As if you are invited by friends who happen to live in an 18th century restored palace along the Tejo river. That is how I feel while staying at the new five-star luxury boutique hotel Verride Palacio Santa Catarina. On a side note, we’re talking friends closing in on the Forbes 500 top ten. No expense has been spared during the 10 year renovation of this unique property.
The former palace is located in the heart of Lisbon along the Miradouro de Santa Catarina. This famous lookout point over the Tejo is the spot where – young – locals and tourists mingle with street performers and musicians to enjoy sunrise and sunset. Yes, there is a contradiction between the serene tranquil atmosphere of the hotel and the hustle ‘n bustle outside. Do I mind? No, not really. You are in a busy city after all. What I like is that instead of distance between the two worlds, the hotel tries to connect and co-exists. By serving drinks outside while streetbands are playing in the evening sun, for example.
If you value tranquility, like I do, opt for a room at the other side of the hotel. The Bica area side. Amazingly quiet, I enjoyed it so much to sit on my balcony and watch my beloved city from above. The colors of the roofs, laundry hanging out to dry, swallows flying in flocks and the ever-changing light over the river.
With only 18th rooms – two of them marvelous suites, the Kings and Queens – and an eye-catching staircase in the entrance, this p(a)lace radiates understated luxury. All restored in style by architect Teresa Nunes de Ponte.
The room at Verride Palacio Santa Catarina
My superior room, named Infantes, comes with views of both city and river and is done is soft beige and blueish green tones. I really fancy the interior with its high ceilings and minimalism style, nothing too much but still all you need is around. Where modernity meets the old days.
The large double bed is made with the softest organic linen by Portuguese brand, Celso de Lemos. Think a trillion thread counts. As is the bathrobe and carpets, all custom-made for Verride Palacio Santa Catarina.
The TV is hidden behind a panel, no need for that when you have views this great. Apart from minibar, Nespresso machine (no tea maker unfortunately) there is a smart phone for use during the stay with guided tour apps, free calls and more.
Marble galore in the bathroom(s)
Marble, marble, marble. We definitely have a theme here. The bathroom comes in three: one vanity corner, one bath/shower cove and a closed bathroom with toilet, bidet and sink. All well stocked with Aesop amenities and creamy coloured soft towels. Golden coloured faucets are the finishing touches. From the bath I have a view over the city roofs. Nothing more to add.
Breakfast with a view
Breakfast is served in the Wintergarden room and terrace. Only available for guests who can either opt for the community table inside or small tables outside on the terrace facing the city and river. And the small pool.
The small kitchen attached to the room, is where friendly staff prepares whatever you like with culinary love. Like my egg-white spinach omelette with avocado.
On a critical note, I do miss a breakfast buffet for cereals, fresh fruits and juices and so on. I like to choose whatever I want, whenever I want. Serving out every course is very service minded but it also takes a lot of time. I like to decide about how much time I spent on breakfast. All personal of course, we all have different preferences. That is precisely why I think more guests would be pleased to start with a short informal walk along the buffet before ordering their custom-made hot plate.
Suba, fine dining with a view
Verride Palacio Santa Catarina has two restaurants with on the top floor, Suba Gastro Bar. An intimate restaurant with tasty Portuguese cuisine with a contemporary twist made from fresh and local ingredients. And again with wonderful views of city and river.
I enjoyed a 3 course executive lunch for 30 euro, which was delicious from amuse – avocado cream with iced flowers – until the to die for Lemon Pie with Strawberry Sorbet (see photo).
The table ware is by Portugal’s moste prestigious brand Vista Alegre and an exlcusive design for Verride Palacio Santa Catarina, done in blue hues.
Verride’s Rooftop bar with the best view
Before I sit down for lunch, José-the-friendly-waiter asks me if I already seen the rooftop bar? Uh, no. He escorts me up the stairs behind the counter in Suba and enjoys my exclamations of surprise. This really is the best 360º view of Lisbon! He proudly points out the different highlights of his city, from the parlement building to the Castelo Sao Jorge. And beyond.
Open daily from noon ’till midnight with Champagne & Oyster Happy Hour on Wednesday and Thursday from 18.00 – 20.00.
Art and food at Criatura restaurant
The other restaurant, Criatura, is on and below the ground floor. The city of Lisbon is known for different of heights in both buildings and streets due to its location on seven hills. This restored cellar has a phenomenal ceiling and mixes Portuguese food with photo art.
On my list for my next visit. Looking forward to eat from the Vista Alegre plates, same as in Suba but in rose gold this time.
My stay at Verride Palacio Santa Catarina was by invitation on behalf of Chapter Fifty. We only accept invites that answer positive to the question: “does it match our lifestyle?”. I will not promote anything that I would not wear, eat, sleep or see myself. Authenticity is very important to me. Words, photos and opinions are my own.