With its rooftop views, Michelin-starred restaurant and lavish brunches, Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon is the city’s most prestigious hotel. Its high-end elegance and impeccable service guarantee a seriously luxe city break, says Siobhan Grogan.
Review: Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon
Built by former president and dictator Salazar in 1959 to prove Lisbon was more than a match for other European capitals, Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon is still the swishest address in town. It towers over the leafy Parque Eduardo VII and the smart Avenida de Liberdade, lined with big name shops including Louis Vuitton and Gucci. The pretty cobbled streets of Alfama, pavement cafes and bohemian boutiques of Chiado and waterfront monuments of Belém are a little further away, but all easily do-able on a weekend break.
The hotel itself is the perfect place to break up the shopping and sightseeing. A hushed haven of marble, chandeliers and lavish flower displays, it was renovated in 2021, so rooms are a chic retreat from the city below, with polished Art Deco furniture, touches of muted greens and gold, and generous-sized bathrooms bigger than the average city centre hotel room. Better still, most rooms have large terraces with seating to enjoy the expansive views over the park, old town and glittering River Tagus.
The renovation has also brought the hotel’s environmental credentials bang up to date. Rooms now have energy-efficient heating and lighting controls, while excess heat from refrigeration heats the new, south-facing outdoor pool, opened just last year to make the most of Lisbon’s 300 sunny days a year. Other waste is minimised, too, with an extensive programme established to donate excess food, linen and even clothes hangers to the local community.
Get your bearings by joining the Belém Lisbon Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour – which stops close to the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon – and make the most of a short trip by ticking off all the major sights, including Torre de Belém, the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, the Ponte 25 de Abril and the Cristo Rei statue (the imposing monument inspired by Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue).
Afterwards, queue to ride the iconic yellow tram and climb the narrow streets of Alfama. Or follow the hilly route on foot towards the 11th century Moorish castle, Castelo de São Jorge, with its distinctive ramparts and wandering peacocks. To see a more unusual side of the city, book one of the hotel’s own quirky experiences, which include touring the sights in a vintage motorcycle sidecar with a professional photographer, or painting your own tile at Sant’Anna, the last major producer of ceramic tiles and pottery in Europe.
Back at the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, head straight to the impressive rooftop running track – even if you have no intention of breaking a sweat – to take in the sweeping views over terracotta rooftops and sherbet-coloured buildings. Soothe hill-sore legs afterwards at the restful spa, with its fully-equipped Pilates studio, yoga classes and lounger-lined 18-metre indoor pool.
The hotel has four restaurants, including: O Japonês, serving fresh sushi and sashimi; a new al fresco pool bar; and fine-dining CURA, which was awarded its first Michelin star last year. Serving contemporary Portuguese dishes, the menu focuses on sustainable, seasonal ingredients sourced from small, local farmers. However, if you visit on a weekend, Sunday brunch in Varanda is the real must-do. Go (very) hungry for an indulgent spread of seafood, pancakes, pastries and a whole station devoted to chocolate including handmade truffles, delicate individual desserts and a glossy chocolate fountain.
Elsewhere, don’t miss the city’s best pizza at Forno D’Oro, within strolling distance of the hotel, and Alfama’s Club de Fado, where classic Portuguese dishes are served while a traditional Fado band performs. Of course, no one can visit Lisbon without eating a pastel de nata (or five), the famous custard tart invented in the 18th century by monks at the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. You can join the queue at Pastéis de Belém to sample the original recipe, but the tarts are served all over the city – and at the hotel’s abundant breakfast buffet – so you’ll never be far from your next sweet fix.
THE FINAL WORD
Lisbon is a city chock-full of charm, and Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon does it proud with its smart, spacious rooms, exquisite food and one of the best views in town. Though it offers luxury at every turn, the hotel’s biggest asset is the ever-welcoming staff who will do everything they can to ensure you truly have a stay to remember in Portugal’s enchanting capital.
Rooms at Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon start from €945 (approx. £816) per night. fourseasons.com
easyJet flies to Lisbon from Gatwick and Luton airports up to seven days a week from £26 per person. easyjet.com
The Belém Lisbon Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour costs from £17.56 per person when booked through Viator. viator.com