Hotel Review: The Lumiares in Lisbon, Portugal
From Rome to Paris, Florence to Barcelona, each year, thousands of tourists flock to some of Europe’s best-known cities for a sun-soaked luxury citybreak that promises culture, history and great food in equal measures. But for those who enjoy a more relaxed pace of life, where crowds and queues are thinner and laid-back locals are happy to stop and chat, these tourist-soaked hotspots have somewhat had their day.
Enter, Lisbon – the vibrant Portuguese capital and a city that is awash with colour and excitement. Here, you’ll find everything you would in any of the other major cities across Europe, but Lisbon has something special.
This hilly city overlooks the wide estuary of the River Tejo – the River Tagus – and is an enticing combination of old world charm and cosmopolitan vibrancy that makes it one of Europe’s most thrilling cities to visit for a short luxury break – and one of the continent’s biggest unsung heroes, too.
As soon as we arrived in Lisbon, we were immediately struck by the rows upon rows of beautiful, rainbow-coloured buildings lining the higgledy-piggledy streets, decorated with intricately painted ‘azulejos’ and exuding a charm that is unique to Portugal alone. This undulating city is serviced regularly by the kind of rickety yellow trams you often see on picture postcards, and make no mistake – when you’re visiting, getting ‘that perfect shot’ becomes a challenge you’ll find yourself chasing throughout your trip.
The bustling streets and squares of Lisbon are lined with quaint cafes and pretty restaurant serving up quality Portuguese fare, with locals pausing over an afternoon coffee al fresco to sit and watch the world go by. If you’re looking to get the most spectacular view over the city, then just head to one of the many ‘miradouros’ – camera in hand. You’ll be pleased to find there are many – with one of the best located just a stone’s throw from our hotel.
Lisbon is easily explored by foot, with attractions ranging from art galleries to cathedrals all within easy reach. But be warned; this is one hilly city, and getting yourself some comfortable luxury accommodation near the centre is our best advice.
Enter, the stunning, five-star Lumiares – a spectacular boutique hotel and spa perched right atop the hill in the city’s trendy Bairro Alto neighbourhood. When it comes to privileged locations, it doesn’t get much better, making for a convenient base from which to explore the city – but more on that later.
After a short flight from the UK, we made our way into the hotel’s spectacular monochrome reception area to be greeted with smiles all round – and were off to a great start when we were told we could check in early, ensuring we had maximum time to enjoy our day. Still, there would be just a short wait until our room was ready, so we headed up to the rooftop to soak up some rays and indulge in a bite to eat.
Boasting breath-taking rooftop views over the River Tagus and the famous Castelo de São Jorge, the Lumi Rooftop is the hotel’s crowning glory – a glorious suntrap that makes for a wonderful spot to sit back, relax and enjoy a leisurely lunch. But first, a refreshing afternoon cocktail or two in the sunshine – after all, it would be rude not to.
Offering perhaps one of the best photo opportunities in the whole city, we could have happily sat and gazed across Lisbon from our privileged vantage point all afternoon. Bairro Alto is not just the cultural and bohemian heart of the capital, but with its eclectic mix of shops, boutiques and restaurants, it’s alive with energy all day – and the Lumiares Rooftop offers the perfect spot from which to sit and watch the action unfold.
With high ceilings, lots of natural light and a subtle nod to classic Portuguese style, rooms at The Lumiares are as comfortable as they are chic. They’re spacious and well laid out, too – especially if you’re staying in a sprawling two-bedroom apartment, as we were.
A beautifully designed and ultra-modern space, it was tastefully decorated in monochrome tones, with accent colours of pinks, blues and yellows picked out in cushions, throws and prints. White walls and polished wooden floors added to the light and airy feel, which is just perfect when the sun is shining and it’s hotting up outdoors.
A two-bedroom apartment features two large bathrooms, each with their own shower, as well as a kitchen offering a range of crockery and cookware, plus that all-important coffee machine we just couldn’t do without. There’s a stylish sofa and a small dining area for enjoying room service or for cracking open that bottle of Albarino, too. After all, when in Portugal…
There are five room sizes available at The Lumiares, ranging from Studio to Penthouse – so whether you’re travelling alone, as a couple, or in a larger group, you’ll find something to accommodate your party.
The Lumiares boasts not one, but two restaurants – starting with the afore-mentioned Lumi Rooftop Bar & Restaurant. A regular haunt of ours during our stay, breakfast is served right here, and consists of a mouth-watering buffet comprising all the pastries, cheeses, fruits, juices and cakes you could possibly eat. Don’t miss the outrageously good ‘Pasteis de Nata’ – incredible Portuguese custard tarts combining the creamiest of fillings with the flakiest of pastry. Look out for the ones that are darkest on top from the caramelised sugar if you like an extra crunch.
The Lumi Rooftop is open all day for drinks and nibbles and serves a delightful lunch and dinner menu, too, with a flavourful contemporary menu that has been carefully curate by Head Chef, Joao Silver. Ingredients are high-quality, seasonal and locally sourced, placing a focus on simple yet very high quality cuisine.
On the ground floor, Mercado Simply Portuguese offers fresh sandwiches and salads along with a selection of traditional Portuguese dishes. Great for a quick snack before heading out to explore the city.
A highlight of our stay was surely enjoying a slow and relaxed dinner at the Lumi Rooftop over a bottle of wine, then ordering in a selection of premium cocktails as we took in the spectacular viws of the city by night.
Outside of the hotel, don’t have to walk far to find yet another fantastic view, and the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara – a garden terrace with panoramic views across the city – can be found just across the road. Down in Chiado, you’ll find a range of stylish boutiques selling high-end good and quality handmade wares, too. It’s the perfect place for picking up some quality Portuguese gifts – though we made sure to head down to Avenida da Liberdade too, to check out the impressive rows of designer stores and boutiques.
At the bottom of the hill, opposite the Cais do Sodré train station, you will find the famous Mercado de Ribeira – otherwise known as the “Time Out market”. Although it’s a far cry from the luxury dining experience offered at The Lumiares – or indeed, at the city’s many Michelin-starred eateries – it does offer a wonderful mix of regional food and wines from across Portugal and is an excellent place to sample some traditional local dishes.
In a nutshell
If you’re looking for a beautiful luxury hotel to base yourself in for a city break in Lisbon, then look no further. With large and tastefully decorated rooms, great food and service that comes always with a smile, The Lumiares has got it all.
Address: The Lumiares, R. Diário de Notícias, 142, 1200-146 Lisboa
Telephone: (+351) 211 160 200
Find out more: https://www.thelumiares.com/en