The Lumiares is a stylish apartment-style stay in the heart of Lisbon’s old city, but with two restaurants, a rooftop bar and stellar service, you’re losing none of the perks of a luxury hotel. Stylistically, it toes the line between modernist luxury and local flavour: geometric patterns and gold accents lend a touch of decadence – fitting for a building that began life as a palace – but the rooms are also filled with furniture and textiles made by local artisans, giving them a true Lisboan soul. And that’s what the Lumiares is all about: bringing guests into the fold. If you’d rather stay in and take a crack at Portuguese cuisine yourself, you can cook up a storm in your sleek Smeg kitchen. If not, head to the rooftop restaurant, or venture out into the Bairro Alto, where the cobbled lanes abound with family-run restaurants, buzzing cafés and worldly wine bars.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of white wine in your room on arrival, 15 per cent off spa treatments (of €75 or more) and free breakfast every day
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £227.53 (€265), including tax at 6 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast (€18 for adults, €9 for kids), a buffet with fresh bread, Belem tarts, croissants and pancakes; seasonal fruit; cheese and meats; eggs.
The art in the rooms includes work by celebrated street artist Maser, whose rise to prominence has taken his work from Dublin backstreets to fine art galleries.
At the hotel
Spa; gym; free WiFi throughout; laundry. In rooms: kitchenette with a Smeg mini fridge, induction hob, microwave and toaster; TV; Nespresso coffee machine; Beats Pill+ wireless sound system; tea-making kit; free bottled water; Claus Porto bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Ask for a room on the upper floors, which have killer views across the terracotta rooftops. The penthouse apartments take the biscuit in this respect, but you’ll still have plenty to see if you throw open the windows in the lower-tier rooms. If you can’t get one near the top, any disappointment will be banished by booking one of the split-level Bairro Alto Mezzanine Suites on the ground floor, which have roomy bedrooms overlooking the living area.
The small but stylish spa has separate saunas and steam rooms for Mr Smith and Mrs Smith, and four treatment rooms manned by some of the city’s most dextrous therapists. All the products are by La Sultane de Saba, and can be bought at the spa boutique. There’s also a 24-hour gym; personal trainers are available on request.
Lisbon is a city of hills with steep cobbled streets, so you’ll need some comfy shoes if you want to avoid the Compeed.
All of the common areas are wheelchair accessible, as are some of the two-bedroom apartments.
Pets under-15kg are welcome for €30 a night (one per room); the hotel provide a bed, blankets and snacks for your four-legged friend. They're welcome to wander around the hotel, as long as they're on the lead. See more pet-friendly hotels in Lisbon.
All ages are welcome at the hotel, and the Two Bedroom Apartments have plenty of room for families. Babysitting is available for €20 an hour (a day’s notice is required, and the minimum booking is three hours).
In Lumi, it’s got to be a table on the terrace. If the weather isn’t playing ball, then ask for one by the open kitchen.
Lumni is a bit more of a dress-to-impress sort, but keep it casual at breakfast.
Lumi Rooftop Bar & Restaurant is helmed by Portuguese chef João Silva. Occupying a rooftop space with some of the best views in the Bairro Alto, Lumi serves elegant Portuguese dishes with an international lean; the signature dish is ox heart tartare, but the sea bass with orange and fennel has won many a heart too. Breakfast is also served in Lumni – there’s a station for fruits, cheeses and charcuterie, a heavily-laden pastry table where you can find freshly baked breads and your morning pastel de nata fix, and a handful of cooked-to-order options.
The rooftop bar really is the jewel in the hotel’s crown. Glass walls ensure you’ve got a clear line of sight over the rooftops, towards the castle and out to sea; after dusk, the facades of the surrounding churches and townhouses emerge from the darkness in floodlit glory. Bring in the evening with one of the hotel’s signature cocktails, El Gringo, a medley of Maker’s Mark bourbon, port, Benedictine liqueur and bitters.
In Lumi, breakfast is served from 7.30am to 10.30 am. The Portuguese like to lunch late, so the restaurant doesn’t reopen until 4pm, but from then on you can dine anytime until 11pm.
The hotel is tucked down the narrow streets of the Barrio Alto (old town), which straddles one of Lisbon’s seven hills.
Lisbon Airport is a major hub, and can be reached direct from many of the larger European cities and select US airports. It takes 20 minutes to drive from the airport to the hotel. The Smith24 team can arrange your flights and transfers; call anytime, day or night.
If you’re coming from further afield than Spain, it’ll be much faster to fly. But if you’re up for the journey, you can get from London to Lisbon by train in around 24 hours. You’ll need to catch an early morning Eurostar service from St Pancras to Paris’ Gare du Nord, change to Montparnasse station, then catch a south-bound TGV service to Irun, the first stop over the Spanish border. Don’t dally in Paris, as the journey to Irun takes five hours, and you’ll need to be there by early evening to catch the Trenhotel sleeper to Lisbon.
You won’t need a car in Lisbon – the metro, trams and buses are cheap and easy to use, and taxis have you covered for everything else. If you do choose to drive, there's plenty of room in the private underground car park (at an extra cost). The Smith24 team can arrange your hire.
