It had been a while since my last Sheraton stay in Europe. The timing of this trip was perfect for the Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa in Portugal, and I’m glad to report it turned out to be a great hotel choice. I don’t give too much credence to what people write about when they review hotels online, but I do glance over them just to see what people have to say. I often find it’s better to create my own experience and see for myself. There were a few things people mentioned online that I’ll address in this review, just so you’re well informed.
City view or river view?
Let’s start with my check-in experience. Thumbs up to the front desk staff! The room they had pre-assigned me wasn’t ready, so they gave me what they said was a better room on a higher floor. When I got to this room, it had the city view but there was construction going on, a big crane in full view, and construction workers who could easily see into the room. I found this view unappealing, and told the front desk that I was willing to wait until the other room was ready. It was on the other side of the building, giving me the river view, and one floor below (18th floor). It took them about an hour to get the room ready. I liked this room much better. Many reviews of this hotel suggested the city view was the one to ask for, but I much preferred the river view. Especially from the higher floors. It gave me a view of the sunsets as well as a view of what Lisboetas (locals) call their “Golden Gate Bridge” (25 de Abril Suspension Bridge).
How was the room?
The rooms, from what I was told, were refurbished about five or six years ago. They are dark and done in a dark brown color. Even the carpet was a dark brown. The room had blackout window shades which were simple to operate. It’s always a nice touch to have blackout shades in a hotel room. Another room feature I love and hardly ever see, is a window that opens! This room had a middle large window that opened, so each day it was great to get some fresh air circulating into the room. There was no artwork on the walls, which I actually prefer. I found the bed to be too hard, but that’s often the case in hotels. This was described as an upgraded room, I’m guessing because of the higher floor, and it came with a complimentary bottle of Port wine :)
The bathroom was large, modern, and bright. There’s was a see-through bathroom window with blinds you can close for privacy. The nice thing about these blinds was that the bathroom had excellent lighting and with the blinds open, it provided good lighting into an otherwise dimly lit room.
Both room service and housekeeping were excellent. I used them both, and they were always quick to respond. Housekeeping was very proactive in making sure I never needed anything. I appreciate when room service and housekeeping is above par, like this.
How was the lounge?
Being an SPG Gold elite member, I was proactively given lounge access when I checked in. The lounge at this Sheraton is now right up there with my favorite Sheraton lounges! The lounge is on the 24th floor with the river-facing view. The airport in Lisbon is only 6 kilometers from the city and the Sheraton is in its flight path. The lounge was amazing for plane spotting and I’ll admit to being mesmerized by all the planes I saw. I wouldn’t have thought Lisbon’s airport would be nearly as busy as it was.
The lounge keeps long hours from 7am to 11pm. The breakfast is a full European style breakfast with eggs, meats, cheese, fish, sweets, bread, yogurt, and fruit. Coffee was from a Nespresso machine or you could get a pot of American style coffee. There are fruit and snacks all day long and then from 5-7pm some small plate food items, as well as dessert and wines. The one food glitch was that the eggs offered in the morning were scrambled eggs, but they allowed you to order eggs fixed any way you liked in a downstairs kitchen. I did this a few times and the service was really slow. Really slow like on some days almost taking an hour to get the eggs. They always came with a side salad of greens which I really liked. I do think if the eggs take a long time from order to table, they really don’t need to offer this breakfast option. It’s a nice gesture, but not really necessary and I noticed very few people special ordering eggs.
The lounge itself had a tendency to get overcrowded and could be understaffed during the busy hours. I was at the hotel during the Christmas / New Years holidays. There’s no way to describe the few days before New Years and the few days after New Years at this lounge except to say it was crazy crowded. I know there are times of the year besides the holidays when the lounge gets packed and then there are times when it’s super quiet. That’s just the natural ebb and flow of a hotel. One thing I can say is this lounge staff was amazing. They handled the crowds as best they could, they were incredibly hard working, and always had a great attitude about it all. Despite all the people and the hectic pace, they remembered what you liked to order and your drink preferences. My Port was always offered to me when I came to the lounge later in the evening!
How were the concierges?
Concierge service at hotels can vary widely. Over the years, I’ve had experiences with concierges that were memorable and stayed with me long after my hotel stay was over. That’s how it will be with the concierge staff at this Sheraton. Armando has been at this hotel for more than 25 years (imagine that) and Ana Sofia for 10 years. They are both wonderful people and amazing concierges. From their suggestions, to how they responded to my questions (I asked a lot of questions), to the stories we shared about my impressions of Lisbon, these two are world class professionals. Fun and engaged and doing their jobs with the best possible attitude, they both really enriched my stay in Portugal. I hope you get to meet them someday!
How was the spa?
The hotel has a spa, which I did use. It’s a large, beautiful, peaceful space free for hotel guests. It has a sauna, steam, and jacuzzi, and I only saw one or two other hotels guests there besides us.
How was the location of the hotel?
The location of the hotel is what people seem to complain about the most. People say it’s out of the way and away from downtown/waterfront. It’s about a 20-30 minute walk or quick two metro stop ride, if going downtown/waterfront is where you’re heading. I actually really liked the location. First, as you know, I love to walk. The walk down the main boulevards, or side streets of Lisbon, that get you to the city center is lovely and for sure helps you walk off all the amazing Portuguese food and pastries. I wouldn’t have wanted to stay in the city center as it’s too touristy and crowded. As I mentioned, the metro is right out the door of the hotel and even the one time we chose to use a taxi, it wasn’t more than 5 euros. Heck, the airport is only a 10 euro trip :)
And if you explore the areas that aren’t in the city center of Lisbon (which you must and I’ll be writing more about in another post), then the Sheraton is very well positioned. There’s plenty of shopping, restaurants, and even a great art cinema all near the hotel, so please don’t let the location discourage you from staying here.
So as you can tell, I was super pleased with my hotel stay at the Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa. You might think after reading all this I’m on their payroll or something! I’m a hotel guest who notices if the big things are done well. I also pay attention to whether the little things are done well, and at this hotel, it’s all done well. If you’ve stayed at this Sheraton before, let me know, even if your experience didn’t stand out like mine did. Do you have a favorite Sheraton in Europe? Let me know!