The Lumiares Hotel & Spa, Lisbon

Bed down like royalty at this renovated 18th-century palace in bohemian Bairro Alto, one of Lisbon’s liveliest neighbourhoods.

Folded away within the high cobbled streets of the hip Bairro Alto district, The Lumiares Hotel & Spa is a boutique hotel we've bookmarked for a stylish apartment-style stay in one the city's oldest and funnest parts of town. Add two restaurants, a rooftop bar, ground-floor spa and impeccable service into the mix, and this graceful Lisboan property sits well apart from the rest of the aparthotel crowd. Make this your base for an independent, home-away-from-home stay, with the added luxuries of a smart hotel.

From the outside, The Lumiares' beginnings as the home of a count in the 18th century are clear from its tall and elegant facade, but step inside and you'll be met with a wave of clever contemporary details - think striking monochrome-tiled floors and a colourful woven triptych that hangs from a wall in the lobby. It's this dance between local, traditional style and top-notch mod cons that will make you remember the hotel long after you've left, and it's what really hooked us on our stay.

The lobby at Lumiares Hotel & Spa, Lisbon


Hyper-convenient (there's a Nespresso coffee machine, Smeg mini fridge, induction hob, microwave and toaster in every apartment) yet sensitively styled, each of the hotel's 53 apartment-style rooms falls into one of five categories: Studio, One-Bedroom Suite, Bairro Alto Mezzanine Suite, Two-Bedroom Suite and Penthouse.

Rooms offer a palette of fresh whites, with bright, airy French windows that open out to the bustling streets below (although triple-glazing ensures you won't hear a thing when the volume dials up at night). Subtle nods to traditional Portuguese craftsmanship exist throughout the spaces, too: think hand-spun textiles made by Alentejan craftsmen and bespoke urban artworks from local artisans.

A bedroom at Lumiares in Lisbon

What's for breakfast?

There's an à la carte breakfast menu served between 7.30am and 10.30am at Lumi, the hotel's rooftop restaurant. Choose from classics such as avocado toast, eggs or fresh fruit and yoghurt, or opt for chicken empanadas for something a little out of the ordinary.

How about lunch or dinner?

If you fancy trying your hand at cooking up Portuguese fare for yourself, stay in and make use of your well-stocked kitchen for an in-room feast. Prefer to leave your meals up to the experts? Skip up to rooftop Lumi for killer views and superlative cuisine from star chef João Silva (all whipped up using hyper-fresh, seasonal and authentic Portuguese produce). Make sure to book ahead, though: the restaurant is open to the public, and you won't automatically get first dibs as a hotel guest.

Is there a bar?

There is - it's on the roof - and there's a pleasingly long cocktail menu.

How about amenities?

Head down to the basement and you'll forget you're in the middle of Lisbon, thanks to the hotel's blissed-out, white-brick underground spa. Book in for a beauty preen (a manicure, pedicure, waxing or facial), or unfurl knotted limbs with a tailored massage - choose from a line-up of 14 different styles.

There's also a 24/7 high-tech gym offering personal training next door, just in case Lisbon's seven hills haven't already worn you out.

What are the hotel's eco-credentials like?

There's a firm focus on local, seasonal produce in the kitchen, and this priority towards local goods runs into the bedrooms, too, with hand-crafted textiles from Portuguese artisans in all 53 rooms. There's also a clear drive to reduce waste throughout, evident through small touches like a "no card, no clean" policy for towels and linen.

What about accessibility?

There aren't any rooms on the ground floor, but an accessible lift will whizz you up and down to where you need to be.

What's the crowd like?

Cool, but not uncomfortably so. Insta-snappers congregate at the rooftop restaurant, and who could blame them when the views are this spectacular.

Within a short walk I can find…

You're right in the nerve centre of Lisbon in Bairro Alto. Step out from the hotel and you'll be surrounded by Principe Real's achingly trendy bars, boutiques and restaurants. If it's food you're after, take a 10-minute stroll towards the river and you'll find Time Out Market, a heaving warehouse of delicious food stalls in the Cais do Sodre neighbourhood. Finally - and if you're not short on time - don't miss the truly Lisboan experience of rattling around the city by tram: the number 28 tram stop is a couple of minutes from the hotel.

Things I should know…

Friday and Saturday nights in Bairro Alto can be lively - we'd recommend either keeping your windows closed (did we mention they're triple-glazed?) for a quiet night's sleep, or heading out and joining the party.

The Lowdown

Rooms cost from £299 a night on a B&B basis.

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