You wouldn’t feel out of place perching on your bar stool whilst wearing floor length vintage satin at the Hotel Britania in Lisbon, Portugal.
It gives a genuine nostalgic nod to the glamour of yester-year and despite being thoroughly modern in its amenities, there’s a refreshingly retro kind of elegance about this thoughtfully restored 1940’s hotel.
It also boasts fabulously old fashioned service to match; attentive, discreet and courteous – the staff here know how to treat their guests, much as I’m sure they did when some of those guests were indeed dressed in floor length satin. And I should mention that a stay here is certainly full of treats; tasty ones at that – like the complimentary afternoon tea and cakes, and the beautiful decanters of Port and Ginjinha (sour cherry liqueur). Parked stylishly on a vintage trolley in the corner of the lounge, you’re free to help yourself to a taste of Portugal in a glass.
One of the benefits of older buildings is that they often have larger rooms than modern hotels provide – and this is the case here. There was plenty of space, which meant you could actually see and appreciate the stunning polished cork floor. The furniture was authentic (though thankfully, there was nothing vintage about the TV or the lighting!) and the bed was in all honesty, the most comfortable I’ve slept in besides my own for as long as I can remember. There was no separate shower cubicle, but when the bathroom is just as pristine as it was years before (period marble finish and all), I can live without a walk in shower!
With a building classified as having historic importance for its home, and only 32 guest rooms, there’s an understated boutique feel to the Hotel Britania. You get everything you’d expect from a four-star hotel, including bathrobes, same day laundry and a 24 hour bar and room service. Then there’s breakfast – a comprehensive affair offering both continental style pastries and a hot buffet. Best of all, it’s served until noon, perfect for a lazy morning.
I was also impressed with the proper hairdryer (there’s nothing worse than wasting precious time battling with a poor appliance). For me, it’s the small details like this that really make a hotel and can convince me to return. There were also more quirky design features to enjoy, like the vintage barber shop and the displays of original crockery and glassware from the Britania’s art-deco heyday.
And of course, there was that other hotel essential for a thoroughly modern gal such as myself – free WiFi that worked a treat!
Tucked away but still just off Lisbon’s impressive Avenida da Liberdade, the hotel is central enough to enable you to explore historic Lisbon on foot, though access to the Metro and bus to the airport is moments away. As are shops like Louis Vuitton and Escada, with countless other designer retail therapy options right around the corner!
Honestly? I’m a little bit in love with this hotel – I just adored the history and the design. And the staff were obviously immensely well trained. I’d stay again in a heartbeat, but given that the Hotel Britania is just one of the family of hotels in the Hoteis Heritage Lisboa group, it would be wrong not to try one of their other properties. I have no doubt the experience would be completely different, but I also know I’d be in safe hands.
My stay at the Hotel Britainia was booked through alpharooms and paid for entirely by my good self – so rest assured that all opinions are completely my own, and were in no way influenced by daydreams I might have had about being 1940’s Hollywood royalty.