When it comes to travel, I feel so fortunate to live in London. With four airports including one of the biggest airports in the globe, it’s equally easy to jet off to Europe or further afield at the drop of a hat. This is exactly what I did in November with one of my best friends to alleviate my post-Cambodia blues. We settled on Lisbon for our girly getaway as neither of us have been but the fairytale medieval feel of the city really appealed to both of us – unlike most European cities, Lisbon seemed quaint with warrens of cobbled streets rather than well-trodden, pristine boulevards and the usual sprinkling of stores you see in every city across Europe.
We stayed in the Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade, situated on the tree-lined Avenida da Liberdade in downtown Lisbon. A stone’s throw away from the metro and the likes of the Louis Vuitton and Prada boutiques, the area is the perfect setting for the recently renovated Softitel. The hotel is a short walk from the central squares and metro as well as the world famous graffiti art dotted around Lisbon – the location could not be any more ideal, it’s always much nicer to be able to take a leisurely stroll around a city rather than missing it while you’re on the metro.
One of my gripes with staying in a large chain hotel is that they can sometimes feel a little soul-less; you would be anywhere in the world and the hotel is exactly the same inside. This is why I always enjoy staying in Sofitel hotels, they are naturally luxurious with exceptional service but the hotels always tend to reflect their surroundings. The Lisbon Liberdade hotel is no different; the rich dark wood is complemented with ocher and deep red accents and peppered with paintings by local artists, evoking a Gallic, Portuguese flavour. The feeling is of an intimate boutique hotel on a much larger scale.
In London, some of my favourite bars are hotel bars (hello Berners Tavern), but for some reason I don’t tend to spend a lot of time in hotel bars when I’m away on holiday. After Tinuke and I indulged in a cocktail at the Softitel’s lovely bar, I saw the error of my ways and I feel like I’ve been missing out all this time. The bar had a little bit of an old school, Soho House-esque gentleman’s club vibe, it was like we had discovered a really cool, comfy hidden nook to grab a really great cocktail. The bar staff were wonderfully attentive and gave us some great tips on where to visit, as well as showing us the traditional way of serving Absinthe.
The ocher and deep red colour scheme extended to the bedrooms, subtly reinforcing the Portugese influence. Despite being right on the Avenida da Liberdade, the room was super quiet but enjoyed views across the pretty boulevard and views of one of the seven hills which surround Lisbon. As the window was quite small, the room was a little dark but we were out during the day and only back in the evenings when we would have the lights on. It’s a tiny niggle but insignificant when you weigh up the side of the room, which was spacious enough for a huge bed, sofa, desk and an armchair. The bathroom was equally roomy and had a bath as well as a shower – which I made full use of as I had an awful fever on the trip. I loved the Yves Delorme robes, the most luxurious hotel robes ever!
The location is second to none, the hotel is beautiful and the service is exceptional. The Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade is the perfect choice for an indulgent weekend in Lisbon.