Final stop on the gal’s return to the Portuguese capital was at Hotel Corinthia Lisboa, a 24-floor tower that showed not one iota of architectural imagination when it was put up in 1985. Never mind. Today’s interiors, the ambience and the facilities more than make up for the errors of some last-century developers (the hotel was bought in 2004 by International Hotel Investments plc who have since poured millions into it). It has been overseen since 2004 by Roderick Micallef, who is more than GM. He is instrumental in Corinthia’s development, and in strategy. We need a casual summer place, he said. This year, accordingly, SOUL Lounge was set up just behind the hotel, in its spacious grounds.
See the photo above, which shows how Soul, designed by local A3 arquitectos, fits so well as a sculpture with a modern green glass office block behind. Soul has live music, including a one-instrument percussionist – see the video below. There are three seating bowers. We sat in Negroni, where the recommended cocktail is indeed a white negroni served in a mug. The steep grassed slope behind has loungers with white cushions, and a tray of glasses invites you to help yourself to vanilla Bourbon iced tea, with the hotel’s compliments. A sign nearby suggests visiting Lisbon zoo, and, unusually, tells you how far away it is (200 metres, to be exact).
Nearly all the 518 bedrooms have already been redesigned and, as the video below shows, they are lovely. End room 1023 has a walk-in closet, ESPA toiletries, and overall soft blue colouring. Instead of a desk there are masses of sockets and USB ports, including in a pull-out small ‘occasional table’, so you can work where you want. I saw a lot of people working their devices up in the 24th floor lounge: it occupies all of the hotel’s top floor so the views, as well as the facilities, are outstanding. Others will undoubtedly appreciate the WiFi in the hotel’s breakfast courtyard. All-day dining Sete Colinas has been extended as part of the Micallef Makeover.
Yes, now the breakfast courtyard has three vehicles as part of the morning service, when 500-550 breakfasts are served every day. There is a pale pistachio VW camper van, the kind of contraption your grandparents daringly used for nights away from home. This is the egg station, with omelettes or whatever, cooked to demand. A little Citroen-type delivery van, though static, is indeed delivering croissants and other pastries, and a hand-pushed cart offers Artisani ice creams from the famous Lisbon manufacturer. Not surprisingly, says Roderick Micallef, his guest satisfaction scores are soaring, and he is by no means finished with the upgrading of this characterful hotel. NOW SEE VIDEOS OF ROOM 1023, AND TAPAS AND PERCUSSION AT SOUL