BACKGROUND The Corinthia brand started in Malta in the 1960s with the flagship Corinthia Palace Hotel. The latest addition to the portfolio is set to open in London early next year – The Corinthia Hotel, Whitehall Place and the Corinthia Taormina Golf Resort in Sicily due to open early 2012.
The Lisbon property – the Corinthia Lisboa opened in 2004. The high-rise hotel was previously known as the Corinthia Alfa Hotel but was completely refurbished and was renamed as Corinthia Lisboa in 2006. The hotel is well-known in Lisbon for its meeting facilities but also for having the largest five-star hotel spa in Europe (it covers the entire second floor). The spa is an incredible place and a visit is highly recommended. There’s an instant feeling of relaxation as you enter the large lobby area and when I arrived at around 4pm on a Wednesday it was busy with guests.
WHERE IS IT? In Lisbon’s financial district and 7km from Lisbon International airport. It’s also a ten-minute drive into the historical city centre (or by metro the nearest station is Jardim Zoologico).
ROOM FACILITIES There are several different room types at the hotel. Of the 518 rooms, there are, 360 superior rooms, 82 Club Suites, 33 Executive Rooms, 25 Executive Club Suites, 19 Executive Sky Rooms, one Master Suite and one Presidential Suite. All rooms have internet access, satellite TV with music channels, minibar, 24 hour room service, chair and footrest and air conditioning.
The difference between a Superior room and any of the Executive rooms (on floors 20-23) is the size and also the access to the Executive Club Sky Lounge on the 24th floor. Rooms have light décor – beige and pale brown and cream – large mirrors and modern art and my Executive Sky Room had a living area with sofa and a massage chair placed next to the floor-to-ceiling windows with views over the Aguas Livres aqueduct. The massage chair has a remote control and you can concentrate on your back or your calves at various speeds and pressures.
There were plenty of plugs for my laptop and mobile and the bathroom had a huge rain shower and a separate bath. The King-size bed was very comfortable with huge pillows. The Executive Club Sky Lounge has fantastic views of Lisbon and the canapés were top notch – there were glasses of creamed asparagus soup, and sushi and tempura when I was there. There’s a good selection of soft drinks, wines and beers. Breakfast is also served here and it is a calm place to sit and read or catch up on some work. Wifi is free.
RESTAURANT AND BARS Tempus Lounge Bar at the far end of the lobby extends out onto the back garden of the hotel. This terrace area has cosy seats and sofas and plenty of shade as well as a large screen, which was showing models on catwalks when I was there. The garden is a peaceful area of plants and running water making it a lovely place to sit and have a cocktail before dinner or a morning coffee. Open 10am-1am. Inside there’s the main restaurant where breakfast is served – Sete Colinas (named after the seven hills on which Lisbon is built) has buffet breakfast served from 7am-10.30am. There’s a great selection with different food stations offering everything from hot breakfast, to cold meats. cheese and fish, different breads, cereals and yoghurts and a fantastic selection of fresh fruits.
To the front of the hotel is Tipico, which serves typical Portuguese dishes in a bright room with black and white tiled flooring. It’s open for lunch and dinner 12pm-3pm and 7pm-11pm. For dinner, starters range from 8 Euros to 16 Euros, including King Prawns with invisible bacon (16 Euros) and black pork pate (13 Euros). I ate here on a Wednesday night and while the food was good – I had stuffed aubergine rolls with grilled polenta (8 euros) and for the main, salted codfish, vegetables, sesame oil and carrot juice (19 euros) – the service on this evening was very slow and there was an hour gap between my starter and main course. The maitre de visited each table to apologise and explained that there had been an unusually large amount of orders at the same time. The Sommelier was excellent and attentive.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The Corinthia Lisboa has extensive meeting facilities and is well known in the city for holding large events. It has over 3,000sqm of meeting space on the first floor, making it one of the largest conference venues in Portugal and can accommodate up to 1,400 people (with a dedicated private conference area and entrance). There are 15 meeting rooms and the largest space can accommodate up to 1,000 for a reception or 550 for a banquet. For those staying on the 24th floor there is access to the large executive lounge, which also has two boardrooms. There is free wifi internet access in the lobby, throughout the conference centre, and in the Executive Club Sky Lounge. There is also a business centre open from 8am-10pm.
HEALTH AND FITNESS FACILITIES The largest five-star hotel spa in Europe at 3,000sqm, the Malo Spa was founded by Portugal’s Dr Paulo Malo. Malo is a household name in Portugal, an international physician and founder of the Malo Clinic, which started as a dentistry specialist in 1995 and grew into a health group clinic). The Malo Spa aims to offer relaxation and wellbeing in four areas – Esthetics, Medical, Acqua and Fitness and touch all the five senses.
The 13 treatment rooms have an incredible array of facilities, including: three spa suites (one for couples), chromo (colour) and aromatherapy suites, a shower bed, a hydro float bed (where you are wrapped up and float on water) and an oriental Thai cabin. The ‘Acqua’ area has massage jets, saunas, Hamman showers and a Japanese water walkway and the heated indoor pool.
The spa also offers anti ageing treatments, non-invasive fat reduction treatments and Botox. I had an hour-long Radiant Skin Anti-Stress facial. I changed into a dressing gown and some plastic flip flops and lay down in the dim room with soothing spa music. My therapist was superb. She massaged the different products into my face and around my neck and chest, exfoliating products followed by cooling moisturisers, which she repeated several times. I was determined not to fall asleep but when she left me for fifteen minutes while the facemask dried, I drifted off. Afterwards she explained that she had worked harder on certain areas (my forehead) where the skin was ‘thick’ and advised me to exfoliate every ten days. I was lead to the Tea room where I lay back and relaxed with some green tea (there are plenty of other teas on offer if you want something different). My skin looked clear and bright for days afterwards. The hotel also has a gym, a spinning room and a hair dressing salon.
VERDICT This large hotel isn’t the most central but it is close to the airport and a short distance from town. Despite being large the hotel has a warm atmosphere with helpful friendly staff and I felt quite at home during my stay. The meetings facilities and executive lounge are top of the range but the Spa is the hotel’s piece de resistance and well worth a visit.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 518, including 360 Superior rooms, 25 Executive Club Suites and one Junior Suite. The top floor also houses 33 executive rooms, 82 Club Suites and suites.
ROOM HIGHLIGHT The massage chair, views of the Aguas Livres aqueduct and the access to the executive club lounge.
PRICE From Euros 85 for a Superior for a midweek stay in mid September.
CONTACT Corinthia Lisboa, Avenue Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro 105, Lisbon; tel +351 21 723 63 63; corinthiahotels.com