium Porto wine was so gratifying in the night as we read the personal welcome letter of the Managing Director. The house made chocolate cookies were super tasty. I have always some snacks & cookies with me and I tried one of my favourites after the Lapa Palace cookie just to feel the quality. It tells everything that the welcome sweet is my new absolute favourite, and the old one is not on my list anymore. Honestly, this is mind-blowing good taste and quality!
We like the small things which make big difference, and we did find some here. The decor ribbon is real textile instead of paperhangings. Thanks to the special design of the hidden lights, the bulbs do not burn out our retina, it is extremely comfortable for the eyes. The flowers are natural, real, living flowers of course and not artificial. As a sign of high standards, there are many-many paintings in the room and in the whole building, too.
The room offers a nice corner to sit down and to have a chat, or read the excellent book provided by the hotel. It makes it easy to find good places to explore in Lisbon and Portugal.
The gesture I personally liked the best was the tray which waited us on the bed. It contained a nice card wishing sweet dreams on its cover and gives a weather forecast on its backside for the following 3 days. There was a breakfast menu as well to choose something if we would like to ask for it via room service. The filled-in menu can be placed on the door handle and the staff collects it discretely without disturbing the guests.
Above all, best of the best was the caring attitude of the hotel. I clearly remember that I turned off all the lights when I left the room in the afternoon, but when we arrived back, there were some lights on and the room waited us to come in. The TV-cupboard was open as well however the tv was hidden in the daytime.
The bathroom is classy, absolutely superb! It is covered with real stones from the ceiling to the floor. It is decorated with the logo of the Lapa Palace and with traditional Portuguese, hand painted tiles.
In all rooms of the Lapa Palace you will find the beautiful Portuguese handmade porcelain Vista Alegre, founded in 1824. Living flowers are placed in the bathroom, too. The towel assortment is wide and the material quality is excellent. It is so good to feel the tight material of the towel and enjoy their touch on the wet skin.
We were lucky enough to visit the Tower room which is located in the original Palace on the 7th floor. It has a large marble and Portuguese tile bathroom with double sink, separate shower and hydromassage.
The Portuguese style decoration with hand painted tiles “azuleijos” around the walls and also on the surface on some furnitures are fine works. The 84 sqm room has private balconies one of which is the turret of the original Palace with spectacular view to the city, the bridge and the Cristo Rei Statue.
The view is very nice also from the new wing, we saw this picture in the morning from our own balcony. Our outdoor pool dotted with ornamental fountains and streams, is heated from May to September at 25º Celsius in summer. A small children pool is also available close to the main pool. The shape of the swimming pool is relaxing for the eyes.
The tropical garden invites for a visit. The entrance is through a nice Japanese style bridge with a huge, handpainted tile fountain in the background.
Before we arrive at the green garden, there is a corridor from the rooms. What else to say? The green decor, the perfect painting shows us that we are in top quality place. There are some cosmetics on the shelves to buy if you like them (you will) during a spa treatment.
It is not a surprise that the pool area is covered by handpainted tiles, too. The painting illustrates Lisbon and the garden. The pool is located on the 3rd floor but it gets natural daylight from the roof windows and is heated at a temperature of 28º Celsius.
The style is not modern as you may expect, but this is a historical Palace. Keeping the tarnished elements gives even higher value.
The Turkish bath is located in the changing rooms of the indoor pool and functions from 8 am to 8 pm. The saunas are separated for man and women, but this is a unisex space. It is not simply a good point but a real good experience to feel that eucalyptus natural essences are used in the steam room.
The Spa offers massages by trained massage therapeutists skilled at tailoring treatments to suit the individual clients needs.
The spa menu worth a minute of look, you can find it here.
After a day of relaxation we visited the bar to have a drink and taste a local wine. If you don’t know what to choose, just let it do by the bartenders they are doing a great job here.
This picture below shows you that this is a real Palace indeed, with original furniture, paintings and textiles. Of course, it has been refurbished but with the care of the traditions so the atmosphere is very special.
There are several highly classified hotels in Lisbon but Lapa Palace is something extraordinary, something to feel, something not to forget if you have ever experienced. If you happen to be in the capital of Portugal, and you can afford it, then do not hesitate to book here. The staff of the Olissippo Lapa Palace provide excellent hospitality which is the league of Ritz-Carlton.
At the end of our visit I asked a member of the staff, when she started to work here and how she likes it. She told me:
I have been working here for 21 years. This hotel plays in the top and competes with the best brands so why do I need to change? I am happy to be here and I do not have any idea why to change. This is the top and I am proud to be the part of Lapa Palace.
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