regal portrait, an intricate carpet and a Santa y Cole
chandelier. This is the scene that greets guests as they enter
Memmo Príncipe Real. It’s a
fitting welcome to a hotel with a name that means “Royal Prince”,
and to the first five-star offering in Memmo Hotels’ crown.
But it’s also a welcome to a neighbourhood (also named Príncipe
Real after Queen Maria’s first-born son) which is moving away from
its aristocratic past into a vibrant and creative future. This is
an increasingly on-trend corner of Lisbon, where tranquil gardens and
19th-century mansions rub shoulders with some of the best bars,
restaurants and shops in town. A good example of the confluence
between old and new can be found in Memmo’s restaurant and bar.
Named Colonial Café, the place takes inspiration from Portugal’s
former colonies, with menus that arrange world ingredients with
In the evenings, a grown-up crowd come to lounge on moss-green
sofas and dine on on marble-topped tables. Come morning, the
hotel’s views over the Tagus River steal the show. The white-walled
and red-roofed cityscape of Lisbon contrasts with the jade waters
of a swimming pool – not quite large enough for laps, but plenty
big enough for cooling off in the summer months.
During the day, however, Memmo Príncipe Real is markedly quiet.
Guests that swim before breakfast and sip cocktails after dinner
all head out to explore Lisbon between hours. This is surely a sign
of a city hotel done well.
There are 41 rooms here, of which 39 overlook the city. All have
a neutral palette and make use of natural materials, including warm
limestone, white wooden floors and antique painted tiles. Faux fur
bed throws seem to be a tongue-in-cheek reference the district’s
regal past and we love the fact that housekeeping leaves a
different tip for the local area under a hat in your room each
What’s for breakfast?
An à la carte offering of breads, pastries, cold meats eggs
cooks to order..
How about lunch and dinner?
Chef Vasco Lello is at the head of Colonial Café, which serves
dishes inspired by the flavours of former Portuguese colonies.
Start by sharing a plate of ox-tail croquettes before moving on to
the Asian cod in miso butter with shitaki pakchoi. Finish with a
mousse of chocolate from São Tomé in Brazil.
Is there a bar?
Yes – it stretches out alongside one side of the restaurant,
perfect for quaffing Rio Douro wines with a view.
Free wifi, Hermes products, a swimming pool, a complimentary
one-hour walking tour around the local area and a welcome
Things you should know
This is a rather adult hotel – perhaps not one for children (or
childish friends). For a more accessible option in Lisbon, check
out Memmo’s hotel in Alfama.
Within a short walk you can find…
Taberna da rua das flores, a tiny, cash-only, no-reservations
taverna with serves exquisite dishes to share – we love the
mackerel pate and crab bao buns.