Best Hotel in Lisbon: Memmo Alfama

Memmo Alfama is a breath of fresh air, pure and simple,  filled with the joy of life. Our first day in Lisbon and a night of Fado and fun in the Bairro Alto led us across town and into the old district of Alfama. Beneath billowing washing lines and closed shutters, yellow line trams packed with flashing cameras and tourists and quaint tapas joints oozing with the salt tang of freshly cooked seafood.

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One more winding street and we find ourselves outside the Memmo Alfama, a place where the old shakes hands with the modern perched on the edge of the city. Inside and you can see why the Memmo is an architect’s dream, pale cream walls, light and airy open plan style and a beatific blend of Californian fashion with traditional Portuguese features. The logo of the hotel is a chameleon, illustrating the fact that this is a place that doesn’t want to make its mark in gaudy fashion; it wants to blend in with its city and to celebrate the rich heritage, pulling on inspiration from the fine threads of history.

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Our lovely host shows us around, waving her arms as she explains her passion for Alfama and how the design of the hotel was planned to perfect precision so it could fit in with the neighborhood of which it was born. ‘These are the old ovens from the bakery’ she explains as we enter a circular stone-clad room now holding a cozy chair and shelves brimming with books as opposed to bread rising. In the generous sized dining room she tells us that at the Memmo it is all about arriving home, opening the fridge, helping yourself to yoghurt and fresh juices and sitting on the pretty terrace or curling up with a good book on offer from the overflowing shelves.

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The roof terrace is the perfect place to chill from dawn until dusk, start the day with a fresh coffee watching the pale light turn brighter as the sun slides her hand over the painted rooftops. On hot afternoons refresh with a dip in the red tiled pool, designed that way so that it fits in perfectly with the terracotta skyline that surrounds it.

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Grab a beer or a signature cocktail for sundown and watch the boats and grandiose ships move across the port. Then when evening is said and done, step outside for a moment of calm and quiet, lounge on the cream colored corner sofa and enjoy unrivaled views as you linger above the city.

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Suites are homely and as soft and white as clouds, the whole space exudes pure Zen. Oversized beds invite you to sink down after a day of trekking through the town, cotton robes envelop you in sheer warmth as soon as you step out of the steamy rainfall shower and with no less than three perfectly poised windows you can open them wide and soak up the magic of the blushing red rooftops and the yawning stretch of the Targus River.

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A small plate of Pasteis de Nata’s and an exquisite bottle of port were there to welcome us, throwing open the windows I leaned out and smiled as a man on the terrace below was strumming a golden guitar and singing softly, every note wafting through the window mingling with the sweetness of cinnamon and the scent of orange blossom.

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Breakfast is always an occasion in my book and the Memmo doesn’t disappoint. Ripe hot coffee, the freshest squeezed juice, boiled eggs as soft as a slip of silk and pastries brimming from every basket. The waiter was keen to offer anything we desired tempting us to indulge in thin as paper crepes, creamy signature cakes and eggs and bacon cooked to supreme perfection. Taking your breakfast onto the sun drenched terrace and hearing the hustle of morning stir around you, you can be sure that you have found your own oasis. A place that brings respite and relief and welcomes you to stay a little longer, in the best hotel in Lisbon.

Jodie Oakes

Jodie Oakes

Jodie Oakes is a seasoned writer and an avid surfer with continuously itchy feet and a love of the finer things in life. After traveling through the continent with a touring band, living in Paris, Amsterdam and under the Auroras Borealis, she is now in Bulgaria where she attempts to piece together her first poetry collection.
Jodie Oakes