Lisbon, Portugal

Palácio Ramalhete

Rates from (ex tax)$161.60

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR145.96), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

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Style

Den of antiquity

Setting

Cobbled café-dotted streets

Built in the 18th century, Palácio Ramalhete hotel’s regal moniker makes it seem royally high-and-mighty; but this Pombaline-style Lisbon stay is surprisingly discreet and laid-back. Beyond its goldenrod-toned façade, there are rarefied spaces for guests to relax in: a palm-shaded rooftop pool, large azulejo-tiled lounges and a hidden interior courtyard scented by little lemon trees and sprays of bougainvillea.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A glass of local wine in Bar Ramalhete, and free late check-out till 3pm, subject to availability

Facilities

Photos Palácio Ramalhete facilities

Need to know

Rooms

12, including three suites.

Check–Out

Noon (free check-out until 3pm for Smith guests, and until 6pm for a fee; both subject to availability). Check-in is 3pm; but flexible. Guests can store luggage at reception.

Rates

Double rooms from $161.60 (€138), excluding tax at 6 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.00 per person per night on check-out.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR145.96), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

A Continental breakfast buffet is usually included, with fresh fruit, meats and cheeses, cereals, and eggs and omelettes cooked to your taste.

Also

The hotel has three large light-filled lounges, each with a small library of books on Portugal; spend languid afternoons here reading about the Phoenicians and Pessoa, or empires and explorers. The interior courtyard has secluded tables in some of the upper tiers where couples can secrete themselves away.

At the hotel

Three lounges, a small library, courtyards, concierge, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, air-conditioning, Ritual bath products.

Our favourite rooms

The Old Oak Room suite is a play den for power couples. Handsomely wood-panelled walls, chesterfield sofas and a slate-grey colour scheme are softened by delicate ceiling mouldings and decorative door frames; there are serene river views, too.

Poolside

The petite, heated open-air pool sits on the highest level of the tiered interior courtyard. Ringed by a dark-wood deck, guests can sunbathe on mod black and grey sunloungers, or curl up in cosy canopied wicker chairs.

Packing tips

Play the coquette and keep cool: take a cue from 18th-century Portuguese socialites and pack a lace-edged fan to peek out from. If Mr Smith can pull it off, a cravat wouldn't look out of place here.

Also

Smokers can light up in the courtyard. Fancy a spot of in-room pampering? Staff can arrange spa treatments on request.

Children

Baby cots (free) and extra beds (€30 a night for over-2s) can be added on request, but this sophisticated stay is better suited to a loved-up lock-in.

Food and Drink

Photos Palácio Ramalhete food and drink

Top Table

This stay’s sultry rooms are perfect for sneaking a tryst, but seek out a window table for breakfast, or nab a courtyard seat for a sunny repast.

Dress Code

Nouveau noblesse: luxe materials worn in insouciant fashion.

Hotel restaurant

Only breakfast is served at the hotel. The dining room, tucked behind the hotel’s lounges, is a sophisticated low-lit space with black furnishings; however, guests might prefer to find their own secluded section of the inner courtyard. Light hot and cold plates are served in the evening, including gazpacho, salads, cheese boards, sandwiches, pasta and quiche.

Hotel bar

Later in the day, the breakfast room becomes the bar. With just a few stools and a modest menu of wine, beer and spirits, plan to stop here as a preamble to your evening. Gin muddled with cardamom is delightfully refreshing and the selection of nightcaps – whisky and Drambuie; or whisky, vodka and rum – are a potent way to cap the evening.

Last orders

Breakfast is 8am to 10.30am Monday to Saturday (earlier on request); 8am to 11am on Sunday. Drinks are served from 5pm to 11pm.

Room service

Staff will chauffeur snacks to your bedroom on request (if given a little notice) from 5pm to 10pm, and when the bar’s open drinks can be brought to your door. Raid your minibar for olives and nuts, or chocolate- and caramel-coated almonds.

Location

Photos Palácio Ramalhete location
Address
Palácio Ramalhete
Rua das Janelas Verdes 92
Lisboa
1200-692
Lisboa
Portugal

Planes

International hub Lisbon Portela Airport (www.lisbon-airport.com) is the closest, just a 15-minute taxi ride from the hotel; EasyJet fly direct from major cities in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. Transatlantic flights arrive via Madrid-Barajas; flights across the Pacific arrive via Abu Dhabi or Guangzhou Baiyun and Amsterdam Schipol.

Trains

Cais do Sodré station, on the green line of the Metro, is a 20-minute walk from the hotel. From here you can travel direct to coastal town Cascais, and negotiate your way through Lisbon’s neighbourhoods with ease.

