Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon is one of Portugal’s most elegant landmark hotels, perched on a hilltop overlooking the picturesque Parque Eduardo VII, Marques de Pombal and the chic Avenida Liberdade.
The five-star hotel’s1950s modernist facade belies opulent interiors and plenty of old world charm. Arriving at the grand marble lobby, we received a typically warm Four Seasons welcome and instantly forgot the rainy start to our trip.
The enormous open-plan lobby has a number of comfy seating areas to relax in and striking artworks from the hotel’s impressive contemporary art collection. It leads on to the cosy Ritz Bar with outdoor terrace, the hotel’s elegant Varanda restaurant and the Almada Negreiros lounge, complete with a trilogy of Centauros tapestries commissioned by the owners in 1956.
The hotel has 282 rooms and suites and almost all boast a private balcony. Our Deluxe Room was very spacious and homely, designed in a contemporary classic style with neutral tones, dark wood furnishings and blue highlights.
Room features include a large working desk, comfy seating area, large flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, private bar with premium spirits, complimentary wifi, morning papers and overnight shoe shine. The large private terrace with outdoor furniture is a real treat and offers stunning views over the city.
We were kindly welcomed with a bottle of fine local Port and some delectable Portuguese custard tarts (the first of many) served on a traditional tile with tiny shakers of icing sugar and ground cinnamon to finish. There was also a colourful bowl of fruit and a large bottle of mineral water in the room, which perked us up after an early morning flight.
I adored the king-size bed with sumptuous linen and had a peaceful, uninterrupted sleep each night. At evening turndown, large complimentary bottles of mineral water were placed by the bed, a Four Seasons Lisbon bookmark was placed inside my bedside book and the room was prepared for sleeping with our slippers placed on cotton mats.
The large marble bathroom features a separate shower, deep soaking tub, double sink and two full sets of L’Occitane bathroom products. There are also plenty of large, fluffy towels, face cloths and plush embroidered Terry bathrobes and slippers.
Each morning, we enjoyed a sumptuous buffet breakfast in the hotel’s elegant Varanda restaurant. Four Seasons hotels are noted for their bountiful breakfasts and this one was a true delight. We were swiftly seated and served large pots of fine English breakfast and freshly-squeezed apple juice.
A la carte dishes are available, but we were tempted by the array of tasty hot items, eggs cooked to order, pancakes and crepes with maple syrup or berry compote, mini pastries, smoked salmon, bagels with a choice of cream cheese and gourmet cereals.
I particularly liked the healthy ‘create your own yoghurt’ station with a choice of plain yoghurt, fresh fruits, granola, muesli and all kinds of seeds to garnish. When in Lisbon, it’s essential to sample at least a few Portuguese custard tarts and luckily we were able to tick that off our list first thing in the morning. What’s not to love about cakes and tarts for breakfast?
On our first full morning, the hotel kindly arranged a private car tour of Lisbon, so we could take in the city’s best sights in ultimate comfort. Our initial plan was to take a motorcycle and sidecar tour, but with rain showers threatening, we went for the safer but equally enjoyable option.
Our wonderful driver and guide knew the city inside out and shared historical and present day facts throughout the four-hour tour. We set off to Lisbon’s oldest district Alfama and briefly stopped at the Castle of São Jorge and Church of Santa Engrácia.
We took lots of photos over the city from a high viewpoint and looked out for authentic Fado bars and colourful tiled buildings. We then drove along the coast and up through vibrant Chiado and Bairro Alto, spotting cool boutiques, bars and stylish terrace cafes.
We spent an hour in Belém, Lisbon’s historically significant area where the great Portuguese explorers sailed away from on their voyages of discovery. We managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the Berardo Collection Museum, Jerónimos Monastery, the Belém Tower and the famous Pastéis de Belém to pick up some freshly-baked Portuguese custard tarts – regarded as the best in Lisbon.
After touring the city, we arrived back at our room to find a selection of teas and sweet treats to perk us – a thoughtful and kind surprise. We’d worked up an appetite and after a short rest, we were ready for an indulgent lunch in Varanda.
Chef Pascal Meynard prepares a daily buffet-style lunch in Varanda and it really is a spectacular and luxurious affair. To start, guests can help themselves to seasonal salads, canapes, cured meats, artisan cheeses, fresh sushi, chilled shrimp and lobster (my favourite) and home-made soup.
To follow are delicious main dishes such as medallion of beef with shallots and potatoes, traditional Portuguese salt cod, grilled John Dory with polenta and a carvery leg of lamb.
It’s worth leaving plenty of room for dessert, as the selection of cakes and pastries are out of this world. We enjoyed bite-size servings of crème brûlée, millefeuille, fruit tarts, rice pudding, lemon meringue pie, éclairs, macarons, chocolate truffles, pâte de fruits and the most incredible apple crumble, which the restaurant is famed for.
After lunch, we enjoyed a few hours of pure relaxation in the hotel’s fabulous spa. We made good use of the sauna and steam room and took a dip in the stunning indoor pool. The poolside lounge is the perfect spot to unwind on a lounger with views of the garden and complimentary herbal tea and dried fruits. The hotel also has a fantastic fitness centre and rooftop running track with great views over the city.
Therapists from Four Seasons Bali were in residency at the spa during our visit and I was lucky enough to experience their expert skills with a soothing Harmony Massage. It was the first time I’ve tried an authentic Balinese four-hand massage and it was simply heavenly.
On arrival, one of the friendly, caring therapists washed my feet in warm, scented water and I was given a choice of four different massage oils. The massage was simple yet effective, with repetitive wave movements that lulled me into very deep relaxation. When the treatment was over, I was taken to the tranquil relaxation room to finish my spa journey over a cup of herbal tea.
Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon is perfect for those looking for a luxurious, comfortable stay in a central, upmarket part of Lisbon. The friendly, efficient staff made our stay so enjoyable, particularly Concierge who helped to make our plans run seamlessly.
With fabulous food, a tranquil spa and plush rooms, it’s tempting to linger in this stunning hotel, but of course the delights of Lisbon are not to be missed.
A Deluxe Room at Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon starts from €425 per room per night. For more information and booking, visit: www.fourseasons.com/lisbon/
Chérie City was a guest of Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon
Photos by Chérie City and Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon