Oh, Lisbon. How you have my heart!
H10 Duque de Loulé located perfectly situated in the centre of the city near the top end of the Avenue de Liberdade, is a polished and refined 89 roomed boutique hotel. It might not have some of the trappings of five star stays, including a spa, pool or gym, but my word it doesn’t miss them for a second. The strength of the Spanish group, H10 – who now have over 55 hotels all over Europe including London, Berlin, Rome and Madrid – is that they really celebrate their locale, and this is no exception. The gorgeous blue and white tiles that envelope the entrance lobby, restaurant and bathroom areas, sing to a proudly Portuguese tune.
This four-star superior hotel also boasts their Azul e Branco Restaurant, the Equestre Bar/Library, two meeting rooms and (of course) their well known and stunningly beautiful roof top terrace named Limão showing off impressive views over Lisbon and the Tagus Estuary.
The welcome in the lobby is at the top end of what you might expect from a boutique hotel, with bags swiftly collected and brought up to your room, a complimentary detailed city guidebook and a welcome sparkling drink offered to get your stay off to the right type of start. It’s cooling in the lobby from the summer air outside, a welcoming space to grab a moment before you head out, and an inviting place to come back into after some exploring.
Up into the room, (we were lucky enough to stay in one of their suites)- the simple but utterly beautiful commitment to the Portuguese traditions continues, with a mix of traditional and modern artwork on the walls and high-quality, locally sourced furnishings. Everything in the room was of an excellent quality that stood out from the first moment to the last, from the light fittings to the bathroom tiling. This is a place with a serious dedication to quality.
Barcelonian interior designer, Lázaro Rosa-Violán, merges an eclectic mix of tiny Portuguese city streets with the peacefulness of the Balearic islands, whilst still preserving this beautiful 18th-century facade. Views over the city are incredibly gorgeous, and certainly, from this suite you’re not sure why this hotel is classed as four stars. His interiors inspire even the busiest city-slicker to switch off and relax for a minute…
Escape the room and take the elevator to the 10th floor, and stroll out onto their small but stunning rooftop. Sit and watch the world down below, and trace the city from the central terracotta roof tiles and graffiti to the green hills and river in the distance. In such a city, it’s a serious offence not to see it from high. Their bar menu is a simple selection of fresh Portuguese favourites, including Sardines, Anchovies and Bacalhau (Salted cod). YUM!
We only ate in the restaurant for breakfast, which offers a light and airy setting early in the morning. The well endowed cold selections range from the national favourite Pasties de Nata (you know what this is, right? If not, stop reading this now and find one – fast!) to cold cheeses, meats and fruit, along with some more unusual offerings like daily smoothies and fresh pressed juices. Alongside this is their hot menu, consisting of eggs and sweet pancakes and waffles. Far above most boutique hotel offerings, you can see that having the support of such a strong group behind this venture gives it the opportunity to excel. No noticeable cost cutting here.
The celebration of traditional Portuguese decor but in a contemporary setting- and beautifully central to some fab spots in Lisbon.
Tips & tricks
Try the bar snacks upstairs. Don’t miss out on the Bacalhau com Grao- Salt cod and chickpea salad!
Katy Hulands is a travel and lifestyle blogger and social media consultant for the hospitality sector. She started the Unwrapped Series to uncover those special places (and things) that deserve the spotlight.