Whenever my wife and I travel to a city for the first time we always try to find a clean, affordable, well located, friendly hotel. The Hotel Lisboa certainly ticked all the boxes and more as far as we were concerned and we would no hesitation in recommending it to folks like ourselves who only speak English and take around 48 hours to find our feet in any new city.
As usual we read as much as we could about all the things that you should be wary of before we set off; and once again we managed to arrive at our destination with the hairs on the back of our neck standing up as we searched for danger. When we left a week later, we had discovered Lisbon for what it was; a really friendly welcoming city that we would certainly recommend to anyone who has not visited it before.
The first thing that we had been advised to worry about was the taxi drivers. Our experiences could not have been better. We joined the queue outside the terminal (after what has to be the quickest reunion we have ever had with our luggage after a flight) and we were on our way within a couple of minutes. Our driver spoke wonderful English and told us without asking that our hotel was not very far away and we would soon be there. Lisbon Airport is located only 4 miles north of the city centre and sure enough we were standing outside our hotel within 10 minutes. The taxi fare was 10 euros 80 cents on the meter both times we travelled to and from the airport. By the end of the week we could have travelled to the airport on the excellent metro without hesitation; it really is a brilliant way to get around,
Our welcome to the hotel was warm and friendly and we were quickly upstairs on the sixth floor unpacking in a lovely room. Unfortunately, as soon as our head touched the pillow we heard what sounded like the lift opening and closing and we had to ask for a transfer. We were moved downstairs to room 102 which was designed to cater for disabled travellers (not that we we needed the facilities) and we had the first of 7 undisturbed nights sleep. For those folks who like to use the internet a lot; logging on in your room is very expensive, so most folk use the free wifi zone in the lounge by reception. However, for those folks lucky enough to be sleeping in room 102 immediately above the wifi zone - free internet all week is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
The TV in our room had one of the best selection of English channels I have come across with ESPN America, ESPN Classic, SKY, CNN and lots of English films with Portugeuse subtitles to help you relax when you needed to recharge your batteries.
The breakfast was well cooked and substantial if you wanted to load up for the day ahead and offered excellent value for money. Our rooms during our stay were 72 euros per night for the two of us which really was excellent. The first day we made the mistake of leaving our room safe open and when we returned after our first shopping trip; everything was there. As the Cleaner had obviously tidied our smaller bags into the cupboard; all I can do is supplement the tip and note of appreciation we left on our final day; by recording her honesty here.
The location of the hotel is great for first time visitors to Lisbon. It is located on the really impressive Avenue Da Liberade which basically means that it is impossible for you to get lost. A couple of blocks down the Avenue from the hotel is Avenida Metro station . We tried, and failed to work out how to get a 3 day metro, bus and tram pass from the automatic ticket machine on day one. We would recommend that folk walk down to Baixo Chiada metro station and purchase your passes from the english speaking folk in the kiosk. The green Via Viagem ticket is the one you want and it is excellent value for money. This station should also be added to your notes as the place to enter the famous Bairro Alto District of Lisbon for the first time. We did read a number of warnings about not walking alone after the bars have closed in the side streets around this area but as far as we were concerned that is just normal common sense.
Above the station is a mall that has a number of food outlets that are worth visiting in the evening for a value for money meal. In fact one of the tips that is worth remembering for those on a budget in Lisbon is that you can eat a hell of a lot relatively cheaply in one of the malls that they have in that city. And their malls are really worth discovering.
There are two malls in particular worth finding on your map. The first is the Colombo Shopping Centre which is located next to the Stadium of Light - home of Benfica Football club. The mall is huge, 420 shops, has loads of places to eat well, and the football stadium tour (12 euros) is the best I have ever been on. The artwork around the stadium is amazing so don't forget your camera. The metro station is on the Blue line for this one.
The other metro station that you have to find is Oriente on the purple line. Now this was one of the big discoveries of our tour and I could kick our guide book writers for not making a bigger deal of what we found here. Apart from another brilliant mall, outside of the mall is Parque de Nacoes, which was the site of Expo 98, and is a real favourite of locals. The centre piece of the whole park, which is surrounded by futuristic looking buildings is the Lisbon Aquarium which is the 2nd largest in the world, It is unmissable and I say that as someone with no interest in fish. The Park also gives you views of 11 mile Vasco Da Garma Bridge and if you are lucky you will get the chance to ride on the cable car that links the Vasca Da Garma Tower and the marina.
Of course there is a lot more to discover in Lisbon, as you will find out, but our wonderful holiday was built on a foundation of a lovely hotel which ensured that we were in the heart of a city that was a pleasure to explore.
(We flew down from Edinburgh Scotladn to Lisbon and our Sunday to Sunday trip is recommended for anyone able to get Monday to Friday off from work!)
Finally, the down sides. Lisbon is reassuringly well covered by very visible police officers around the main tourist areas. They are of course there for a reason so normal common sense should apply when you exploring. Further out from the city centre, there is a lot more graffiti than Lisbon deserves and it is clear that they have a problem with this. Sadly you will also see beggars on the streets and some folk sleeping rough in doorways. At no time did we see any of the homeless people bothering anybody, but it does make you feel sad to see someone sleeping in the doorway of shops which during the day and early evening sell expensive creations by Versace et al.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.