Think at the next level. Then another one of these.
And here is the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon in the world of hospitality.
In Lisbon, it is physically located a few floors higher than the city center, on a hill overlooking Parque Eduardo VII.
Seen from the outside, with your eyes closed, it could be an apartment block, but this modernist building, built in 1959 by dictator António de Oliveira Salazar as an estate to “make Portugal proud” (and since 1997 by Four Seasons management), is actually covered with more than 40,000 square meters of marble.
As you walk through the glass doors, held open by impeccably courteous doormen, you enter a hotel fantasyland.
Ted Thornhill checked into the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, which sits on a hill overlooking Parque Eduardo VII. Above you can see the “beautiful” indoor pool
“I look at it from the outside, with my eyes closed,” writes Ted, “[Four Seasons Ritz] “It could be a residential building, but this modernist structure is actually clad in over 40,000 square meters of marble.”
My partner, daughter and I stayed in a junior suite on the fifth floor which was incredibly opulent.
Our accommodation has a small balcony overlooking the Tagus River, a beautiful, mostly marble bathroom with double sinks, rain shower and bathtub; a separate toilet by the front door (also mostly marble); A king-size bed that was, frankly, a dream – and furniture stylish enough for a Vogue cover shoot, including a sublime gray chaise longue.
There was also a walk-in closet. And turnbuckles made of luxuriously polished wood.
Then there was peace. With the balcony door closed, our suite was an oasis of calm.
Also of particular note is the room off the elevator on the fifth floor – which Four Seasons has transformed into a fashionable lounge, complete with a pair of crisp, fluffy white armchairs (see video).
The hotel was built in 1959 by dictator António de Oliveira Salazar as a property “to make Portugal proud” and has been managed by Four Seasons since 1997.
Check out the “spectacular, retina-scorching orchid display” in the lobby. Turn left here and enjoy a Michelin star dinner at Cura and the hotel’s Varanda restaurant
Push the button in the elevators for the top floor and you’ll find yourself on one of the most unique hotel rooftops in the world: a bright blue running track that wraps around a giant “Ritz” sign and complements a top-floor gym .
All in all an exciting setup for a fitness session. Although, as I suspect many do, we were just there to take in the breathtaking views.
Meanwhile, head downstairs and discover a beautiful indoor pool dominated by impressive Adonis and swordfish statues and dotted with luxurious sun loungers.
There is also a large outdoor pool. It was not in use during our visit in October, but when the weather is nice it is probably one of the most beautiful places in the city.
Ted stayed in a junior suite (above) which he describes as “incredibly opulent”.
Push the button in the elevators for the top floor and you’ll find yourself on one of the most unique hotel rooftops in the world: a bright blue running track that wraps around a giant “Ritz” sign and complements a top-floor gym
The “huge” outdoor pool – “definitely one of the most beautiful places in Lisbon when the weather is nice”
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For foodies, the lobby level will be the biggest hit. Here, the hotel serves a magnificent breakfast buffet at Restaurant Varanda and a Michelin-starred dinner at Cura – both thanks to the spectacular, retina-searing orchid display.
At Cura we enjoyed a 13-course tasting menu “Origens” for 185 euros, with bread as main course.
Pedro Pena Bastos, the chef, serves rustic wheat bread and a milk bread for course number 7.
Before the loaves were half a dozen dishes that demonstrated Pedro’s standing as a chef of considerable talent.
The brigade, wearing Peaky Blinders-style flat caps, began by sending a starter of mushroom tarts from the open kitchen. “Confused,” I wrote in my notes.
Then came dishes of soft strips of mackerel with a small dome of the sweetest fries; a perfectly formed tuna tartare ball with smoked sauce and green beans; and squid with grilled seaweed butter and Ossietra caviar.
After the bread, there was wreck fish from the Atlantic Ocean, cubes of delicious Iberian port wine and perfectly cooked pigeon with broccoli and beetroot.
The hotel offers a “great” breakfast buffet at the Varanda restaurant, says Ted
The Michelin-starred Cura, where Ted and his partner enjoyed a 13-course Origens tasting menu for 185 euros (£160), with bread as one of the main courses
Pedro Pena Bastos, the chef, serves rustic wheat bread and a milk bread for course number 7 (above)
Curas squid with grilled seaweed butter and Ossietra caviar
Every table seemed to be as fascinated by the Cura experience as we were, except for the table with the gentlemen next to us who seemed more interested in watching music videos on their phones.
Sanctuary in a temple of the finest gourmet food.
The service in Cura, as everywhere else locally, was impeccable.
This is a hotel with experienced professionals who took care of some memorable little moments, from ordering popcorn, to handing over the room to my daughter because she screamed excitedly about the size of the TV, to cutting of the eggs for our “Eggs and Soldiers” for breakfast.
When we weren’t soaking up the palatial surroundings of the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz, we were eating cereal at Pop Cereal Café, riding the wonderfully thrilling 28 tram through Lisbon’s winding cobbled streets, walking the ramparts of the epic Castelo de Sao Jorge , and run around the beautiful place – the Praca do Comércio.
We then enjoyed taking the metro to the nearest station to the hotel – Marqués de Pombal. From there it was an uphill climb to the glass entrance of the Four Seasons, but the thought of the lush surroundings that awaited us made us cringe slightly despite the incline. In fact, I would throw myself over a cliff for a hotel this good.
Four Seasons – it still makes Portugal proud.
Ted stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, where room rates were around £678 ($845) per night at the time of publication. Visit www.fourseasons.com/lisbon.
Advantages: Impeccable service, beautiful bedrooms, first class food, breathtaking views, unique roof terrace. Four Seasons shows here that it has perfectly mastered the art of hospitality.
Disadvantages: The modernist exterior, while architecturally important, may not be for everyone.
Rating out of five: 5.
James is an author and travel journalist who writes for The Fashion Vibes. With a love for exploring new cultures and discovering unique destinations, James brings his readers on a journey with him through his articles.