Nestling within the narrow lanes and cobblestone squares of Alfama - Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood - is one of the city’s newest hotels, and the first to be sited in the Portuguese capital’s ancient Moorish quarter.
Memmo Alfama Hotel is a sleek, contemporary four-star boutique property comprising 42 guest rooms, many with beautiful views over the picturesque district and the River Tagus.
Clever design and a sympathetic eye to detail means the exterior of this stylish accommodation option blends seamlessly into the surroundings to preserve the local character of this most enchanting of Lisbon environs. Indeed, Alfama’s cultural and architectural heritage has helped shape Memmo.
Lisbon's ancient Moorish quarter, viewed from Memmo Alfama Hotel — Photo courtesy of Memmo Alfama Hotel
The hotel was created out of an existing 19th-century building, and the architect’s careful restoration of the original edifice and respect for Alfama’s traditional veneer have seen the property elected as a member of ARTEH, a luxury collection of charming and exclusive boutique hotels and resorts.
Entering Memmo Alfama Hotel is a little disconcerting, as it’s akin to walking into someone’s living room. There’s no reception desk as such. Instead, guests can check in from anywhere in the hotel. This home-from-home ambiance is prevalent throughout the property, and visitors quickly find themselves adopting the same unhurried lifestyle that underpins the character of the area.
Alfama residents are known for their hospitality and neighborly cheer. Wander the labyrinthine maze of streets, steps and alleys, and you’ll encounter a way of life largely unchanged for centuries: groups of ladies gossiping over lines of fluttering laundry, men playing cards on upturned barrels, kids running about in the streets and their laughter clattering off the walls. Theirs is a culture of warmth and generosity, and the front door is always open.
Memmo radiates a similar personality, where each guest is welcomed like a friend of the family.
There are several different room categories to choose from, each priced according to its position within the hotel, the amenities at hand and the views afforded. Needless to say, at this level of service, guest facilities are top-notch, with comfort a top priority.
A stay at Memmo Alfama Hotel is on a bed and breakfast basis, but that’s no big deal, as Alfama is brimming with bars, cafes and restaurants, many of them fado houses where diners are regaled with haunting renditions of this most melancholy yet compelling musical expression.
But in case you prefer a night in, the hotel still hits the right note with its fabulous Wine Bar & Terrace. The wines represent some of Portugal’s most celebrated vineyards, while the menu lists a delicious selection of Portuguese gastronomy.
Above all, it’s the envy-inducing views that really astonish. Memmo’s first-floor wood deck terrace already has social media networks buzzing, with everyone lauding the outstanding panorama across this lovely part of Lisbon.
The sweep across the higgledy-piggledy terracotta rooftops takes in the Tagus estuary and historic landmarks like the Panteão Nacional and the church of São Vicente de Fora. And when they’re in port, you can gaze out at the luxury cruise liners berthed at Santa Apolónia Cruise Port.
Open to non-residents, the bar adds another dimension to the Lisbon sightseeing experience and provides an appealing new perspective on Alfama, the city’s oldest neighborhood.
Travessa das Merceeiras, 27
Alfama, Lisboa 1100-348
Phone: +351 210 495 660