First, take a grand, late 18th century townhouse on Lisbon’s tree-lined version of Paris’s Champs Elysees and commission hot Portuguese designer Miguel Cancio Martins to play with it. Martins’ design chops include creating hip hangouts like the Buddha Bar in Paris, New York’s Man Ray and Strictly Hush in London so checking in to Lisbon hotel Heritage Av Liberdade, we expect the unexpected.
What we find is a taste of Lisbon’s historic charm, albeit with an exterior now painted in vivid Portuguese blue, fused with the urban sophistication of a boutique hotel. Inscribed with flowing verse, even the elevator doors come with attitude and going up, anonymous muzak is replaced by house grooves and images of turn-of-the-century Lisboa. Ola!
Heritage Av Liberdade
Our room overlooks the street and French doors open onto wrought-iron embellished Juliet balconies that are pure 18th century romanticism but don’t worry, the forty-two sleekly stylish rooms resonate with 21st century chic. Furnished in colours that create warmth and familiarity, there’s a rich interplay of modern textured furnishings and classic damask designs. Like Lisbon’s fashionistas, beds are impeccably dressed and accessorised with a comforting pillow menu. Chalk white bathrooms carry Molton Brown toiletries and complimentary tech toys include flat screen satellite TV, wireless internet and DVD/CD players.
Lisbon’s signature Pombaline azulejo tiles decorate the lobby interior where a healthy continental breakfast is served in an intimate house-party atmosphere. The classical literary works of Tolstoy, Dickens and Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ share shelf space in the mezzanine level library with the latest fashion, travel and art glossies. Down in the basement visitors can raise their heart rate in the modest fitness room or swim laps in the indoor pool before marinating tired muscles in the jet pool.
Depending on flexibility of booking, a standard double twin room with en suite and bathtub is around 300 Euros. See www.heritage.pt for special offers. Heritage Av Liberdade, Avenida da Liberdade 28 – 1250-145, Lisbon. T +351 21 340 40 40
Go to In The Picture section of 2 on the wing and get a pictorial flavour of this month’s edition.