Portuguese hotels awarded for their rooms, design and cleanliness

Vacation search website Edreams asked their users to vote for the best hotel in Europe, and a Portuguese hotel got the second place, hotel Marquês do Pombal in Lisbon.

The remaining top 10 best hotels in Europe are hotels in Spain, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The study was conducted by analysing more than 74000 hotel reviews from users all over the world. Voters were asked to rate their favourite hotels in 6 categories: best service, rooms, quality/price ratio, design, meals and cleanliness. Hotels were then rated by their accumulated score in each category . Ratings range from 0 to 5. The overall score of the hotel Marques do Pombal was 4,769. Edreams describes the hotel as being:

“This 4-star boutique hotel not only offers rooms each uniquely decorated, but also offers additional services including a gym with trainers, turkish bath and a sauna. The hotel is located in the heart of Lisbon, next to one of the main avenues, Avenida Liberdade.”

Looking at each category in separate, Lisbon hotels have another awards, namely best “Design/ Style”, “Cleanliness” and “Room” in which Hotel Sheraton Lisboa & Spa got the first place, among many other European hotels.

“Hotel rooms that are clean, comfortable and have a nice view are all part of the criteria in the category for hotel with the best room. The 5-star Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa in the capital of Portugal surpasses the competition, with the number one position and a score of 4.929.”

Regarding design and style of the hotel, voters evaluated the surroundings of hotel amenities and services and Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa because of “not only are the luxurious rooms convincing, but the restaurant, cocktail bar and rooftop, boasts amazing views of Lisbon, giving this hotel a deserved score of 4.857.”

To read the full Edreams study on the best hotels in Europe, click here.

Discover the best weight-loss programs in Portugal

Find out how you can loose excess weight and don’t regain it in a two-week Medical Tourism trip to Lisbon, Portugal.

Medical Port and Sagres Vacations recently partnered to create Medical Tourism programs for Americans who wish to travel to Europe. This partnership aims to let consumers know that Portugal is a great option for Medical Tourism. Medical Port works only with top private hospitals and clinics in Lisbon, Oporto, and the Algarve.

Weight-loss long lasting outcomes can only be achieved with a combination of a body and mind care, and a lifestyle change. Medical Port and Sagres Vacations offer a two-week program where travellers can find the origin of their excess weight and acquire the tools to loose it. “My health is my choice” is the name of this program and is a commitment to a healthy living in 2015. Using medical and behavioral treatment tools customized to each particular case, travellers can learn how to sustain long-term results and enjoy two weeks in beautiful Lisbon.

The medical component of the program includes a Holistic Obesity Assessment:

  • Five specialty consultations
  • A comprehensive set of exams and analysis
  • Relaxing and Detox programs
  • Flights, transfers, hospital concierge, and accommodation.

As for leisure, travellers can choose between:

  • Discover Lisbon:
    • Enjoy a private walking tour in Lisbon with a professional photographer
    • Learn more about Mediterranean cuisine with a chef in a cooking session
    • Join a private tour in Lisbon and its surroundings
    • Sail the Tejo River in a luxury sailboat
  • A Relax and Detox program:
    • Spend the full second week in a Hotel and SPA
    • Experience mindfulness sessions to align mind and body for weight loss

 

Why choose Portugal?

With centuries of History it’s no surprise that there are plenty of places to see and things to do. From visiting magnificent castles to the amazing contemporary art museums, the choice is yours. Portugal is a very safe destination as it’s ranked 18 out of 162 in the Global Peace Index. There’s an average of 3300 hours of sunshine per year, one of the highest in Europe and nearly 30% of the population is fluent in English.

To find out more about this partnership read our previous blog post, here. If you want to know more about “My Health is My Choice” contact Medical Port, or Sagres Vacations.

How to look your best in 2015 in a girls only week

Have you have wondered how you can look younger without going under surgery? Then, the Medical Tourism package “Small details make the difference” is just right for you and your friends.

Medical Port and Sagres Vacations recently partnered to create Medical Tourism programs for Americans who wish to travel to Europe. This partnership aims to let consumers know that Portugal is a great option for Medical Tourism. Medical Port works only with top private hospitals and clinics in Lisbon, Oporto, and the Algarve.

Choose Lisbon or Oporto for a week with friends and get yourself immersed in the right beauty treatments, deep and relaxing sleeping, and a good amount of fun. Look and feel younger and energize yourself for the New Year.

The medical component of the program includes:

  • Dermatology consultation
  • Fine wrinkles treatment
  • Flights, transfers with a private driver, hospital concierge, and accommodation.

