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
When we recently told you about Lisbon’s International Horror Film Festival we said it was the first of several film festivals in Lisbon until the end of 2009. The second is Queer Lisboa, the city’s gay and lesbian film festival which is in its 13th edition this year. It has become one of the largest gay film festivals in Europe, screening a total of 95 films this year. Eight of those will be Portuguese productions, while everything else will come from all corners of the globe. That includes “Pedro,” a film about a famous resident of MTV’s “The Real World,” while the first screening will be of “Morrer Como Um Homem” which has already premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Â That’s a Portuguese film by JoÃ£o Pedro Rodrigues, a director who achieved international acclaim with his 2000 film “O Fantasma.”
In addition to the films, the organization says it is also “celebrating seven icons of queer culture” through poetry readings, concerts, and debates with various personalities.
The festival takes place between the 18th and 26th of this month in Cinema SÃ£o Jorge in Avenida de Liberdade, and there are prizes for Best Feature, Best Documentary, and Best Short Feature. Tickets cost 3.50, but there’s a 20% discount if you buy tickets for five films. You may consult the entire program on the festival’s website www.queerlisboa.pt
The latest extensive article about Lisbon comes from “Edge,” a Boston publication for the gay and lesbian community. Although its travel section is obviously aimed at LGBT travelers, the article covers Lisbon hotspots that everyone will want to check out. It is written by Megan Smith, a travel writer based in Australia who has written for international publications such as the Let’s Go travel guides. She’s recently visited Lisbon with her partner, and has decided that the Portuguese capital is her “new favorite European city.” She stopped by the city’s most famous sights (the castle, the tower, and the monastery), but also didn’t miss the city’s newest major attraction, the Design and Fashion Museum which she concluded “embodies the edgy Euro attitude of Lisboa, combining the cool underground sensibility of Berlin with the flair of Parisian haute culture.” She then looked for some additional Lisbon style at the shops of Rua do Norte in Bairro Alto, and stayed in that lively district at night for some caipirinhas and to seek out the neighborhood’s best bars. She also highlights a meal at “O Faia,” a Fado restaurant with an “overwhelming” wine list and memorable Fado performances.
In the end, the author found the essence of Lisbon to be evidently “artistic, creative, laidback and engaging,” and to understand why, you can read the entire article: Lisbon in 48 Hours and 12 stops
And also be sure to see the other major article about Lisbon this month, found in Travel and Leisure magazine, as reported here: Where to Go Next: Lisbon
Lisbon’s most popular festival takes place every June on the 13th of the month. That’s Saint Anthony’s Day (the saint was born in Lisbon), and this year was no exception, with thousands of people filling the streets and alleys of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. But although that is over, the partying continues throughout Lisbon in the upcoming weeks. Until the end of the month you can still catch the Fado Festival which includes concerts in Saint George’s Castle, ending with a show by the current Fado queen Mariza on the 27th. That’s also the day of Lisbon’s Gay Pride parties which this year start at 4PM in the Belem district by Belem Tower. Several DJs will provide the soundtrack to the city’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that led to the annual gay pride festivals around the world, and Lisbon will also be remembering one of its biggest gay icons, a popular singer from the 1980s, Antonio VariaÃ§Ãµes, who died 25 years ago.
Special events continue days later with jazz performances in the city’s three famous funiculars (Bica, Gloria, and Santa Justa) every night at 11PM from July 1st to the 12th.
And until the 15th you may check out Combo Lisboa, a special event organized by the recently-opened Design and Fashion Museum where 13 shops downtown present Portuguese design pieces while also being turned into stages for theater performances.
Finally, on the 15th and 16th of July, the Berardo Museum marks its second anniversary with a non-stop 24-hour celebration with various dance performances, live DJs, and a special bar service. And best of all, it’s free!
Celebrating Midnight in Comercio Square
Thousands of people choose to be in Lisbonâ€™s largest square at midnight, when the new year is welcomed in a festive atmosphere. Thatâ€™s where youâ€™ll be able to see the cityâ€™s fireworks show more closely, with the square and the river being flooded with a variety of colors and lights.
A Michelin-Star Welcome to 2009
198 euros (per person and without drinks) gets you a Michelin-star ending to 2008 and start of 2009. Overlook Lisbon from Eleven, the restaurant standing at the top of Edward VII Park. Â If you get the right table, its special menu (at that special price) will also get you views of the fireworks at midnight taking place down by the river. On the menu youâ€™ll have both meat and fish courses and a varied selection of desserts.
Special Dinner by the Tagus
A cheaper but equally worthy alternative to Eleven is moving closer to the river and going for Virgulaâ€™s special New Yearâ€™s menu. Itâ€™s only 95 euros (without wine) and includes a special selection of two fish or meat dishes, ending with a chocolate pyramid for dessert.
Saying Good-Bye and Welcoming 2009
Last August, GoLisbon told you that the lounge-bar-restaurant-club Kubo was the place to be in the summer. Turns out it stayed open for the fall and it will only be closing its doors until the summer of 2009 on New Yearâ€™s Day. It made a few changes in its autumn season, and was no longer an open-air space, although it did it with glass, so the Tagus views are still there. The best way to guarantee a spot when midnight arrives is to go for dinner after 7PM and get ready for the New Yearâ€™s cheers which start at 10.
Where the Party is Always at
If youâ€™ve been reading GoLisbon (and its blog), you already know that Lux is Lisbonâ€™s party house, and even after a decade since it opened, it still is the club with the most happening New Yearâ€™s celebrations. Do note that itâ€™s “New Yearâ€™s,” and not “New Yearsâ€™s Eve,” as it opens its doors when itâ€™s already 2009, at 1 in the morning.
An Alternative New Yearâ€™s Party
Lisbonâ€™s Lesboa parties originally had the cityâ€™s lesbian community in mind when they first took place, but theyâ€™re now special events (taking place every couple of months or so) for every lifestyle and gender. Those looking for a more casual and cheaper (45 euros) alternative to the traditional New Yearâ€™s Eve parties, this is the one to choose, with an open bar (champagne will be served at midnight) and city views from its hilltop location (Tapada da Ajuda). DJ Ivan Pica (ranked in a magazine as Spainâ€™s #1 house music DJ) and Miss Jools (from Berlin) will mix the music, and those staying until the morning will have breakfast available (hot chocolate and cake). See the Lesboa website for more.