Lisbon is an Old World European city that has kept its historical character to this day. Maintaining a neutral status during both World Wars protected this city from the ravages of these two devastating conflicts. It’s grand boulevards, picturesque squares and gardens, its majestic churches, elegant neighborhoods and it’s charming, relaxed way of life remained intact while the rest of Europe was destroyed.
The Hotel Avenida Palace is the best affordable luxury hotel in Lisbon
During the Belle Époque era, many of Lisbon’s most beautiful buildings were built. One of those buildings was the Hotel Avenida Palace designed by one of Portugal’s most famous architects, Jose Luis Monteiro. Built in 1892, this opulent, neoclassical structure was the only palace located in the city centre. Likewise, it was considered one of the best hotels in Europe at the time.
Throughout its history, the Hotel Avenida Palace has been a favorite Lisbon lodging choice for world dignitaries, financiers, politicians, famous artists, intelligence operatives, and moneyed travelers. An interesting fact is this historic hotel was the site of numerous political intrigues and espionage during the two World Wars.
Choosing that perfect hotel is one of the most important pre-trip decisions I make. I spend hours combing the Internet looking for distinctive, five star hotels at affordable prices. I read pages and pages of reviews, look at lots of hotel photos plus view as many YouTube videos available on hotels I am thinking about booking. I find that videos are especially useful, because they give a clearer picture of what the hotel is really like. Truth be told, YouTube is my travel-planning secret weapon.
On my 50-day solo around the world trip, Lisbon was my first stop. Knowing I would be coming off of 20-hour travel day, I wanted to stay at a restful, elegant, well-located hotel. Also important to me, was a hotel that had solo-friendly characteristics such as car services to and from the airport, topnotch concierge services, well-appointed rooms, free Wi-Fi and numerous quaint areas inside and outside where I can relax, unwind and regroup in private. The hotel that rose to the top of my search was the Hotel Avenida Palace.
The Hotel Avenida Palace seemed to have all the right features
This historic, boutique five star hotel was advertised at $145 per night and included a free buffet style breakfast. Recently renovated, the photos showed opulent interiors for both the rooms and the many communal spaces. So much luxury for the price seemed too good to be true, but I went with my gut and booked it.
As reserved, the hotel’s driver met me at the airport. Like most solo women travelers, I am always relieved when I see someone with my name (even though it was misspelled in Lisbon) on a sign waiting for me as I clear immigration. Safe, pre-booked transport to the hotel in a foreign place is a must for me even if the service is not free.
As we drove up to the hotel’s entrance, I noticed a Starbucks right next door which is always nice to see. I am a coffee connoisseur and if where I am staying doesn’t serve my kind of coffee, I am on the lookout for the nearest Starbucks. Strong coffee is a dietary must for me and my mood quotient! We were greeted by a smiling doorman who immediately directed me to the front desk and called for the bellman to retrieve my bags. The minute I walked into the hotel, I knew I had made the right choice.
The Wow Factor
After a smooth, speedy check in, I was escorted down a well-appointed hall and past an elegant large tea salon to my room on the second floor. My first impression was that it was beautiful. Chintz curtains, embroidered pillowcases, floral painted bed headboard and chest of drawers, antique furniture, two lush upholstered chairs, a private petite balcony and a marble filled bathroom. The wow factor was undeniable. I was so pleased; I barely heard anything the attendant was explaining to me about the room and the hotel amenities. Bottom line, I was elated with my Lisbon hotel choice.
My first stop before I left the hotel to head out and do some walking to help me get over my jet lag was to ask the concierge for a map so I could get my bearings. The Les Clefs d’Or-decorated concierge, someone who has earned a prestigious, international designation of excellence, proceeded to show me where all of the major sites were located in relation to the hotel.
The Hotel Avenida Palace’s location is as good as it gets. It is within walking distance to so much of what Lisbon has to explore and if you can’t walk to where you want to go, you are right around the corner from a major Metro station and a couple of blocks from a major trolley pickup point. Great shopping, quality restaurants, the posh Chaido neighborhood, the fashionable Rua Augusta pedestrian thoroughfare, Rossio Square, the lively Barrio Alto, and most everything you might want to do in Lisbon are all no more than 10 to 15 minutes away on foot.
I returned to the hotel around 6:30pm and headed to the clubby, an English style bar, for a glass of wine and a light snack before bed. The cordial bartender was kind and attentive. He shared that in the adjoining swanky Palace Lounge a pianist would be performing a one-hour recital of favorite songs from the Great American Songbook.
Being a music major, I was thrilled and decided to enjoy the free concert before I went upstairs to crash. The renowned interior designer, Lucien Donnat, decorated the gorgeous grand salon that is the Palace Lounge and it doe not disappoint. The music was lovely and this added hour allowed me to enjoy one more glass of wine and make a few notes in my journal. I later learned that the hotel hosts regular piano hours throughout the year featuring fado, Brazilian, Portuguese and classical music for its patrons and locals alike.
For the next six days, I enjoyed the well-stocked, diverse breakfast buffet in the elegant dining room. This, combined with the Palace Lounge, the comfy bed in my cozy room, and the luxury towels and robe made my stay highly pleasurable. The entire hotel staff was always cheery and attentive. In the final analysis, I can’t say I had one complaint or disappointment about this special five star hotel.
One of the review comments I read before booking the Hotel Avenida Palace was, “this is as good as it gets.” For luxury at a highly affordable price, I totally agree and I enthusiastically recommend this hotel for the solo traveler visiting Lisbon. At the moment if you book directly on their website, the rates are $150 per night for a single and if an upgrade is available, you can secure it free of charge.
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I have included this short video of the hotel to give you a better visual understanding of what you will experience when staying here. Feel free to ask me any questions about The Hotel Avenida Palace, visiting Lisbon, or any other travel tips on Ask Astrid!
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Author: Astrid Clements
Astrid Solo Travel Advisor CEO and founder, Astrid, has spent over 40 years traveling around the world. She is passionate about embracing the world’s diverse cultures and sharing with others the global need and personal benefit of cultural literacy. Her focus is on affordable luxury travel that is both substantive and fun! To read more about her and each one of our Solo Travel Advisors, head over to theAbout page!