There are good hotels and then there are great hotels, trust me when I tell you that Memmo Alfama Hotel, located just metres away from the Cathedral and a short walk from the São Jorge Castle in the historic old quarter of Lisbon falls into the latter of these two categories.
Architect Samuel Torres de Carvalho kept the original façade of the hotel (parts of which were originally a shoe polish factory and bakery) in place whilst adding contemporary twists such as the stunning roof top pool and balcony – one of only two in Alfama – whilst interior designer João Corrêa Nunes has created an interior that is somehow both sleek and modern but blends seamlessly into its historic surroundings.
The hotels 42 rooms are pretty generous in size, I believe our room was one of the hotels smaller offerings at around 20 sq metres, with the larger of the rooms measuring up to 30 sq metres over looking the Tagus towards the back of the hotel. I loved the neutral palate of the room and the large windows that looked out onto the quiet cobbled alleyway leading down to the cathedral allowed the room to be flooded with sunlight during the day whilst the heavy wooden shutters provided an intense black out at night which meant we slept more peacefully than I have done in a long time. All the little touches are there, from the small in room fridge to the high quality amenities and the lovely “mail bag” that hangs in the entrance containing restaurant recommendations, advice on tours and a cute little sketch pad in case the beautiful surroundings catch your imagination.
Breakfast is served on the hotels roof terrace and whilst the offering is relatively small it covers all the main bases, from fresh fruits and yoghurts, freshly baked bread and pastries to the selection of egg dishes and pancakes which are cooked to order for you on request. There cannot be many more beautiful places to have breakfast in the city that’s for sure! The pool is also the perfect size for a cooling dip after a long days site seeing and at night the bar springs to life, attracting hip young locals for one of their premium gin and tonic selections or cocktails – absolute perfection!
Memmo Alfama is a great base from which to explore the city and is perfect for design and history geeks as well as romantic escapes or families with older children such as ours and we could not have picked a better place in which to stay.