First Impressions of the Lapa Palace Hotel
As your taxi turns into the entrance, the elegantly simple facade strikes you as small for such a large hotel. The staff immediately deals with your bags, and your check-in is quick and efficient.
And...you can now feel you're in a real palace. The renovation from palace to hotel was faithful to the 19th century Portugese concept that I'll call "calming luxury." The classic furniture is either original or has been hand built in the old style. The result is certainly stunning. The Lapa Palace is a hotel you don't mind getting lost in.
The Staff of the Lapa Palace
I talked to the assistant manager to get some idea of what the hotel might do for someone wanting a romantic day in or near Lisbon, perhaps a surprise for wife or husband. The list went on and on.
"Imagine you're riding horses. You crest a hill, and there, in front of you, is a picnic all laid out, champagne chilling in an ice bucket, just waiting for you," he offered.
Another intriguing idea was a vintage port tasting, complete with the traditional ritual of using red hot port tongs to cleanly break the bottle neck (rather than let the ancient cork crumble into the bottle), then decanting.
But I decided to test the Concierge with a simple request. I wanted a small restaurant, not too expensive, that served traditional Portuguese cuisine as if cooking were a religion.
At 7:30 I had a magnificent dining experience at A Charcutaria on Rua do Alecrim, 47-A downtown, a 5 Euro taxi ride away.
My Room at the Lapa Palace, Lisbon
The Lapa Palace offers high speed broadband access via cable, as is the case in other Lisbon hotels I stayed at. They'll supply one if you don't have one.
As you can see from the room picture below, I had more than enough space in which to swing a cat. See the mirrored armoire in the center, at the foot of the bed? The TV was in there. Yes, you pushed a button and out pops the TV. Nice that the tube didn't disturb the ambiance of the room, and the conundrum provided by being provided with a remote control and no visible television provided me with hours of quiet contemplation on the issue of, well, why? Then, when I came home from dinner, all was revealed to me--the television stood proud and erect from its hidden box, ready for my late-night use.
The Lapa Palace Hotel - The Bottom Line
If you have the opportunity to put some money away for a romantic time in a real palace, perhaps it's time to do it. And Portugal is the place to do it in. I got the sense that the staff all loved Lisbon and loved what they do. For the money, you won't come across a better splurge value, especially if you make ample use of the well trained folks at the Lapa Palace. And don't forget the Spa services. How about a Caviar Body Treatment? An open air body massage?
Yes, everything's possible at the Lapa Palace.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.