As for leisure, travellers can:

  • A day cruise in Tejo River (Lisbon) or Douro River (Oporto)
  • Shopping day with the help of a personal shopper
  • Getting beautified – get your hair, make-up and nails done by professionals
  • SPA session – spend an entire day in a SPA
  • Girls night out – have a girls night with dinner and fun

When it comes to aging there are several ways to deal with this concern, but not all include going under surgery. There are dermatological treatments to make people look and feel younger, and regain confidence in themselves. Also, having time to relax, have fun with friends while traveling are great ways to rejuvenate oneself and feel better.

Why choose Portugal?
With centuries of History it’s no surprise that there are plenty of places to see and things to do. From visiting magnificent castles to amazing contemporary art museums, the choice is yours. Portugal is a very safe destination as it’s ranked 18 out of 162 in the Global Peace Index. There’s an average of 3300 hours of sunshine per year, one of the highest in Europe and nearly 30% of the population is fluent in English.

To find out more about this partnership read our previous blog post, here. If you want to know more about “Small Details Make the Difference” contact Medical Port, or Sagres Vacations.

Lisbon and Sesimbra captured in timelapse and Hyperlapse

Kirill Neiezhmakov just recently visited Lisbon and Sesimbra and published an amazing video using the timelapse and hyperlapse techniques.

With the help of Francesco Cerruti, it was shot in May 2014 when he came to the award ceremony of the film festival “Finisterra 2014” and features places like Praça do Comércio, Parque Eduardo VII, Rossio, Praça da figueira and Parque das Nações, as well as some of the best spots in Sesimbra and Arrábida.

What a great showcase for Portugal’s capital!

Lisbon’s hostels set new standards for comfort and design

Photograph by: Manori Ravindran, for Postmedia News, Canada.com

Feeling at home in a hostel isn’t part of the backpacker’s lot. You brace for bed bugs, foul roommates and glacial showers. That’s why sitting on a sleek, fire-engine red sofa, flipping through art books and trying not to muddy the shag carpet in the lobby of Lisbon’s Living Lounge hostel feels surreal.

Tucked away on the quiet Rua do Crucifixo in Baixa, the lively valley between the hilly Bairro Alto and Alfama neighbourhoods, the lobby of the Living Lounge could easily be mistaken for a high-end apartment, complete with a luggage-only elevator.

Each of the hostel’s 23 bedrooms is brightly coloured and feature cool designs like a life-size stencil of The Shining’s Danny on his tricycle. You can even get fresh, delicious crepes for breakfast.

You’ll pay triple the price at a nearby hotel for the same amenities, but at the Living Lounge, it will cost you just 27 Euros a night. (Or 12 Euros, if you don’t mind a shared room.)

This won’t surprise anyone who follows Hostelworld.com’s annual ranking of the world’s best hostels, the Hoscars. The Portuguese capital has been nabbing top spots for years, with the six-year-old Living Lounge occupying fourth place in the 2013 rankings behind three other Lisbon hostels.

Photograph by: Manori Ravindran, for Postmedia News, Canada.com
Photograph by: Manori Ravindran, for Postmedia News, Canada.com

Valter Pratas is one of four young artists who own and operate the Living Lounge – the same group that founded sister hostel Lisbon Lounge in 2005, effectively kicking off the city’s hostel movement.

Before these businesses, Pratas says travellers were hard-pressed to find affordable, comfortable accommodation in the seaside city, which has become a popular tourist destination in recent years.

“[Nine] years ago, you couldn’t find any hostels in Lisbon – just the government youth hostels,” said Pratas, leaning against the lobby desk as staff prepared a communal dinner.

“They were like hospitals, and they kicked you out of your room because they needed to clean, and they had curfews and things like that,” he said.

“[My friends and I] didn’t have any jobs at the time because we had just finished our studies and literally had nothing to do, so it was like, ‘Yeah, let’s open a hostel, why not.”

The group put their backgrounds – visual arts, architecture and marketing – together and designed a hostel that would debunk the stereotypes. Theirs would be a safe, affordable sanctuary for travellers – a place people would look forward to staying in. And they did.

So much so that copycat hostels eager to replicate the Lounges’ success began opening throughout Lisbon – each one more fancy and inexpensive than the last – making the city one of Europe’s hottest hostel destinations.

Consider that Hostelworld has 60 hostel listings for Lisbon, a city of about 475,000 people, but for Paris, which is 4.5 times its size, there are only 28. And if you’re backpacking in Madrid, a city of 3.2 million, only 27 hostels are listed.

It also means that Lisbon hostels must aggressively innovate to set themselves apart.

From the Living Lounge, a 20-minute walk uphill along trams rumbling into the heart of the Bairro Alto will bring you to the three-year-old Independente. Once the former residence of a Swiss ambassador, the majestic design hostel will make you feel like a VIP in its spacious, creamy interiors.

