Archive for October, 2009

Palacete Chafariz D’El Rei — Lisbon’s Newest Palace Hotel

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Hotel Palacete Charaiz D'El Rei, Lisboa

After Porto’s new palace hotel, we must also tell you that Lisbon recently saw the opening of its latest palatial accommodation. Hotel Palacete Chafariz D’El Rei opened on a secluded street right below the hilly maze of the Alfama district, and is now one of the most romantic places to stay in the city.
It was built in the late 19th century as an aristocratic vision of the neo-Moorish style, facing the river which can be seen from the building’s terrace. The renovation for it to be turned into a hotel took some time, as everything was carefully restored to its original look. The authenticity of the interior is then mixed with the more contemporary design of some of the furnishings, all together creating an intimate atmosphere throughout the entire space.
There are six spacious suites and public areas for meetings or relaxing after a day of sightseeing. A particularly beautiful room is the Hall of Mirrors which features Art Nouveau details, and there is also a meticulously restored Arabesque Room and a sumptuous library.
This is the perfect hotel for honeymooning couples, including gay and lesbian couples, as it’s a gay-friendly hotel.
There is no restaurant but a continental breakfast is served in the beautiful dining room.
For a cocktail you practically don’t even need to leave the hotel, as right next door is Kuta, currently the hottest bar in Lisbon and a place you should not miss whether or not you’re staying at the hotel.
Get all the hotel details and booking information here: Palacete Chafariz D’el Rei Hotel

Hotel Palacete Charaiz D'El Rei, Lisboa

Visiting Portugal’s Newest Pousada: Palacio do Freixo in Porto

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Pousada do Porto, Palacio do Freixo Hotel

If you’re taking our recommendation and going to Porto during its restaurant week, be sure to also consider a visit or a stay in the city’s newest hotel and attraction — Palacio do Freixo Hotel. Classified as a national monument, this baroque palace was recently renovated to become a Pousada (the special chain of Portuguese hotels in historical buildings or atmospheric areas), and is now open to guests and those curious about the monumental building.

Non-guests may also dine at its excellent restaurant (which, incidentally, is participating in the Porto Restaurant Week), and admire the beautiful architectural details of the façade and interior.

This is the largest of all Pousadas, offering 87 rooms accessed through a grand entrance. Past the reception is a business center and a chapel, as well as the “Hall of Mirrors” which is connected to the bar. There is also an area devoted to wine tastings (you’re in Porto, after all), and of course the restaurant serving refined dishes of Portuguese cuisine.

As you pass through these different spaces you’ll see painted ceilings and walls, satins, and wooden floors. You’ll also want to look for the indoor pool with a spa, as well as the terrace and gardens outside offering river views.
In the rooms you’ll find classic Portuguese furnishings mixed with contemporary decorative pieces, meaning Baroque or 19th century chairs and fine Portuguese porcelain together with works by local contemporary artists.
In the end, you’ll see that the 10-million-euro investment was a reasonable price to pay when the result is providing one of the most memorable experiences in the beautiful city of Porto.

Get complete details, including booking information here: Pousada do Porto – Palacio do Freixo Hotel

SEE ALL OF PORTUGAL’S POUSADAS

Porto Restaurant Week – The Perfect Excuse For A Trip to Porto

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Porto Restaurant WeekAfter Lisbon, it is now Porto‘s turn to have its own Restaurant Week. It’s the first time that the capital of the north of Portugal hosts this event, so now is the perfect opportunity to not only get to know this beautiful city by the Douro River but also savor top-quality gastronomy at more affordable prices. Just like in Lisbon, the participating restaurants have created special menus of just 20 euros (without drinks), of which, one euro will be given to charity.
Porto Restaurant Week is happening right now, and lasts until the 31st of the month. Among the participating restaurants are Artemísia, Bull & Bear, Cafeína, Foz Velha, Góshò, Itamae, Le Coin, Portucale, and Sessenta Setenta, all recommended in our Porto Restaurants Guide, part of GoOporto.com, the complete Porto City and Hotels Guide.

A Lisbon Church Reopens After Two Decades

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Igreja do Sacramento, ChiadoIt was closed for over two decades, but a church in the heart of Lisbon has just reopened. It was damaged in the great fire of 1988 that devastated much of the neighborhood, and only now did it have its interior restored. Not everything has been fully renovated but its ceiling and much of the altar and walls are now in complete public view.
The church is called Igreja do Sacramento and it’s found on a street of the same name in the Chiado district, just steps from the ruins of Carmo Convent. It dates from the 17th century, had additional works in the 18th, and includes some beautiful paintings in the ceiling dating from 1805. The damage if suffered over the last twenty years was not just due to the fire of 88 but also because of work underneath its foundation as Lisbon’s metro dug its tunnels in the expansion of its lines.
This church also has a crypt with mummified bodies, and it’s the only church in Lisbon facing East where the sun rises. Another curiosity is that its religious services on Sundays at 6PM will be conducted in Latin!

“Infusão” – A New Café in Lisbon’s Chiado

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Café Infusão, Chiado

In addition to the new Marc Jacobs shop, there was another opening in Lisbon’s Chiado last week. Together with shopping, that Lisbon district is mostly known for its cafés, and “Café Infusão” is the latest one. But this is no ordinary café, which also calls itself a “crêperie.” In addition to a dish of the day, the café allows you to select from a list of sweet or salted crepes, for which you choose the ingredients. They’re all less than 5 euros and come on a large plate, making them perfect for an inexpensive light meal.
With a name like Infusão (“Infusion”), I was expecting a list of teas, but that choice is a little limited. Perhaps in the colder days of winter that will be added to their menu. What it does have is the choice of a freshly squeezed fruit juice, which considering the warm weather we’re still having in Lisbon this October, it’s a much better choice.
The space is quite casual and inviting, with wooden furnishings and a blackboard behind the vaulted counter listing the menu.
You’ll find it on Rua da Trindade, just around the corner from Largo do Carmo and the ruins of Carmo Convent.
It closes on Sundays.

