Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados

Society Memoirs

Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados

Society Memoirs

Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados

Society Memoirs

Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados

Intro

A noble Palácio of cor de rosa in the fine leafy Príncipe Real district dates back to 1877, built for the co-founder of Lisbon's most well-known newspaper Diario de Noticias; a luxurious Portuguese residence that courted Lisboan high society. Aptly, this former heritage palace is a rather romantic luxury hotel of style – it is grandeur, suitably chilled. Following a considerable restoration journey, modern boutique opulence marries the design narratives of ancestral architecture and decadence – a design chameleon of Grande dame meets urbane. Residing at Palácio Real captures the essence of refined living: privacy, space, peace, well-stocked wine cellars, comfort, tended gardens, an outdoor pool, discreet service, and seductive bedroom suites, all of which beckon the modern nomad. 

Delving into the Palácio's troves of traditional Portuguese design revealed some absolute treasures. The hotel's heart is the ornate central staircase in original carved Moorish woodwork that creates an entry point of grandeur, framed by intricately panelled glass doors; you can easily imagine the Gatsby-esque types draped around it. Above it, the soaring atrium in peachy pink stucco topped by a glass roof showcases the relevance of restoration in today's architectural remit. Elsewhere in the Palácio Príncipe Real, touches of Lisboan heritage are revived and celebrated – the characterful backdrop to the reading salon is swirled in ornate azulejos, and many of the bedrooms have kept their original tiling in glazed blue and white with magnificent hand-painted arabesque ceilings.

The interior design borrows from the building's lavish past curating the historical features and creating a clubhouse styling that makes this Palácio so excitingly familiar. Statement features of Portugal's favourite material - marble - used with panache wraps the bathrooms in Pele de Tigre and encircles the deep Drummonds rolltop bathtubs – a signature of the house. The lavish ground-floor rooms come expectantly with regal monochromatic marble flooring hosting a smooth coherence of low-slung sofas in Eurasian teal, rose velvets, mocha paintworks, and, like all well-rooted stately homes, a plethora of objects d'art adding the feel of the Grand Tour.

The cherry on the cake, though, has to be the Palácio Príncipe Real's impressive courtyard gardens, a large and lush walled enclave of calm in lights-never-go-out Lisbon. Loaded with greens, shaded by jacaranda and lemon trees and edged by typical Portuguese calçada cobbles, it's a tranquil spot to sip an espumante, invite guests or take a dip in the Asian-style infinity pool.

A Palácio styled for today, a discerning hotel of clubhouse amour and articulate style that beautifully defines chilled luxury for those in the know – set within the walls that once hosted high-society parties.

The interior design borrows from the building's lavish past curating the historical features and creating a clubhouse styling that makes this Palácio so excitingly familiar

Rooms

Suites | Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados Suites | Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados

Bedrooms are spacious and regal, yet stylishly urban, with British brands lending a touch of class as seen in the use of Drummonds to supply the baths – in this case the eye-catching shimmery gold, purple and canary-yellow tubs make centrepieces to the rooms. BYREDO fragrances, the cult Scandi cosmetics brand by Ben Gorham, adorn the bathrooms and in the rooms colourful SMEG fridges are filled with local treats to tempt you.

Despite its size, the Palácio Príncipe Real only has 28 rooms and suites, which was a deliberate design decision to keep the rooms to their original large dimensions. Some open out onto the garden, other have bijou balconies – a place to listen to birdsong from the greenery. For the grandest of all bedrooms choose the former ballroom – its airiness softened by decorative touches, Moorish stucco work and padded headboards.

Foodie

Beautiful Palace Gardens | Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados Health food in Lisbon | Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados

One of the best standout points about the Palacio is the fabulous garden, which during the sunny days, and there are plenty in Lisbon even in spring to autumn,  is the best place to sit and have breakfast, a poolside snack or a light meal. Gail is a healthy food advocate, and as such, she insists on fresh produce and together with the two chefs, has created an in-house, essentially plant-based, guest menu for those wishing to chill at the hotel during their stay. Portuguese ingredients such as Alentejan ham, Serra da Estrela cheese, smoked salmon and house-produced olive oil also feature, including the hotel's weekly special of Bacalhao a Bras. 

Take a look at the curated wine cellar to try one of owner Miles' favourites, perhaps to be sipped by the fire in the cosy bar or on warm days by the pool.

With Portugal's foodie capital on your doorstep, there's always a cocktail bar, food market, bakery, café or top-class restaurant within a few minutes' walk and the hotel are happy to let you into a few of their insider secrets.

Heritage interiors Design | Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados

Spa

Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados

Wellness is a natural at the hotel, particulary when taking in the afternoon sun in the gardens with one of thier fresh ginger teas - there is something soothing about observing the plants, trees and blooms. Take a swim in the heated outdoor pool after a hard day sightseeing, soothing your feet after pounding Lisbon's infamous cobbled lanes and steep streets. Bedrooms come with yoga mats for personal practices and yoga teachers are available for one-to-one lessons as needed.

Film

Location

Rooftop Vistas Lisbon. | Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados

Lovely Lisbon is so very liveable, easy to stroll and explore on foot, with lots of green spaces and stuffed with little foodie boltholes, lively bars and an immersive culture from street art, international exhibitors to its new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT). Palácio Príncipe Real sits in the charming district of Príncipe Real, not far from the brimming greenery of the Jardim Botânico (Botanical Gardens) and a short walk from the atmospheric ruins of the Convento do Carmo built pre-earthquake in 1389. A 20-minute stroll takes you to the grandeur of Praça do Comercio, a waterfront plaza lined with pastel de nata-selling cafes.

Owners

Europeans at heart, British owners Miles and Gail Curley have a very international outlook, having lived in Madrid, Singapore, London and now Lisbon. And the Palácio wasn't their first property in the Portuguese capital – they had already worked at the renovation of a few apartments.

But when the Palácio caught their eye in 2014, they were smitten with the intriguing property, the faded glamour of its history, and the potential for sensitive restoration. Thankfully for us, the couple were keen on immaculately restoring the Palácio. At this point, Miles gave up his job as a Linklaters' partner to become a full-time engineer and financial controller of the hotel restoration with creative interior designer Gail by his side. After a few years of serious graft, alongside a dedication to local artisan crafts, Palácio Príncipe Real was finally ready to receive visitors.

Gail & Miles Curley | Creators and Founders of Palacio Principe Real | Luxury Boutique Hotel Lisbon | The Aficionados

Eco Design

A restoration story of great success, renovating Palácio Príncipe Real Lisbon also meant reviving original features, not only for their heritage appeal but also because this was the most sustainable way to approach the building and its materials. Within the design plan were strict rules not to demolish but to always re-invent in a modern context. Hence the thick stone walls, ceiling mouldings and heavy wooden doors remain, with refurbished Portuguese pine flooring, locally sourced marble and wooden shutters keeping to the initial design blueprint. The result is a structure that’s energy efficient - cool in summer and warm in winter. Reviving the pesticide-free garden also adds to the hotel’s eco-benefits with its ancient trees, native plants, cooling shade, organic waste and grass grids for rainwater storage. Twenty-first century sustainable layering includes solar panels, a heat recovery system and electric car chargers. Read more here.

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