Saturday, 12 August 2017

Raspberry Rum

In the peak of the Summer, Lisbon is bubbling with visitors, it’s even hard to walk in the Downtown area. Lisbon is shining!

Every Restaurant or Coffee Shop that has tables outside is full. Rua Augusta, Rossio, you name it, there are even “fights” for seats. But don’t worry, there’s enough room for everyone.

In the summer nothing beats a late afternoon drink, the one that you have after a hot day in the city, and what better place to drink it than in our Bar or Lounge refreshed by the air conditioning.

Especially for this season, Gustavo Oliveira, our Head Bartender, created the Raspberry Rum.

This cocktail combines perfectly the bitterness of rum with the sweetness of fruit.

Here are the ingredients: Fresh Raspberry, rum, lemon juice, egg white and soda water.

It is very easy to prepare: fill a long drink glass with ice and a quarter of soda water, mix all the ingredients in the shaker, then pour it into a long drink glass mingle it with the ice and soda water and garnish it with a sliced fresh raspberry.

The result is wonderful and it is the perfect drink to finish a hard touring day.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Restaurants in Lisbon

Before diving into the unknown, which might be Lisbon’s restaurant offers, stop by our concierge desk, he will help you decide and most importantly will help you avoid the worst ones.  

A recent scandal hit a couple of restaurants in Lisbon’s downtown. Apparently, they were picking clients on the street, showing a menu with some prices but, once the clients were seated they would immediately try to sell different items, way overpriced, but hidden on the bottom of the menu.

Obviously, the clients followed the waiter’s recommendations, but in the end of the meal, the bill come bearing bad news: 140€ for a swordfish dish, 250€ for a mixed shellfish platter or 15€ for bread and these are just some of the examples.

After being confronted with that rip-off, clients asked for the menu and realized that the prices were really there, they just didn’t check them, as they followed the waiter’s recommendations.

So, our first recommendation for today is: always check on the menu what you’re going to eat, be picky, make the waiter point it out for you, “couvert”(yes you have to pay for it), dessert and of course wine, you can take recommendations but please check the list and its prices.

Our second recommendation is: if you’re staying in a hotel listen to the Front Desk staff, they will help you avoid some of these troubles. In our case, guests can always find support in our Concierge Desk.

These are skilled employees that know by experience the restaurants they are recommending and they try to match your wishes to the offer available in the city.

Further down, you will find some of our Head Concierge’s suggestions, other references are also available on our APP.

Established in one of the most iconic areas of Lisbon, the square do Teatro S. Carlos, in Chiado, space mixes aspects of the original construction of the cloisters, with modern, bold design in a combination of architectural concepts absolutely unique.

As Velhas
Located near the Avenida da Liberdade, this typical Portuguese restaurant, offers a comfort and family atmosphere, and a menu that emphasizes all the best that Portuguese cuisine has to offer.

Monte Mar 
Monte Mar Lisboa was created in an elegant and urban-chic atmosphere that Monte Mar Lisboa, presenting fresh fish, shellfish, and all the traditional Monte Mar Cascais cuisine. The hake fillets with cockle rice, our signature dish, has a simple name but is very rich in flavor. Since Monte Mar Lisboa is not just a fish and seafood restaurant, if you prefer a more traditional option, choose "iscas", a delicious and tender liver dish served in a skillet.  

Cervejaria Ramiro
The tradition of well-serving seafood
Founded on the 7th of April of 1956, Cervejaria Ramiro is known nationally and abroad for its excellent quality of seafood, for its level of service and for the price-quality relationship.

Mar ao Carmo
Located in the well know Chiado district, more exactly in Carmo Square, is a seafood restaurant in a modern and elegant space, with neutral tones, which invites you to sit down and enjoy a pleasant relaxed meal.

The Sacramento is a relaxed venue, located in the heart of Chiado's historic district, in the former Confeitaria Nacional, once stables of the old Palace of the Counts of Valadares. With its traditional Portuguese cuisine with a touch of innovation and a careful presentation, the Sacramento promises to delight its customers.

