LISBON WEEK: Part Two, Palácio Belmonte
Today we bring you part two in writer, Emily McAuliffe's exploration of the hotels of Lisbon. According to Emily, Lisbon’s grand Palácio Belmonte is nothing short of stunning.
The building housing Palácio Belmonte is discreetly accessed via an unmarked red door, and opens up to reveal ten suites set across a whopping 3700 square metres. The accommodation functions more like a private residence than hotel, so guests can feel like kings and queens in their exclusive hilltop abode. “It’s like we hand out keys to our friends,” says owner Maria Mendonça of the palace’s bespoke service, which she describes as all encompassing but invisible.
The 1449-built palace was purchased by Maria’s French husband, Frederico, in 1994, who invested €26 million throughout a six-year renovation process. Two years alone were dedicated to the restoration of 3800 traditional blue and white azulejo tiles that now frame the common areas, and the couple went to great lengths to source materials used in the original palace to maintain its authenticity.
Frederico carefully considered the room structure and strategies to work around design obstacles by spending a year sleeping in the palace to ‘see and feel’ the building. “Everything was very complicated,” says Maria. “For instance, you can see in the Padre Himalaya room that the ceiling isn’t square – all the angles are different, so that alone was a challenge.”
While it may have caused renovation headaches, the Padre Himalaya honeymoon suite is now a knockout. The three-level room is located in the palace’s old Roman tower, and the cylindrical bedroom on the top floor has 360-degree views across the city and sparkling Tagus River.
The couple also wanted to use the building’s elevated location and contours to create a natural air-conditioning system. Thus the palace is well ventilated by rows of windows that catch the river breeze, while central heating provides comfort during winter.
In addition to the vast interior, the palace also includes seven terraces, a pool and an outdoor breakfast area with panoramic city views, making the hotel an easy choice for those who want to splurge on luxury.
Páteo Dom Fradique 14, 1100-624 Lisboa, Portugal
+351 218 816 600
Images courtesy of Palacio Belmonte, Marko Roth, Joana Pinto, Romain d'Artigues, Philippe Louzon, Marcelo Vaz, Joe Condron.