At the end of January, I decided to add in a short holiday to the end a work trip in Europe. I went to Lisbon and stayed at the Intercontinental Lisbon for four nights. Located in the city centre and in front of the gorgeous Eduardo VII park, the hotel is a short walk to the landmark Marquês de Pombal roundabout, where there is a metro station and many buses to head to any part of the city.
From the outside, the InterContinental Lisbon building is a distinctive cascading block with glass. As the hotel is located near the top of one of Lisbon’s seven hills, the building’s outline can be seen easily from multiple lookout points of the city. Stepping inside the hotel, we see the expansive bright lobby with the two interesting chandeliers.
On the left side of the entrance is Uptown Bar, the hotel’s cocktail bar, and AKLA, the hotel’s restaurant. The main lobby area has plenty of lounge seats, where guests can enjoy finger food, pastries and beverages from MY OH MY, the small food stand towards the back. Behind MY OH MY is the entrance to the InterContinental Club lounge, which I have also reviewed. On the right side of the entrance is the long golden check-in counter, with a blue backdrop. The colours are certainly striking!
I checked into the hotel at the counter and was promptly greeted as an ambassador member. I was also told that there is actually a more cosy and private separate ambassador check-in area on the right of the check-in counter. Indeed, behind the check-in counter is a small area with a living room style seating arrangement, with the ambassador check-in counter being on the right side, and the concierge desk being on the left side. The head concierge, Maria Cunha, proudly wears her Clefs d’Or golden keys pin on her blazer, and was very friendly and helpful in providing advice on things to do in Lisbon!
Deluxe Park View Room
I checked in and went to my Deluxe Park View room. Along with the Deluxe room, these are the most common room types out of the 331 rooms in total that the InterContinental Lisbon offers. There are also 16 suites of various sizes.
My Deluxe Park View room measured 34 square meters and has a large king bed in the middle. There is a lounging chair in the corner and a work desk near the window. The TV is housed in a large wooden box frame in front of the bed, with the mini fridge and tea and coffee sachets in the drawers below. From my room, I had a view of the park and a large part of the city. On the horizon, I could also see the Tagus river.
There was also a Nespresso coffee machine on a rack near the entrance. The bathroom was next to the entrance and featured a double sink, a combined bathtub and shower with a glass panel, a toilet and a bidet. The toiletries were from a Portuguese company called Castelbel, and they felt luxurious and smelt great!
On the small table next to the lounging chair, I received two bottles of still water and 1 small bottle of sparkling water. There was also fresh fruit and a welcome letter. I settled into my room and began exploring the hotel.
As the hotel is located in the business district of the city, it has multiple meeting spaces located on both the first floor and the basement floor. The meeting spaces range from a large ballroom which can hold up to 500 people to smaller rooms for more intimate events. The hotel also has a small gym with modern equipment and weights in the basement. If there is a need for more facilities, the hotel has a partnership with a full-fledged gym and spa operator located just across the street in Eduardo VII park.
For one of the nights, I had my dinner in the hotel’s award-winning AKLA restaurant. The AKLA restaurant is only open for dinner and features a cosmopolitan touch to traditional Portuguese gastronomy. The restaurant space itself represents their vision well, with the modern furniture contrasting the traditional painted tiles on the wall.
After ordering my choices, I was presented with a basket of freshly made bread, which was served with some exclusive 2014 Esporão extra virgin olive oil. My meal began with a small amuse bouche of salmon, before my tuna ceviche starter. The ceviche had an Asian twist to it, with Tobiko Wasabi pearls and the spicy carrots giving it a tangy edge to complement the creamy avocado.
For my mains, I had a modernized quintessential Portuguese dish, the Bacalhau à Lagareiro, where a thick slice of codfish is baked with olive oil to perfection. I had the traditional accompaniments of spinach and potatoes to go with my delicious fish, as well as a glass of white wine.
Feeling adventurous, I decided to order a small serving of lamb chops, which were grilled medium to perfection and served with a demi-glace sauce. The simplicity of the dish brought out the rich flavours of the meat, which I washed down with a glass of red wine as well. To cap the night, I had a small plate of creme brulee, which was also done to perfection. I left the restaurant very satisfied and impressed with the dishes as well as the service.
On one of the nights, I decided to check out the hotel’s cocktail bar. The Uptown bar is located next to AKLA restaurant and is open at night. The bar features many comfortable lounging chair and seats, but the highlight of the space is definitely their funky coloured long bar with pink neon lights. The lights gave the bar a surreal touch.
The Uptown Bar is part of the World Class Club, a group of bars which have participated in the world’s biggest and most reputable cocktail competition. There are only 6 bars in Portugal which have been designated the coveted World Class Embassy title. As such, the cocktails in the bar, which feature Portuguese ingredients and inspirations, were very interesting. I had a port wine-based cocktail which had thyme, vermouth and some homemade hazelnut bitters. The cocktail was smooth and delicious! My cocktail was also served with some bar appetizers of olives and mixed nuts.
Visiting other rooms
On one of the days there, I also managed to organize a tour of the hotel’s other rooms. I visited the Ambassador suite, which was the second largest room. The suite has a large bed with two lounging chairs, a large bathroom, a kitchen, a small office, a dining room and living room. I also saw a regular suite, as well as the model showroom for the new rooms when the hotel finishes their renovation in early 2019. I could not take photos of the new room as there were still some furniture decisions to finalize, but needless to say, the new room looked modern and great!
I definitely enjoyed my time at the InterContinental Lisbon. The hotel rooms were comfortable and luxurious, and the service level which I received was great. I hope to visit the hotel again when the renovations are complete to see how such a great hotel can continue to improve!
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