Automobiles

The hotel is about a 30-minute walk from the city centre, just close enough to get around on foot. Most city sights can be reached by tram or metro, but if you’re planning to travel to the coast a car will come in handy. There’s an Avis car-hire booth at Lisbon Portela; take the 2nd Circular and IP7 motorways to reach the hotel.

Worth getting out of bed for

If the hotel’s given you a taste for the Lisbon of long ago, you’ll love exploring this ancient capital where the past is very much present. Baroque and Pombaline-style buildings in shades of saffron and amber rub shoulders with 1930s cafés, Moorish townhouses and divinely decorous monasteries while buttercup-yellow trams trundle by. Across the street from the hotel is the National Museum of Ancient Art (+351 213 912 800, www.museudearteantiga.pt); an impressive collection of decorative treasures both jewel-studded and saintly, including richly coloured portraiture, embroidery, ceramics and esoterica. In the mood for something modern? Warhol, Dali, Duchamp, perhaps… Plenty of dream dinner-party names pop up in in engrossing modern-art-toting Berardo Museum (+351 213 612 878, http://en.museuberardo.pt), a 10-minute tram ride away on Praça do Império. While in the Belém neighbourhood, stop off at the Jerónimos Monastery (+351 213 620 034, www.mosteirojeronimos.pt) and Belém Tower (+351 213 620 034, www.torrebelem.pt) – beautifully preserved 16th-century Unesco World Heritage sites. Take the 20-minute 728 tram east to sip a superlative coffee accompanied by Fado melodies in the vertiginous Alfama district; the Moorish Castle of São Jorge (+351 218 800 620, http://castelodesaojorge.pt) is close by.

Cosmopolitan and coastal, Lisbon seamlessly blends sightseeing, shopping and sunbathing. There are hidden coves and long stretches of sand close to the city, but Cascais – a pretty seaside town where Lisboetas frequently flock with surfboards in tow – makes a delightful day trip.

Local restaurants

Aside from portholes of light set into the walls and a dove-grey cloud ‘chandelier’, everything in Alma Restaurant (+351 213 963 527, http://alma.co.pt) – a 10-minute walk away on Calçada Marquês Abrantes – is white; it’s striking, but the riotously coloured, meticulously presented Portuguese dishes are even more so. Diners at sociable, colourfully tiled Petiscaria Ideal (+351 213 971 504), on Rua Janelas Verdes, eat at communal tables, which are ideal for sharing traditional tapas-style food. The focus is on fish, with baby octopus and cuttlefish on the menu, but authentic country dishes such as caldo verde (cabbage and pork soup) pop up too. Sunshine-yellow Come Prima (+351 213 902 457, www.comeprima.pt), on Rua Olival, serves well-renowned Italian fare. Dishes are unassuming – lasagne, risotto, three-cheese pasta – but delicious.

Local cafés

Designed to evoke the establishments of Portugal’s past Café de São Bento (+351 395 292 111, www.cafesaobento.com) is outfitted with scarlet banquettes, marquetry tables and 19th-century portraits. The menu’s steaks are well renowned, but if all you’re hungering for is a snack, order your sirloin in a sandwich and wash it down with a small glass of red.

Local bars

Just a 10-minute walk from the hotel, live-music venue Xafarix (+351 213 951 395)is where Lisbon locals go to enjoy, wine and song, and maybe a cocktail or two. Pop in for a glass of vinho verde and to hear some soulful Fado.

Reviews

Photos Palácio Ramalhete reviews
Francesca Angelini

Anonymous review

The late-afternoon sun is baking the top of my back, the perfectly temperate swimming pool is cooling my lower half and my hands are wrapped around an icy mojito. Mr Smith, for once, is lying quietly. This is my Lisbon holiday moment – this, I realise, is what I’m going to keep thinking of when I’m back at my desk, aching with holiday nostalgia and sunburn.

And just as I’m contemplating whether it’s possible to reach my book that’s lying in the shade of a giant shrub without exiting the pool, some free entertainment begins: another poolside-dozing guest gets a call from a friend in London who has become embroiled in some romantic goings-on so outrageous the plot-line could have been lifted straight from EastEnders. It’s totally engrossing.

We may be staying in a fancy townhouse-come-hotel but guests at Palacio Ramalhete are refreshingly free to talk as loudly as they’d like. There are no airs and graces and it doesn’t take long to feel totally at home. That’s partly because it once was a private home – though not your average two-up, two-down, more of the 18th-century ‘family seat’ kind.  It belonged to the Tabordas, a distinguished family who held several noble titles and, more encouragingly, liked to host guests and throw parties. Kings, counts and duchesses… they all came to stay.

