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 city.
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