The hostel offers comfy beds and plenty of activities, but the big draw is its restaurant, the Decadente. At this laidback spot, you’ll spend half what you’d pay for authentic Portuguese fare at a lesser Bairro Alto restaurant, plus you’ll have the rare opportunity to share a table with a mix of fellow travellers and Lisboetas.

“That was the dream, or the ultimate ambition of creating a hub where the melting pot is possible and an exchange between locals and travellers and foreigners can happen,” says Manuel Bastos, guest relations manager for the hostel.

“In that sense, I think we offer something that sets us apart from the competitors.”

The Decadente’s popularity – it was voted one of Time Out Lisbon’s best new restaurants in 2011 – is not a bad problem to have for a young business in a competitive market.

“This is a new wave of hostels,” said Bastos. “It’s not exactly as it was 10 or 20 years ago. Whereas before, the only thing you expected was a mattress and not even a clean set of sheets, now you expect to be catered to, and you expect great accommodation and great service and great recommendations of activities. You expect to be pampered.”

Indeed, great expectations are becoming the norm among backpackers growing accustomed to the high hostel life. And, increasingly, they’re bringing company. At the Living Lounge, Pratas was hosting a French father and his young son on a cross-continent motorcycle trip, while Bastos said an 80-year-old had recently insisted on sleeping in the top bunk at the Independente.

As hostels evolve into legitimate competitors for hotels, they’re not just the domains of lone twenty-somethings. That’s good news for all globetrotters. Higher hostel standards make backpacking accessible to more people and travellers feel more secure on their journeys.

In Lisbon, that’s meant expanding the idea of what a hostel is supposed to look like, and while the threat of an over-saturated market is a pressing reality, right now, it might just be Europe’s best bet for backpackers.

Links:

Living Lounge Hostel
Independente Hostel
Hostelworld.com Hoscars

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

7 reasons Lisbon could be Europe’s coolest city

Source: The Telegraph

(CNN) — What makes a city “cool”?

If it means being loaded with atmosphere, charm, great food and nightlife, yet ignored by the bulk of travelers, then Lisbon deserves consideration as Europe’s coolest capital.

Here’s why.

1. Nightlife that can outlast Madrid’s

If you think Madrid stays out late, try a night out in Lisbon.

The city is less about heaving clubs and more about a roving nocturnal flow that ends (maybe) when dawn rises over the Tagus River.
The main action is in the Bairro Alto, where more than 250 appealing bars line a web of streets between graffiti-plastered walls.
Next is the riverfront, in the hip neighborhood around Cais do Sodré railway station.

Typical of the offbeat flavor here is the converted brothel Pensão Amor (Rua do Alecrim 19, +351 21 314 3399) where ace cocktails accompany erotica and DJ sets.

Capping a Lisbon night are pre-dawn traffic jams at Santa Apolonia docks — they’re created by the popularity of Lux, the king of Lisbon superclubs (Cais da Pedra +351 21 882 0890).

2. Experimental cuisine

Once known largely for bacalhau (dried cod), quaint old coffee houses and louche taverns, the Portuguese capital now claims a range of restaurants.

Seafood remains a staple, but the trend is for modern, sophisticated and affordable.

A high bar is set by wunderkind chef José Avillez at his Michelin-starred Belcanto (Largo de Sao Carlos 10, +351 21 342 0607) or his more casual bistro Cantinho (Rua dos Duques de Bragança 7, +351 211 992369).

Avant-garde European and Portuguese cuisine describes Avillez’s menu, which stretches from sea bass with seaweed to lamb with vegetable puree.

Further down the scale, Lisbonites love juicy bifanas (pork buns) in backstreet eateries.

No traveler to Lisbon should miss the famed egg tarts (pasteis de nata).

The little bundles of caramel-y custard in chewy pastry are eaten in style at the original tiled café, Antiga Confeitaria de Belem (Rua Belém 84-92, +351 21 363 7423).

3. Irony

You’d think Lisbonites would brag about their achievements — first global empire, world’s best custard tarts, sea bass with seaweed that actually tastes great.

On the contrary, along with the rest of the nation, they excel in that ages old literary device/defense mechanism: irony.
As Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa once eloquently summed up the prevailing national outlook: “I’d woken up early, and took a long time getting ready to exist.”

That old entertaining melancholy has resurfaced with the austerity of recent years, helping Lisbonites remain (almost) content and always witty, even in tough times.

4. Beaches and castles

Lisbon is a place to inhale salty Atlantic air, sunbathe and hit the waves.

Dolphins surf and ferries ply the River Tagus.

Half an hour away by train are the beaches and ornate casino of Estoril.

A bit further, Cascais is for eaters — lots of grilled fish and seafood stews served in domed cataplana dishes.