These sturdy green, thick doors were definitely made for nobles, I think, as we buzz an old-fashioned bell. There’s a low click and the door opens to reveal a cool, dark stone entrance with two dinky sofas, a low-hanging light encased in a green lantern holder, a couple of stone carvings and a gold-framed picture of what must have been a Euro-aristo. 

Quietly, because everything echoes, we climb the steep stairs to our right and spot a small desk with elegant wooden chairs in the hallway above our heads. “Oh hiiiiii,” squeals a young receptionist, giving us the warmest of handshakes. Both Mr Smith and I are relieved: for all its weighty history, there’s not a whiff of stuffiness to Palacio Ramalhete.  

We’re whisked upstairs to the top of this three-storey house, up into a room in the attic, passing walls of blue and yellow handpainted tiles. Our room, the receptionist tells us, is named after one of Portugal's most distinguished writers, Eca de Queiros (another of the luminaries who used to stay here). Fantastic, I say; I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Maybe this will be where I start.

It’s gleamingly white and bright, with a stripy reclaimed chest of drawers and white sofa. I can picture myself scribbling away at the little desk in the corner, the white shutters of the all pinned back to let the golden light flood polished wooden floorboards of this delightful room.

But just when I’ve got a feel for my writing station, Mr Smith, unfortunately, declares that he is hangry, so we head out. The Mercado da Ribeira, which has small restaurants and stalls from many of the city’s best chefs, is only a 10-minute walk from the refined and largely tourist-free Janelas Verde district, where you’ll find Palacio Ramalhete. We settled ourselves at one of the high wooden benches and feasted on superb croquetas, tuna steak sandwiches and jamón iberico. And we ended up returning no less than three times – it’s that good. 

Lisbon has all the galleries, cathedrals, castles, gothic towers, cobblestoned streets, gorgeous tiling and swarthy locals to tick the box of romantic European city cliché. But, at the same time, it has much more than old-world charm. A vibrant, modern strain of energy runs through it; this is a city that is still young and knows how to do fun. 

On our second night, our charming receptionist pointed us towards Park, a bar set up on the top of a carpark with a ridiculously breathtaking view over the river and city. Porto tonicos come in large measures, the music’s loud and, once you’ve nabbed a deck chair, this isn’t a place you want to leave until you’re made to.

All of the above meant we woke up in our shutter-dark room at 10am. We must have missed breakfast, I say, prodding Mr Smith, who groans. But as we wander down we find that it’s just getting going, the other guests are also all only just appearing. It’s a fairly chaotic affair, with clean mugs and plates all running out, but we take our cheese, ham, croissants and pastel de natas to the outdoor courtyard and sit in the shade beside a window overhanging an immensely pretty window seat where, surrounded by gleaming yellow walls, green shrubs, and pots of lavender, my hangover dissipates.

Mr Smith wasn’t quite so restored. He needed some downtime in a quiet corner, not a problem in this hotel: on the first floor, there are three interconnected ‘lounge’ rooms with floor to ceiling windows, vintage-furniture, and sofas that swaddle you in comfort. These were once the entertaining rooms and, unlike Mr Smith in his current state, still have an atmosphere of refined, tasteful grandeur. Yet, as with the rest of the hotel, no space ever feels intimidating or fusty. This is a hotel with a beating heart, which is what makes its guests feel so at home. 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Palácio Ramalhete’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The unique way the hotel has been decorated.

Don’t expect

A run of the mill business-like hotel – this hotel has character and charm. 

Rating

Stayed on 27 Sep 2017

We loved

Really enjoyed staying at this hotel. The location is great to explore Lisbon or nearby places (such as Cascais). The rooms are comfortable, nice and clean. Attention to detail that makes the difference compared to other hotels as I think. Great to relax after a day of exploring or enjoying the night life in Lisbon.

Rating

Stayed on 26 Jul 2017

We loved

It felt like staying in the home of an aristocratic friend whose staff look after you with great care and attention. The historic rooms are beautifully and comfortably furnished and the garden and pool are delightful.

Rating

Stayed on 17 Jul 2017

We loved

Friendly staff and comfortable reception rooms

Don’t expect

A fast breakfast. There's no discernible system and it is chaotic.

Rating

Stayed on 24 Apr 2017

We loved

Lovely building and rooms and very friendly staff. Fantastic Italian restaurant a short walk from the hotel called Il Covo.

Rating

Stayed on 7 Apr 2017

We loved

The opulence of our room and eating breakfast outside on the garden terrace. Easy bus journey to Belem from bus stop right outside hotel.

Don’t expect

...total peace and quiet - the hotel is on quite a busy road the traffic noise is not good if you have a room at the front and want to open the window.

