Standing pretty on a quiet backstreet near the Botanic Garden, head-turner The Vintage Hotel & Spa wows with a hushed ambience and sultry good looks. A recent makeover has turned this Lisbon bolthole into a mid-century den, complete with lounge bar, cocktail trolleys and lashings of dark, seductive wood. Its two prized assets are polar opposites: downstairs, a subterranean spa cossets and soothes; upstairs, a breezy rooftop bar knows how to get the party started.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £158.48 (€187), 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 usually exclude the buffet breakfast of fresh fruit, bread and pastries, cold cuts, muesli and cooked dishes such as pancakes or bacon and eggs (€18 each, €9 for children).
Lisboan Margarida Fleming is the artist behind the stern portrait of a Fadista (female fado singer) hanging above the bar.
At the hotel
Gym, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, cocktail trolley, tea and coffee kit, free bottled water, Claus Porto toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
Ask for digs on the upper floors, for lofty views through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Dressed with tactile velvet, splashes of ochre and bold artwork from local artists, the green Deluxe rooms have a mid-century Scarlett O’Hara vibe. The feisty heroine, no doubt, would have approved of the vintage DIY cocktail trolleys in every room – just the picker-upper after a hard day’s work exploring Lisbon’s cobbled streets. Terracotta Executive Suites have a gentler, more romantic feel, with plenty of light streaming in from corner windows.
The spa’s compact underground pool makes for an atmospheric dip. It's open to all guests from 7am–10am and 2pm–5pm; outside of those times, you'll need a spa appointment.
Small but stylish, the subterranean spa has a sauna and a hammam, which you’re free to use 7am–10am and 2pm–5pm. Outside of those hours, book a treatment for a pampering session: a hot-stone massage, say, or a soul-soothing Vichy shower. Luxe products by La Sultane de Saba and Portuguese brand Claus Porto can be bought at the spa boutique.
Bring designer flats: Lisboans are smart dressers, but those hilly streets can be treacherous for the high-heeled.
All the common areas are wheelchair accessible, as are some of the rooms. Guests can help themselves to a free minibar on arrival (replacement drinks are charged) and rustle up a spiced gin and tonic from their vintage cocktail trolley.
Welcome, though the Vintage has more of a grown-up vibe. Extra beds and cots can be added to some rooms, and the restaurant has high chairs.
On sunny days have your meal alfresco on the sheltered patio. If the weather isn’t playing ball, ask for a table behind the bar, away from the kitchen’s to-ing and fro-ing.
The right note in Lisbon is somewhere between smart and laid-back: a silk shirt and jeans, or something vintage with up-to-the-minute trainers.
Decked out with wood panelling, black-and-white photography from the Algarve coast and a gleaming central bar, Blue has an airy, nautical feel. There’s a fire for chilly nights and, on balmier days, an inner courtyard flanked by vertical planters. Chef João Silva’s culinary take is Portuguese with a cosmopolitan twist. Start with the crispy Scotch egg and its garlicky bulghur side, then feast on slow-roasted pork or squid tagliatelle.
The ground floor Lobby Bar unashamedly channels a Mad Men aesthetic with velvet sofas, low curvaceous tables and a jazzy soundtrack. Upstairs, the V Rooftop bar is a tropical playground perched above the city, with sunloungers, perfectly mixed cocktails and views of São Jorge Castle to boot.
Breakfast is served 7am–10.30am; lunch noon–3pm; dinner 7pm–11.30pm. Rooftop drinks are poured until midnight.
Tempting treats such as sweet potato chips, beetroot hummus and fried corn can be ordered in-room.
R. Rodrigo da Fonseca 2, 1250-191 Lisboa, Portugal
Tucked behind the broad Avenida da Liberdade, the Vintage is a quiet corner near the leafy Botanical Garden, a 20-minute stroll from the buzzy nightlife of the Bairro Alto.
Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport is the best place to touch down. It takes around 20 minutes to drive to the hotel. Transfers can be arranged for €35 for up to three people, one way.
A five-minute drive away, Cais do Sodré serves Comboios de Portugal trains to Lisbon, Oeiras and Sintra. Santa Apolónia station, a 15-minute drive away, is served by CP trains to major Portuguese cities such as Oporto, Coimbra, Aveiro and Faro.
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, bear in mind the city’s made up of steep cobbled hills with many a one-way street. The nearest car park costs €15 a day.
Worth getting out of bed for
Compact, photogenic Lisbon is best explored on foot – unless, of course, you’re working your quads on one of its notoriously steep inclines. Thankfully, many of Lisbon’s best sights are just a gentle stroll downhill from the Vintage. Beat the afternoon crowds with a first-thing amble around the nearbyBotanical Garden, where a luxuriant collection of pines, cacti and sugar palms nods to the country’s rich history of exploration. The city’s main boulevard, Avenida da Liberdade is lined with designer shops and handsome 19th-century buildings. When you reach Rossio, reward yourself with a restorative shot of ginjinha (a punchy cherry liqueur) at hole-in-the-wall A Ginjinha, or a generous scoop of artisanal ice cream at retro parlour Santini. Drop by Claus Porto’s shop in nightlife hub Bairro Alto to stock up on vintage-tastic rainbow-hued soaps, old-school toothpaste and delicate scents. Eminently Instagrammable LX Factory has artist studios, concept stores and hipster coffee shops a-go-go. For a dose of old-world charm, make time for a day trip to Sintra’s technicolour palace and pine-scented trails.
A hop and a skip away from the Vintage, Boubou’s stylish inner courtyard draws Lisboan ladies-who-lunch with cosseting service and modern Portuguese fare. Graze on rabbit croquetas, kafir gambas or – if you’re up to the challenge – a whole grilled octopus. No prizes for guessing Meat Me’s specialty. A temple for the carnivorous, this elegant eatery serves impressive cuts of meat, simply seared for an unadulterated flavour hit. For something more traditional, sample hearty Alentejo cuisine in blink-and-you’ll-miss it Zé Varunca. If you’re short on time, popular riverside food hall Time Out Market may be just the ticket. It packs Lisbon’s star dishes under one roof, from O Prego da Peixaria’s legendary steak sandwich to Balcão da Esquina’s buttery razor clams.
Come nightfall, the sleepy Bairro Alto district becomes the setting for a bustling street party, with chatty revellers hopping from tabernas to tiny bars until the small hours of the morning. Boho rooftop Park Bar is perfect for sundowners, with sweeping views over the city, the river, and the bell towers of Santa Catarina Church – particularly alluring at golden hour. Sumptuous Prócopio is a louche, 1920s-style den, complete with stiff drinks, velvet banquettes and nuzzle-friendly lighting.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this stylish hotel in Lisbon and unpacked their custard tarts and sardine tins, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside The Vintagen Hotel & Spa in Lisbon…
With elegant city-centre stay the Lumiares already under its belt, the Bomporto group has been at it again with this head-to-toe makeover project in the peaceful backstreets of Lisbon. The Vintage may not have the heart-of-the-action location of its older sibling, but it more than makes up for it with cinematic good looks and bags of character. The neighbourhood has plenty of charm, too, from the exotic plants of the Botanic Garden to well-heeled local eateries. Rooms are airy and seductive, dressed in city-inspired hues and kitted out with a handpicked cocktail trolley. Head downstairs for a contemporary take on Portuguese fare in the terrace-blessed Blue restaurant, or upstairs to the rooftop bar to commandeer a sunlounger and apéritif. If that sounds like too exacting a task, there’s always the hideaway spa to retreat to for a sigh-inducing hour or two.