The other big day trip is to Sintra. Forty minutes from Lisbon’s main station (Rossio), it’s a time-warp town, located in lush, wooded hills peppered with whimsical palaces and mansions that epitomize centuries of aristocratic opulence.

5. Fabulous design

Wherever you look in Lisbon, sharp contemporary design is a hallmark.

Stylish leather goods, bold wine labels, interiors combining vintage with the latest designer pieces, spectacular buildings — this is a city that loves to look good.

Pritzker-prize winning architect Alvaro Siza Vieira set the modernist tone with his gravity-defying pavilion for Expo 98.

Lisbonites gather to appreciate good design at MUDE (Rua Augusta 24, +351 21 888 6117), their mutant fashion and design museum, where austere low-tech blends with baroque flounces.

6. Big art

Large European capitals such as London, Paris, Berlin and Madrid may have blockbuster art collections, but Lisbon’s half million inhabitants have access to their own rare panoply.

The classic is the Gulbenkian Foundation (Av. de Berna 45A, +351 21 782 3000), where superlative Oriental and Western art occupies an airy 1960s building and landscaped gardens.

In Belém, the Museu Berardo (Praça do Império, +351 21 361 2878) focuses on big names of 20th- and 21st-century art, from Picasso to Jeff Koons.

Museu de Arte Antiga (Portuguese site only; Rua Janelas Verdes, +351 21 391 2800) is a 17th-century mansion packed with 500 years of artwork that reflects Portugal’s globetrotting history.

Lisbon’s latest exclusive is the impressive Museu do Oriente (Avenida de Brasília, Doca de Alcântara, +351 21 358 5244), a superbly converted salt cod warehouse full of Asian exhibits where you can book a nighttime visit followed by dinner in the riverfront restaurant.

7. Fascinating streets

There’s no getting bored wandering in Lisbon, thanks to the intricately patterned cobblestones under your feet — a civic point of pride that blossomed after Lisbon’s 1755 earthquake and continues today.

Even Lisbon’s walls demand attention, thanks to an obsession with azulejos (ceramic tiles).

Top examples are found at the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (Rua da Madre de Deus 4, +351 218 100 340), while the peeling façades of the Alfama and Mouraria districts show dozens of variations.

Source.

Jaunted awards a Jaunty to Lisbon for Destination of the Year 2013

It’s that time of the year again, the time when the year just plain ends. Alas, we can’t just let 2013 go that easily, especially since travelers spent it both up in the air and up in arms over a crazy range of topics. Needless to say, we’re ready to get going into 2014, but first we’re taking a brief look back at the best of 2013 with the Jaunted Travel Awards,—or as we fondly refer to them—The Jauntys.

Jaunted, “The Pop Culture Travel Guide”, part of Condé Nast Traveler Network, has given a Jaunty to Lisbon for Destination of the Year 2013, following Santiago, Chile as 2012’s Destination of the Year.

The writer states that, for some reason, Americans have been ignoring Portugal and that reflects on the reactions colleagues have had over some comments – a good example being that Lisbon looks just like San Francisco. As a result, they’ve put together some basic travel packages to help you get to know the city.

Lisbon | Photo: Ryan Dearth | Jaunted
Lisbon | Photo: Ryan Dearth | Jaunted

Apart from Lisbon, Jaunted has also visited the South of Portugal in 2013 and has already plans to come back in the Spring.

You can read the article in full here.

Have you been to Lisbon yourself? Share your experiences and thoughts with us below.

Gallery: Ancient and Modern Lisbon, Portugal

International Bellhop showcased Lisbon on their blog just yesterday with great pictures.

For travelers that want to see ancient cities and rustic countryside, but still want modern conveniences close at-hand, Lisbon is the best vacation destination that we can recommend.

Check them out.

Gallery: Ancient and Modern Lisbon, Portugal.

Belem tower in Lisbon

Finding a Global Groove in Lisbon

Foto: Francisco Seco for The New York Times

What a great title for this article from The New York Times.

From Praça da Alegria to Travessa da Galé, stoping at Praça do Comércio and Cais do Sodré, the journalist discovered some hip spots in Lisbon showing us that Portugal isn’t just fado.

Over the last couple of years, innovative new music spots have been popping up around Lisbon, and defunct and departed iconic music venues have been rising from their ashes, literally or figuratively. From intimate supper clubs to warehouse dance halls, the new generation of hangouts is enriching the Portuguese capital’s sonic spectrum and expanding the array of places where music aficionados and bands of all stripes can converge. These days, a spin around town is a journey across continents and styles, from indie jazz to African beats to American retro rock to electronic experiments.

Foto: Francisco Seco for The New York Times
The club Vynil in Lisbon. Francisco Seco for The New York Times

The article gives you a pretty great starting point for a night out in the portuguese capital. You can read it in full here.