For our Spring 2023 must-stay content, I headed to one of Lisbon’s most highly regarded and ultra-chic hotels but it was after my landing the driver forewarned me that he was tentative about our arrival. First, he had to spot the nearly hidden tunnel entrance amid the chic shops, storefronts, and trendy restaurants and then negotiate a steep decline to the Memmo Principle Real. At once, just through the tunnel, the city of Lisbon was before us. The Memmo Principle Real is a stunning low-profile rectangle of modernism designed by architect Samuel Torres de Carvalho. Perched atop a hillside the hotel overlooks red-tiled roofs and the city of Lisbon. The hotel is the first five-star luxury boutique in what has become Lisbon’s trendiest quarter, the Principle Real and it is a posh and comfortable enclave of high style. Constructed to emphasize the massive view of Lisbon, the interiors are designed to incorporate classic materials and the ambiance of the nearby regal mansions with modern classic style. Limestone, marble, and oak are prominent throughout the public spaces and guestrooms. The wood walls on the reception floor, which included the Café Principle Real and the Cocktail Bar, and the slatted dividers in the guest rooms are warmly elegant. The guest rooms are simply divine and the Hermes amenities add an air of exclusivity to your stay. With only 41 rooms the Memmo Principle Real is exclusive without being exclusionary, and the staff’s attentiveness is individually directed to each guest.
Dining alone at the Café Principle Real was delightful. I was given a back table that overlooked the dining room and the sophistication and the style of the patrons, both local, and tourists out sparkled the lights of the distant city. Dinner was such an elegant affair. Chef Vasco Lello, ‘world cuisine’, inspired by Portuguese influences around the globe, mix flavors and ingredients from Brazil, Africa, and Asia with local ingredients and traditional fare to create modernly intriguing dishes. Pairing each course with a Portuguese wine added to my willing immersion into the rich culture of my surroundings. In the evening the dining room, illuminated by hanging lights, simply shimmers, and by day the spectacular view beckons you onward to discover all that Lisbon has to offer. Breakfast in the café is not to be missed. The three-tier bread and pasty service is opulent and the made-to-order items and buffet are equally refined. Lovely personal touches add to the appeal at the Memmo Principle Real. Each night at 5 pm there is an exclusive walking tour of the neighborhood and the in-room amenities include the ingredients for a complimentary a Porto Tonic Café Colonial. On my room arrival, I was told to ‘opt for the lime garnish, rather than the lemon’ and it was very good advice. Memmo Principle Real. Experience Portugal the moment you board your plane, fly TAP Air Portugal.
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