Café Infusão, Lisboa

Lisbon Wins Europe’s Best Destination in the World Travel Awards

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Lisbon

The 2009 edition of the World Travel Awards took place this weekend and Lisbon was the big winner. The Portuguese capital won Europe’s Leading Destination as well as Best City Break and Leading Cruise Destination. Described as the “Oscars” of the travel industry, these awards single out the best in travel, from hotels to airlines, to destinations, and two other prizes for Portugal were Best Golf Resort to Marriott Praia D’El Rei in Obidos and Best Boutique Resort to Algarve‘s Vila Joya.
Other awards included Best Airline which went to Germany’s Lufthansa, Best Low-Cost Airline to EasyJet, the Best Airport is Zurich‘s, and the best hotel is Paris’ Le Bristol. Among other categories were Best Design Hotel (Turkey’s Adam and Eve), Best Luxury Hotel (St. Petersburg’s Grand Hotel Europe), Best Cruise Lines (Norwegian Cruise Line), and Best Beach Resort (Greece’s Minos Imperial).

This year there were thousands of votes by travel professionals from 183,000 travel agencies, tour and transport companies in over 160 countries.

Marc Jacobs Opens in Lisbon

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Marc Jacobs shop, Lisbon

American designer and Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs has just opened his own store in Lisbon, in one of the city’s most prestigious addresses. It is found across from the opera house (São Carlos Theater), in the building where poet Fernando Pessoa was born (a sculpture commemorating the writer stands by the entrance).

The shop is divided into two separate areas, a larger space for women’s fashions and accessories, and a much smaller area for men. The shop was designed by New York-based Stephan Jaklitsch Architects who also designed the Marc Jacobs store in Paris, and the plan is for it to also show temporary exhibits.

Right now what clearly stands out are the women’s handbags going for an average couple hundred of euros, while the most expensive piece in the men’s section seems to be a €509 jacket. Another curiosity are women’s galoshes which Jacobs apparently believes can be back in style, while another item to check out are the unisex perfumes.

Lisbon is Jacobs’ sixth European home, after having already opened stores in Paris, London, Madrid, Istanbul, and Athens.

Marc Jacobs store, Lisboa

Lisbon is the City with the Best 5-Star Bargains in the World

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Avenida Palace Hotel, LisbonA recently-reported study regarding the cost of luxury hotels has shown that prices have tumbled around the world. Travelers can now enjoy 5-star accommodation at around 100 euros per night, and the major world city where that is most possible is Lisbon. The Portuguese capital tops the list of what is now considered “budget five-star hotels”, meaning visitors can at the moment get even more for their holiday money.
If you weren’t already convinced that Lisbon is currently the most attractive European capital when it comes to value, weather, and safety combined with its surprising cultural attractions, this should leave no doubts. Other European destinations such as Prague and Warsaw have also made the top 10 list of affordable 5-star-hotel cities, but no other can beat Lisbon for true value.
GoLisbon therefore recommends its visitors to check out prices at some of the city’s top hotels which just may reveal themselves to be quite reasonably priced. Consider Pestana Palace which is a favorite of visiting celebrities, stay in grand European style in the center of the city at Avenida Palace, or check out the city’s Sheraton which offers a fantastic restaurant with views and a fabulous spa.
Those who prefer the luxury of their own apartment will find dozens of choices in the center of Lisbon at even more affordable prices.

Lisbon’s Oldest Funicular and Little-Known Viewpoint Back in Service After Renovations

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Jardim do Torel

It was closed for eight long months for the renovation of its surrounding buildings, but Lisbon’s oldest funicular has just reopened. Although tourists prefer the two other historical elevators when curious about a ride on these charming vehicles (that of Bica down one of the most picturesque streets in the city, and that of Gloria from downtown to Bairro Alto), Elevador do Lavra is also found in a central location and it’s just as fun. It goes up the hill around the corner from the pedestrian Rua das Portas de Santo Antão and takes you to a small neighborhood park at the top.
That park too has just reopened after a clean-up and is one more viewpoint overlooking the city. It’s called Jardim do Torel and looks out to Baixa towards the river, as well as over the high rises uptown. There are now new benches shaded by the trees, and it’s a romantic, uncrowded spot for couples. For tourists it’s discovering an authentic Lisbon experience that very few others know about and that rarely comes mentioned in guidebooks.

Miradouro Jardim do Torel

Elevador do Lavra

DocLisboa, Lisbon’s Documentary Film Festival Returns With Close to 200 Films

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

DocLisboaStaring tomorrow, Lisbon’s annual documentary film festival will be screening close to 200 films until the 25th of the month. One of those will be the much-talked-about “Capitalism: A Love Affair” by Michael Moore, the American filmmaker known for the controversial “Fahrenheit 911” and “Sicko.” This seventh edition of the annual festival will also show several Portuguese documentaries and the screenings will take place in two movie theaters (“São Jorge” and “Londres”) and the Curturgest center.

The festival has also scheduled retrospective screenings with several international directors, one of them being Jonas Mekas who comes from the United States to show his more recent work, “An American Film Director at Work: Martin Scorcese.” Other special presentations will be films about and from Iran, as well as a few about former Yugoslavia.
The competing films for best feature documentary are a total of 19, from Portugal and around the world.
Check the official website for complete information: www.doclisboa.org