Situated in the heart of Lisbon, Gambrinus is a reference point in Lisbon’s Cuisine. Over the past 78 years, national and international personalities, artists and politicians have met to enjoy these meeting places.
The Restaurant has maintained a comfortable environment, with high-quality products and service of excellence, since the remodeling done in 1964 by the architect Maurício de Vasconcelos.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Lisbon Music Fest - Essex Youth Jazz Orchestra

Lisbon Music Fest is an international festival featuring orchestras, choirs, jazz big bands and chamber music ensembles, bringing together young musicians from all over the world.

The Essex Youth Jazz Orchestra (EYJO), England, was formed in 1991 and since then has hosted numerous jazz students from different schools throughout the region.

The repertoire covers different composers and musical genres, from the big band standards to works by modern and contemporary composers.

Young musicians are selected through public auditions, participating in a project that includes a series of rehearsals, concerts, short courses, workshops, and tours.

The event will take place this Friday at 5 p.m. at the Museu Nacional dos Coches and the entrance is free.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

What to visit in Lisbon – Torre de Belém

Celebrated in 2015 its 500th anniversary, the Torre de Belém is one of Lisbon’s landmarks and one of the most visited monuments.

Built in 1514-20 by Francisco Arruda and designed by Diogo Boitac, this defensive tower is a jewel of the Manueline architectural style, combining Moorish, Renaissance and Gothic elements into an amazing whole.

When the tower was built, the northern river bank was by the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and so the
tower stood on an island closer to the middle of the river, controlling the ships’ approach in a more effective way.

Described below are, in our opinion, the spots not to be missed when visiting the Torre de Belém:

Governor’s Room
With a unique acoustics that amplifies the slightest whisper, this was where the tower’s governor discharged his duties. After it became obsolete, lighthouse keepers and customs officials use it as a working space.

The Moorish influence is well noted on the watchtowers, their domes are seated on Manueline rope-like to a pile of small spheres reminiscent of the tops of chess pieces.

Virgin and Child Sculpture
A statue of “Nossa Senhora do Bom Sucesso” or “Nossa Senhora das Uvas” located in the “Terraço Baluarte” is facing the river, holding in one hand a bunch of grapes and a fig leaf. The image wished good luck to all of those who departed on the discoveries’ journeys.

Kings Room
A room that overlooks the main deck – comparisons to a ship are unavoidable here. The balconies on each side of the tower are pure Manueline. It is said that the kings liked to come here to view the arrival and departure of the ships.

The merlons of most of the tower’s battlements are decorated with the cross of the Order of Christ, carved to look like features on a shield. The smaller merlons at the rear and on top of the tower are crowned with pyramid-shaped spikes.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Lisbon’s Museums and Monuments

Tourists’ interest in Portuguese culture exploded in 2016, and 2017 promises to be even better.

When walking the streets of Lisbon, one can easily see the increasing number of tourists visiting the city. The lines to access major sights, monuments and museums, especially over the weekends, are the major obstacle for those who don’t have a great amount of time to visit the city.

The numbers now available, clearly demonstrate that the growth is real, in the 1st trimester of 2017 visits to Lisbon’s monuments, palaces and museums increased 14% and the Castelo the São Jorge is the most visited one.

Regarding the museums the increase was 10%, and here is where we can easily see the tourists’ influence, in 2011 only 38% of visitors to the museum were tourists, which in 2016 raised to a little over 50%.

For instance, the event “Night at the Museums” welcomed in 2015 10,833 foreigner visitors, in 2016 that number reached the 45,611 mark.

In terms of the most visited museums, Museu Coleccção Berardo ranks first, but this is most certainly influenced by its free access. Ranked in second is the Fundação Gulbenkian, in third the Museu dos Coches followed by the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga and the Museu do Azulejo.