Rating

Stayed on 1 Apr 2017

We loved

The history of the hotel. It's stunning! Original tiles, floors and hidden passage ways! Great staff, good location. If you come out of the hotel turn right and then next right. At the top of the hill there is a small restaurant, not sure of its name but the food was great! And also Time Out market was really great! A big food market with very good food.

Don’t expect

It's an old building, meaning creaks, and hearing people walking around in the bedrooms. Took me one sleepless night to get used to the sounds and if I'm being picky, a mirror in the bedroom with good light would have been useful; plus, there wasn't a bath in the bathroom. But overall it's great.

Rating

Stayed on 23 Oct 2016

We loved

The decor and feel of the place. Copenhagen Coffee Cafe nearby was very good.

Don’t expect

A hidden staircase!

Rating

Stayed on 16 Sep 2016

We loved

The room overlooking the pool. The hotel was stunning and service was amazing. Easy access into Lisbon

Don’t expect

A lively atmosphere.

Rating

Stayed on 12 Sep 2016

We loved

The very gentle (tranquil) nature of the hotel. The location out of the heart of the city centre but close enough to walk into the centre. Take the ferry across the river to the restaurants a short walk down river from the ferry terminal.

Don’t expect

5 star service because its not that sort of hotel, its more personal than that, and more homely.

Rating

Stayed on 1 Sep 2016

We loved

The pool and our beautiful light and airy loft bedroom. LX Factory is well worth a wonder round for some great food and a little culture

Don’t expect

Peace and quiet by the pool. While it's beautiful, it is small and there were kids jumping in and screaming right next to us

Rating

Stayed on 24 Jul 2016

We loved

Considerate yet not businesslike attention. The light touch refinement of the place. Terrific location, not in the middle of city frenzy, yet all within easy reach.

Don’t expect

A couple of servants on your back.

Rating

Stayed on 12 Jul 2016

We loved

The calm and quiet around the pool. Turn right out of the hotel and right again and there is a great place for a fig salad for lunch - La Boulangerie. Great service and food.

Don’t expect

Breakfast service to be quick. There is also only one ironing board and the lady on reception said she wasn't allowed into the room to get it back. Not ideal really.

Rating

Stayed on 10 Jul 2016

We loved

The interiors and building. Very beautiful. Friendly staff. Check out the Mercado da Ribeira for a selection of delicious dishes, go to the LX factory, eat pasteis in Belem and see the oldest part of town (Alfama).

Don’t expect

Large facilities and amenities.

Rating

Stayed on 29 Jun 2016

We loved

Peace and quiet in this wonderful mansion, a lovely escape at the end of a busy day. A cerviceria in principe real was amazing, especially a piece sour and a cerviche. The timeout festival awesome for local food and drink. Lots of miradours to explore.

Don’t expect

Breakfast was amazing the second day, but the first day was a little chaotic and we weren't aware that they did different kinds of eggs which was disappointing

Rating

Stayed on 3 Jun 2016

We loved

The general atmosphere of the hotel, and the local restaurant recommendation from the hotel.

Don’t expect

Noise

Rating

Stayed on 1 May 2016

We loved

The personal service, beautiful rooms and good location. 9/10

Don’t expect

A lively atmosphere and quick access to main attractions

Rating

Stayed on 25 Apr 2016

We loved

It's a beautiful beautiful place and the staff are just lovely. They could not do enough for you...I loved everything about the whole place. Grand and sophisticated and unpretentious at the same time. A rare find. Brilliant local restaurant recommended by the staff called O Oregos very local like a cafe with the best steak ever

Don’t expect

It's like staying in someone's grand house so don't expect a lively crowd here it's quiet and peaceful and very proper and also very friendly .

Rating

Stayed on 4 Apr 2016

We loved

The warm and friendly welcome, the laid back style and the super restaurant recommendations. The house and it's history and super location a few minutes outside the bustle of Lisbon . Super clean and quiet too!

Don’t expect

Tables may not always be available at breakfast and if it's busy you may need to wait for the buffet to restock, but just sit a while and it will sort!

Rating

Stayed on 17 Mar 2016

We loved

The Oak Room with its wood panelled walls and sitting area was delightful. The staff were attentive and made us feel very welcome.

Don’t expect

The hotel to be in central Lisbon, which is approximately 15 minutes walk or a tram ride away. Taxis to various restaurants cost approximately €5.

Rating

Stayed on 15 Feb 2016

We loved

The small converted palace was very tastefully done; we had the best, huge, oak panelled room. Delicious breakfasts and nice bar and sitting rooms. Delightful and helpful front of house staff.

Don’t expect

A restaurant. It is between the two tourist areas, so buy a Lisbon pass and it is easy to get around.

Rating

Stayed on 15 Jan 2016

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