For a friend getaway trip to Lisbon, Portugal, we booked 3 rooms at the Olissippo Lapa Palace hotel. The idea of staying in a former palace was appealing, and TripAdvisor ranked this hotel as #2 in Lisbon.
I booked my room through Tablet Plus, which listed the following benefits at Olissippo Lapa Palace Hotel:
Complimentary upgrade upon hotel check-in, based upon availability
Guaranteed 4pm check-out
10% discount on spa treatments (not valid on spa products and not combinable with other spa discounts)
Guaranteed 12:00 (noon) check-in
Lapa Palace is located in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by residential buildings and foreign embassies, about a 25 minute walk from downtown. It's perched atop a hill, with lovely views of the water.
As my friends and I arrived, bellmen welcomed us and took our bags. The lobby had several seating areas and featured a pale green and salmon color palette with murals on some of the walls. The lobby decor didn't quite match my expectations for this level of hotel; there wasn't much that felt palatial about the lobby, other than the extensive use of marble. It looked borderline gaudy to my eye.
Located off the lobby were the restaurant, bar, and cigar lounge.
The hotel is divided into two wings: the Palace Wing (which is the original, more historic section, and the Garden Wing. During check-in, the friendly staff member reiterated the Tablet Plus benefits and informed me I had been upgraded to a river view room in the Palace wing.
I was assigned to room 605. My friends were assigned rooms on the 1st and 4th floors of the Garden wing. Interestingly, the lobby is on the 4th floor of the hotel, as the building is set on a hill.
The hallways of the Palace Wing were nicely decorated and felt quite regal.
I approached my room and appreciated that the door locks use RFID - no magnetic keycards to demagnetize.
The room had an entranceway flanked by closets on the left and a bathroom door to the right. There was an additional door separating this closet area from the bedroom, which I appreciated. This second door reduced hallway noise and could allow a second guest to shower and dress without waking someone sleeping in the main room, for example.
The room was quite spacious, with ample space to maneuver around. The bed was comfortable, with plenty of pillows to choose from.
My room featured complimentary coffee and tea, though the other 3 rooms my friends stayed in did not. We speculated that only Palace Wing rooms had this amenity, but we weren't sure.
There were other areas that lacked consistency between the four rooms. For example, some had separate showers and tubs, others didn't. One was stocked with two brands of toiletries, the others just had L'Occitane.
A functional juliet balcony was at the far end of the room.
Though I had to walk right up to it to get the nicest view:
Next to the bed was a seating area facing the balcony. It had two chairs and a small table with some reading material, a lamp, and potpourri.
Next to the television were a desk and chair with some international outlets. I should note that my friends' rooms didn't offer as many outlets near the desk. Also, in general, the rooms offered very few available outlets and none by the bed.
The A/C worked well to quickly cool my room, but produced annoying squeaking noises at random times.
Wifi in the room was borderline unusable. The signal was extremely weak and speeds were painfully slow. There was no ethernet jack available for a wired connection.
Hotel common areas
I often took the stairs between floors, which was an interesting experience. While some may find it charming, it felt like a maze of labarythine and completely mismatched hallways, vestibules, and stairwells. The Garden wing hallways tended to be dark and confusing. I guess this is to be expected for a historic building that's seen a lot of renovations and additions over the years.
In general, there was a real lack of cohesion in the hotel's decorating; lots of floral motifs, mixed colors and prints, and in my opinion, cheesy decorating choices. Lapa Palace can take a page or two from historic "palace" hotels like The Palace San Francisco, or George V Paris that have undergone exemplary modernization without losing their historic charm.
The grounds of Lapa Palace were by far my favorite aspect of this hotel. There were beautifully manicured flower beds, charming walkways, and a lovely pool area surrounded by lush greenery.
There was an outdoor bar/grill that offered poolside food and drink. Guests could eat at patio tables, or be served at their lounges. The attendants also proactively helped move lounge chairs and umbrellas for the guests. We had no trouble securing lounges together when we visited the pool. Overall, this area had a very relaxed and lush vibe.
Since I was somewhat jet lagged, I first tried visiting the hotel gym at 10pm, but was told by the concierge that it was closed at this time because of noise concerns.
The next morning, I went during open hours. The gym was located inside the spa facility in the Garden Wing. While there was plenty of equipment, much of it was seriously outdated and poorly maintained. There were no working treadmills. The stair stepper didn't work. The rubber interlocking floor tiles separated from each other as I did jumping jacks and planks. Also, the gym was stiflingly hot and humid (likely from the adjoining indoor pool). I can understand why I was the only guest there. Luckily, there are nice hilly streets surrounding the hotel, so you can get a good run in.
The breakfast buffet was quite decent, with some hot entrees, cold deli meats, scrambled eggs, pastries, fruit, and yogurt. There were also made-to-order omelets available from the kitchen. There were always helpful staff circling to clear plates, offer tea/coffee, and bring a la carte options.
We dined on the outdoor patio one evening, which was a lovely and quiet setting. The food was excellent as well.
Lapa Palace is a lovely, historic hotel. The grounds and pool are the real gems of this property. The staff members were kind and helpful. Views of the water and bridge from some rooms and public spaces were beautiful. The property is located in a quiet neighborhood amongst foreign embassies, so it was a restful and serene stay.
Unfortunately, the interior of the hotel is in serious need of a refresh. The rooms, while spacious, felt outdated and lacked enough outlets. In our group, we found rooms (even in the same category) to offer very different amenities. Wifi was unreliable. The fitness center was a low point, with many nonfunctional machines and limited hours.
Overall, we had a very pleasant stay, but will likely try a different hotel during our next trip to Lisbon.