Strangely enough, the most visited exhibition is from one of the most visited museums, the exhibition of Joana Vasconcelos in Palácio da Ajuda, followed by “O meu corpo é o teu corpo” at the Museu Colecção Berardo and “José de Almada Negreiros: Uma maneira de ser moderno” at the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

The study presents other curious facts, for instance, that English tourists prefer monuments, the French museums, and the Spanish palaces. The study also demonstrates that the visitors to the museums are young, mostly women and educated.

Source: Expresso

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Beaches not to miss this summer

Summer is at the door and so, today, we introduce you to 3 beaches not to miss this season.

Although Lisbon is not a typical summer destination our location makes it very easy to visit some of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches. Here are 3 that you should definitely visit this year:

Foz do Arelho
The Foz do Arelho beach, next to Óbidos Lagoon is a place where nature has given us, with its exceptional therapeutic qualities and an extensive beach, a place of choice for surfers, the peacefulness and the calm waters of the Lagoon are a charm for the children. In the area of the small quay, you can buy all the different species that the Lagoon has to offer, from cockles to clams, on this beach you will find great esplanades and restaurants, where you can delight yourself with fish dishes, fried eels, clams and the magnificent “caldeirada da Lagoa” .

Praia Grande (Big Beach)
As its name indicates, it is a wide beach, very popular amount surfers and body boarders. Praia Grande has the longest unbroken stretch of sand in the area, offering a good variety of bars and restaurants.
As a curiosity, be sure to observe the remains of the dinosaurs’ presence that are engraved in the south of the beach.

Lagoa de Albufeira 
Located in Sesimbra, in the lagoon, it is a unique combination of fresh water from the streams of Apostiça, Ferraria and Aiana, and of salt water from the sea, and when it reaches the 15 meters of maximum depth, the Lagoa de Albufeira is considered the deepest of Portugal.
Surrounded by pine forest almost all around its perimeter, it has small sandy areas by the sea and on the north shore. The calm waters and the wind create perfect conditions for the practice of windsurfing, kitesurf and sailing.

Monday, 12 June 2017

What to do around the Hotel - 10 tips by the Concierge (part 2)

Here is the 2nd part of our Concierge's recommendations of what to know around the hotel, enjoy.

6.  Baixa - Downtown Lisbon

Europe's first urban planning - downtown Lisbon's broad square and pedestrian streets.
Baixa, or downtown Lisbon, is the heart of the city. The main shopping and banking area district that stretches from the riverfront to the main avenue (Avenue Liberdade), with streets named according to the shopkeepers and craftsmen who traded in the area. It was completely rebuilt after the Great Earthquake of 1755 with streets flanked by uniform, neoclassical buildings.

7.  Lisbon's Cathedral

Lisbon's oldest building. Lisbon's ancient cathedral was built by Portugal's first king on a side of an old mosque in 1150 for the city's first Bishop, the English crusader Gilbert of Hastings.
From outside (with 2 bell towers and a splendid rose window) it resembles a medieval fortress, while inside it appears predominantly Romanesque, with a Gothic choir and ambulatory.

8. Castle of St. George

Overlooking the city from millennium-old walls
Saint George's Castle can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. Its oldest parts date from the 6th century, when it was fortified by the Romans, Visigoths, and eventually the Moors. It served as a Moorish royal resident until Portugal's first king Afonso Henriques captured it in 1147 with help of Northern European crusaders on their way to the Holy Land. It was then dedicated to St. George, the patron saint of England, commemorating the Anglo-Portuguese pact dating from 1371, and became the royal palace until another one (that was destroyed in the Great Earthquake) was built in today's Comércio Square.

9.  Miradouro Nossa Senhora do Monte (Our Lady of the Hill Viewpoint)

This is the highest point in the city, and its serene atmosphere attracts young couples. A small image of the Virgin standing in front of a chapel dedicated to the Saint Gens overlooks the city.

10.  Comércio Square

Lisbon's monumental riverside square.
The vast waterfront square also is known as Terreiro do Paço or the "palace's square", is where the Royal palace stood for over 2 centuries until 1755, when it was destroyed by the Great Earthquake. The royal family moved to another residence in the district of Belem, and the new arcaded buildings acted as the port of entry to the city.