Worth getting out of bed for
An excellent way to tick off the sights in many of the city’s most charming neighbourhoods is to ride the number 28 tram, a 1930s relic that slips round tight corners and climbs hills that would defeat a more modern train. Be sure to buy a 24-hour ticket at one of the metro stations before you board – that way you’ll be about to hop on and off as often as you like. Do keep an eye out for pickpockets, who’ve been known to take advantage of distracted tourists. Sitting astride the highest hill in Lisbon, São Jorge Castle is the place to go if you want a panoramic view over the tiled rooftops and the River Tagus. Originally inhabited by the Moors, the citadel was conquered by the Portuguese in the 12th century, and has been a Lisbon landmark ever since. The National Coach Museum traces the stylistic development of the horse-drawn state coach from the 16th century right up to the dawn of the engine. The bulk of the ornate vehicles on display were commissioned and used by members of the Portuguese royal family, but there are examples from other European courts too. If you have a day to spare, a visit to the fairytale-esque town of Sintra is unmissable. Built on the forested foothills of the Sintra Mountains, the town was the retreat of choice for Portuguese royalty and aristocrats, who built lavish palaces and exotic gardens with sweeping views across the land. If you can, go midweek, when the crowds are thinner.
Tucked away from the more touristy streets of the Bairro Alto, legendary Fado house Adega Machado has been a mainstay on Lisbon’s dining scene since the 1930s. The restaurant has a unique tiled exterior by the artist Tomaz de Mello, several rooms decked with local art and photographs, and a menu filled with Portuguese classics. Needless to say, the music sets as Lisbonian an atmosphere as you can get – just don’t book a table earlier than 9pm, as the band won't have started yet. Fellow Bairro Alto resident Insolitó sits astride the roof of a charming 19th-century building, giving it some of the best views of any restaurant in town. The eclectic decor sets a friendly and informal atmosphere, but the menu is full of excellent Portuguese cuisine. A short walk away in the historic Alfama district, Pois Café has soaring ceilings and large windows that are thrown open in summer, making it a go-to spot for brunches and lunches on sunny days. Right by the cathedral, it’s also an ideal spot for to indulge after a pious morning.
Set in the heart of the trendy Bairro Alto neighborhood in Lisbon, apartment-style stay the Lumiares is easily the most modern spot on the street. Even before we’d arrived, we felt the easygoing attitude that the hotel adopts – they’d sent us a detailed email outlining how to get to the stay from the airport. We’re fans of exploring local Metro systems, so Mr Smith and I hopped on the train from the airport and exited onto a festive square, decked out for the holidays, that was bustling with people. First things first: a very important pit stop on the way to the hotel at Manteigaria, a factory and bakery known for its mini custard pies that are classic Lisbon. Sweet treats secured, we came to the hotel’s cobblestone street – charming, but not easy to navigate with a rolling suitcase.
The sleek white exterior of the Lumiares was an unexpected contrast to the rest of the buildings around it, some of which even date back to before the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. Once inside, top-staffer Margarida warmly welcomed us and gave us a rundown of the amenities, which included breakfast at the rooftop restaurant each morning, and a free minibar in the room with water, wine and beer (sadly, the water being the only one that would be restocked free of charge). We were almost to the elevator when Margarida ran up to us waving a voucher for a free bottle of wine at the restaurant. We wondered, had our covert reviewing mission been rumbled? We decided no, and that their service must just always be this top notch.
The rooms, while modern, still nodded to traditional Portuguese culture, even beyond what was immediately obvious, like the woven rug hanging on the wall that was made by craftsmen in the Alentejo region. They try to source locally as much as possible, with the furniture being designed and made in Porto, as well as the beautifully packaged soaps and toiletries, and even the leather informational brochure was hand-crafted in a tiny workshop right in Lisbon. After settling in and enjoying a glass of the minibar wine, we walked just a few blocks up to Páteo for dinner. After, with stomachs full of giant red shrimp, razor clams, and Portuguese cheeses, we set out to explore the neighborhood.
There are several venues close to the hotel where you can see Fado performances (traditional Portuguese folk music). We popped into a couple that were recommended by a friend of mine, only to learn that many required that you dine there until a certain time of night. Excited to see less touristy nightlife, we explored down the street until we found a place that looked more up our alley, and somehow thumbs-upped our way into a private birthday party for a local DJ at a spot called ZDB (Galeria Zé dos Bois), which we later learned was one of the best places around. With multiple rooms starring different DJs, €2 beers and a lively crowd, it was ideal for seeing how the locals party till late.
The next day we set out to the Belém Antiques and Crafts Market. Although a quick train ride away, we opted to hire two Lime scooters to ride along the river for a breezy 40 minutes. A few souvenirs later, we took a taxi to LX Factory to explore and get acquainted with the artist community before grabbing dinner in the Brooklyn-esque arts district. On the way back we rummaged around in a few record shops, ones known for great selections of Brazilian and African cuts. On our last full day, we took the ferry to Almada – apparently the best seafood is on that side of the water. The seaside restaurant Atira-te ao Rio did indeed have the best seafood we tasted during the trip. After returning to the city and walking through the neighborhoods (be prepared for lots of stairs and cobblestones), we enjoyed a light dinner at the Lumiares’ rooftop restaurant, which was privy to truly breathtaking views of the city from its balcony. Eager to test out the ‘spa’ half of the property before our departure, Mr Smith and I made the most of our last morning by booking massages – the perfect end to our luxurious stay at the Lumiares.