Q: What is it? A: A former palace with marble and brass and fresco and chandeliers and curtains and a great, super-professional staff. You can’t but surrender to it, although it’s really not a place for me.
Q: Is this a hotel for me? A: Frankly, no.
I love hotels with great service. From the very first moment, the staff at the Lapa Palace deliver in that area. In fact I have a weak spot for any hotel where you feel important as a guest. I’m also a sucker for great breakfasts. Not to mention poolside deck chairs where you can order a proper drink or something to eat. At the Lapa Palace, all these boxes can be ticked with a shiny fountain pen. This is not exactly a hotel where you are ignored as a guest. They do know their stuff. Still, I’d lie to you if I would tell you that this is my kind of hotel.
So what’s my problem?
I never get intimidated by luxury, nor do I shun large hotels, and to be frank, the Lapa Palace is by no means ginormous. With 30 fewer rooms it would have qualified as a boutique hotel. But this is by no means an intimate secluded spot, this is a palace. It was commissioned by the Count of Valencas in 1870 who wanted his crib to be built in the Lapa Quarter where the nobility traditionally lived. It became a hotel in 1992, but a palace-like hotel with a very nice sub-tropical garden. Again, what’s my problem? I guess it’s all the marble and fresco. It’s so traditional that it makes me feel like a schoolboy. No matter how great the Lapa staff is – I can’t but feel like I don’t belong in the late 19th century.
Do you look for a room with a pop up TV lift furniture thing…?
Then look no further. See the strange cube in the top picture? Press a button and the TV materializes through an interesting little lift system. The thing is that it was designed for old “thick” CRTV sets. A flat screen TV looks slightly odd in that mirror-clad cube. Amusing. This particular room came with a little patio and a bathroom the size of a tennis court.
Book the Lapa Palace if you like the classic, exclusive kind of hotel. Book it if you want great service and an equally great breakfast. Book it if you want to plunge in what I heard is Lisbon’s only heated pool. Book it if you trust the reviews on TripAdvisor, (it’s currently at #3 of 213 hotels in Lisbon). I believe that this kind of hotel will attract many people. To me, it’s not super attractive, but it delivers a confident but warm service. That can take a hotel quite far. Four stars. For competence and confidence.
Rua Do Pau de Bandeira, 4