Four Seasons Hotel Ritz, Lisbon
The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz in Lisbon is a city landmark, standing
as it does, pompously on a hilly secluded road in Lisbon city centre near the
Avenida de Liberdade, overlooking the Eduardo VII Park and the Marquess of
Pombal Square. The hotel’s location is in a quiet part of the city but not too far
from the buzz and the excitement of the old town.
The grand opening of the Ritz hotel in 1959 was a turning
point in boosting the luxury status in Lisbon as the country had fallen behind
other European countries in the 1950s. The dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar
took steps to remedy that short fall and built the Ritz, which was designed by
the award-winning architect Pardal Monteiro, and still remains as a feature of
The facade of the hotel is quite plain and looks like a mesh
because of its 272 enormous private
balconies. But the hotel’s interior decor is completely different. The elegant marble
lobby is enhanced by the Four Seasons signature floral displays. As I stepped into the hotel, it was just like
striding into a gallery of Portuguese art. Huge tapestries, sculptures and
beautiful paintings are displayed throughout the hotel. The hotel is lit by antique
chandeliers adding to the sense of opulence. Guests can read about each piece
of artwork by famous Portuguese artists on an iPad.
I was welcomed to my room by one of the hotel’s ambassadors
who explained to me about the room and took me on a tour of the hotel. In my
room there was a bowl of fresh fruit and a few Portuguese pasties all nicely
laid out on the coffee table as a welcome gesture. My large spacious deluxe
bedroom had a king size bed, a large sofa, TV, mini bar and coffee maker and enough
space to accommodate an antique desk as well. The decor of the room reflects
the simple elegance you find throughout the hotel. Hanging above the bed is a large
painting from the hotel’s art collection. The extent of luxury does not end there. The pink marble bathroom invited me to soak in
the bath for as long as the water stayed hot. My room’s private terrace offered
a far-reaching vista to the Tagus River and the seven hills of Lisbon.
When I arrived at the hotel, I was invited to have my brunch
in the Varanda Restaurant where the lunchtime buffet is a dazzling experience.
The serving tables were set in the middle of a large square room decorated with
several paintings and sculptures, as though a glorious party was underway. A
large vase full of fresh flowers was in the middle of a table where a variety
of dishes were served. On another table, you could find the best of desserts
and sweets including Portuguese special tapestries. In a corner, the guests
could order their choice from a variety of nicely designed Sushi. On the
terrace opposite the restaurant, a chef ran a BBQ stand with fresh fish,
chicken and kebab. At the other end of the room there was an ice cream maker
kiosk where a girl served delicious ice cream combined with a variety of fruits
on a frozen plate while I watched.
During lunchtime and breakfast I was amazed how diligently the
waiters attended to the guests, clearing the used dishes from the table quickly
and ready to respond if you needed anything else. The restaurant atmosphere reflects
the hotels high standards and so it is no wonder that the Ritz’s Varanda Restaurant
is regarded as the place to meet, eat and be seen in Lisbon.
If you prefer to stay inside and relax, the Four Season Ritz
Spa is a place to indulge in calmness and peace using Sauna and steam room or
receive treatments in the hands of professional therapists.
If you wish to exercise, the Ritz gym on the top floor is
the best of its kind in Lisbon with continuous supervision and help of
professional trainers. There is also a rooftop running track to test your energy
while taking in the breathtaking views across the old city of Lisbon.
The 18-metre pool opposite the hotel terrace and fountain is
the ideal place to relax on the comfortable sun beds and enjoy a swim.
The hotel had kindly organized a tour of Lisbon in a motorcycle
sidecar. It was a memorable experience for me to get a glimpse of Lisbon as a
first time visitor to the city and surrounding area.
The hotel has a tuk-tuk shuttle to the old city running
every 15 minutes on request from 8 am to 8 pm daily. Alternatively the taxis
are very cheap plus there is a metro station just across the street. If you are walking back to the hotel, be
prepared for a climb, as the road to the hotel is very steep.
Lisbon is a ‘must see’ city embracing many historical
palaces, castles and historical monuments. During my stay in Lisbon, I managed
to visit Belem Tower, Discovery Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon Cathedral
and the Castle of S. Jorge. I also spent a day visiting the religious sanctuary
of Fatima on the outskirts of Lisbon.
You can view the images of the hotel on www.amirinia.com/the-four-seasons-hotel-ritz-lisbon
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Kirker Holidays