Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon

20 Aug 2010 by BusinessTraveller

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The exterior of this five-star hotel is not the prettiest building in Lisbon, the 10-storey high rise was built in 1959 and is striped with concrete balconies, but inside the décor has 18th Century replica furnishings and contemporary Portugese art and outstanding service as you would expect from a Four Seasons hotel.

Top-and-tailed doormen in pristine grey suites are on hand to help with luggage as soon as you step out of the vehichle. Piano music was playing in the lobby when I arrived on a Saturday evening and there were a few people milling around and tapping away on their laptops on the comfortable sofas (wifi is free). Reception is on the right as you enter. A huge bonus of this hotel is that of the 282 rooms, 272 have private terraces and if you are on the park side then the views of Eduardo VII Park are lovely. Other views are of St. George’s Castle, the Old Town and the Tagus River.

WHERE IS IT? Close to the Marques de Pombal statue at the top of Liberty Avenue the city’s main road. The airport is 20 minutes away by car (4miles, around 8 Euros in a taxi) and about 8 Euros to the main train station, which goes along the coast. 

ROOM FACILITIES The Four Seasons has a traditional but contemporary décor and rooms are simple and unfussy. All rooms have LCD televisions with DVD/CD players, desk, high-speed internet access and dual-line telephones. All rooms have marble bathrooms with twin basins, a separate bath and shower (with rain shower head and hand held shower) and separate toilet with bidet. There are heated towel racks and L’Occitane toiletries. The view is the the main difference between the rooms types.

It took me a while to find the hairdryer – it was in one of the wardrobes. You can request an iron and ironing board and a fax machine. There’s an evening turn down as well as the usual morning cleaning. I was in a Deluxe Suite room, 232, which was close to the lifts on the second floor. Because the hotel is on a hill, the second floor is actually quite high up and the views were still good from the terrace. There is plenty of storage rooms for bags and the mini bar has it’s own room too – although prices are steep – it was around 6 Euros for a can of coke. I found the room comfortable and large.

 

RESTAURANTS AND BAR Varanda Restaurant seats 80 and overlooks the park and the hotel’s terraces. The décor has alcoves with antiques including gilded lion heads with candles placed in the arrows sticking out of their mouths. I had the tasting menu here, which was spectacular (Euros 75 without wine, Euros 92 with two wines and Euros 105 for the full pairing of five wines). Dinner is served 7.30pm-10.30pm. There were five course paired with wines: First foie gras with crispy Granny Smith followed by Lobster, then sea bass with chickpeas infused with basil. Next was duck magret with orange honey, pumpkin with ginger and confit potato. Desert was sweet rice, egg yokes with almonds, cherry sorbet and a chocolate crisp. The meal was well paced, the atmosphere was quiet but a little buzz and two hours passed in a flash. Highly recommended. The service was impeccable.

Breakfast is also served here (6.30am-10.30am) and it was also a fine experience. Orange juice, water and coffee or tea is served at the table and then you can take from the buffet. There was a stunning selection from shrimp and ricotta quiche, salmon and cream cheese omelette, wild mushroom and grilled asparagus, pancakes, sausages and bacon, a table devoted to fruit cocktails, fresh fruit, dried fruit, another table with bread and pastries. Vegetables, salmon, meats cheese, pots of cream cheese and fresh lemons. Lunch is also served here 12.30pm-3pm. There’s the Almada Negreiros Lounge (which also serves afternoon tea from 4pm-6pm), and the Ritz Bar (which serves food all day) and has live music in the evenings (except Sunday). There is also 24-hour room service.

MEETING AND BUSINESS FACILITIES In total there’s 1,838sqm (19,784 sqft) of function space including 15 rooms. Most of the rooms have daylight and access to terraces too. The largest room, the Pedro Leitão Ballroom with a huge chandelier and balcony can host up to 500 for a sit down diner (the room has a private entrance, a mezzanine Gallery and views out onto the gardens and the park). Mezzanine level has six rooms and is good for board meetings and as a break out area. Smaller rooms have intricate features – one of them is oval shaped and has a sofa area for break out within a meeting. The business center is open 7.30am-11.30pm.

HEALTH AND FITNESS FACILITIES The Four Seasons has a penthouse fitness centre, which has several glass walled rooms with different equipment in them, from cardio to bench press and mat work. There’s a relaxation area where you can have snacks and apples and cold drinks are set out and there are showers and toilets. There is also a rooftop running track so you can jog around looking over the entire city. The Zen-inspired Spa is “designed to inspire a feeling of serene exoticism” and it is a lovely 1500sqm space with an 18m indoor pool surrounded by comfortable loungers and a relaxation tea area where you can help yourself to drinks and fruit and magazines. Healthy food is also served here. The lounges overlook the garden and the park.

The changing rooms are enormous and each has a steam and sauna room, ice bucket and showers and changing areas with toiletries, dressing gowns, slippers and towels provided.  There are four treatment rooms in the spa and I had the Four Seasons in One spa treatment (80 minutes Euros 170), which started with a lime foot ritual. It then took me through each season with different smells of autumn, summer, winter and spring and also temperature – including hot stones and cool creams. I was massaged from head to foot with Buddhist music in the background. I turned over and fell asleep during the final head massage and was woken with a small chime from an oriental bell. After my treatment I lay back in a dream-like state in the relaxation room and sipped tea and ate dates.

VERDICT This is an ideal location for both business and leisure guests with top end facilities to match. The service was impeccable and the food at Veranda at both dinner and breakfast was stunning. 

FACT FILE

HOW MANY ROOMS? 282 rooms: 20 Four Seasons Junior Suite, 158 Deluxe Room, 43 Superior Rooms, 41 Moderate Rooms, 1 Presidential Suite, 5 Grand One-Bedroom Suites, 2 Foundation One-Bedroom Suites, 9 Imperial One-Bedroom Suites, 5 Central One-Bedroom Suites

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The terrace and the view. 

PRICE From Euros 370 for standard room for a mid-week stay towards the end of September.

CONTACT Rua Rodrigo da Fonseca, 88 Lisbon 1099-039, Portugal Tel: 351.21.381.1400; fourseasons.com/lisbon/

Felicity Cousins

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