Throwing open the French windows of The Lumiares is a sensory extravaganza. There’s the distant scent of road side horse chestnut roasting stalls and the calamitous clatter of mopeds down the cobbles which are found throughout the Bairro Alto district. Lisbon hums with infectiously vibrant ‘joie de vivre’ and The Lumiares is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in that vibrance. The hotel itself was a magnificent 18th century Portuguese palace, an aura of this classical decadence has been strategically retained during a remarkable refurbishment and modernisation which assures that this hotel earns its five stars several times over.
The Lumiares’s philosophy is to steer as far away as possible from the grimly predictable, vast and lifeless corporate hotel stencil where every room is a frighteningly accurate copy and paste of pretty much every other room, and where the entry foyer reeks of foiled deals and broken dreams. Lumiares is, in contrast, every bit as much of a vivacious ray of sunshine as the hotel’s logo (a beaming sun) would imply.
The beating heart of the hotel’s individualistic philosophy is demonstrated in the bedrooms. These are designed to be a simple but comfortable ‘home away from home’ living space with their own slick little kitchenettes filled with state of the art appliances, sitting rooms and palatial-sized bedrooms. The general decor is a beautifully balanced nod to Portuguese style and cheerfully colourful charm whilst still firmly maintaining that zen-like atmosphere which is so welcome when indulging in some holiday escapism.
On arrival guests will find the fridge is generously pre-stocked with local Portuguese beer, wine and soft drinks and the Nespresso machine is on hand should you need a caffeine boost before venturing out to explore this charming city. The view from one of the sitting room windows down over Rua do Diário de Notícias is intoxicatingly exciting, and yet should you press the control pad to automatically lower the blinds and draw the curtains you can retreat back into your homely zen to realign those chakras.
The 53 Bedrooms at Lumiares (including three Goliath penthouses) are high ceilinged and decorated with simplistic palates. The beds are immaculately made with luxuriously inviting snow white bed linen which creates a handsome colour contrast with the over-sized black and white chevron pattered woollen headboards and matching bed throw. The room’s colour emanates principally from a single strategically placed fuchsia pink coarse cotton canvas cushion placed in the centre of the bed. The chevron striped theme continues to the bathroom tiles. Here you can expect to find a walk in shower with a giant drencher shower head and a generous selection of sweet scented Claus Porto ablution products.
The general impression that the bedroom and living space gives is one of a handsome, but none the less, clear, canvas. The room seductively whispers encouragement for you to go out and explore and then to return laden with brightly coloured paper bags brimming with local produce, Portuguese cotton and, of course, a box stuffed to the gunnels with Pastel de Nata cakes to bring your own life to the living area.
Lumiares also boasts a modestly proportioned, but extremely slick, spa which makes use of La Sultane de Saba products. The spa includes four immaculate treatment rooms along with male and female saunas and steam rooms. There is even a 24 hour accessible gym for those health conscious guests looking to find divine absolution from their glutinous holiday urges. Massages, personal training and skin treatments can easily be arranged through the front desk which is manned by bright eyed and helpful hotel staff.
Lumi Rooftop bar and restaurant is a real asset for the hotel and is most certainly not to be missed. Order at the bar at the near end of the restaurant and then head up a handful of stairs and out onto the wood decked terrace; the view is captivating. It’s at this moment that you realise what a boon it is for the hotel to be perched atop its hill, as the vista out over the sea, the harbour and the sun-kissed terracotta rooftops of the city is irresistibly romantic. The bar mixes its own highly invigorating Port-based cocktail and is best enjoyed whilst gazing in awe out over Lisbon’s handsome skyline and the Tagus River. Should you feel the cruel pangs of hunger then chef Joao Silva’s cooking will certainly hit the mark. The Oxtail Spring Roll with apple chutney is ideal for a light bite, or dive straight into the slow roasted pork cheek with pak choi if you’re in the mood for something more sustaining and substantial.
The Lumiares’s location, right in the beating heart of the charismatic old town, makes it a perfect spot for those really looking to throw caution to the wind and fully immerse themselves in the jubilant frenzy which embodies contemporary Lisbon-life. This local area brims with cultural attractions beyond the carefree pleasure of just walking gingerly down the cobbled hill whilst staring at the mirthfully chattering passers by. The Museu de Sao Roque is barely two minutes away and the much loved ‘Time Out Market’ (Portugal’s emphatic answer to Borough Market) is just one kilometre south towards the sea. The hotel’s concierge are brimming with useful tips and suggestions for their guests to be able to make the most of their time in the historic capital and have a shrewd understanding of precisely what it is you’re hoping to get from your time in Lisbon.
R. do Diário de Notícias 142, 1200-146 Lisboa, Portugal