In the spring of 2021, the dynamic architect duo, Oitoemponto, starring Jacques Bec and Artur Miranda, brought back the original splendor of the Sixties-modernist heritage of Lisbon’s Four Seasons Hotel Ritz with flair and pizzazz. Next up, OPENBOOK Architecture stepped in to work their magic on the terraces and outdoor spaces, turning the al fresco experience up a notch. With this charming makeover, the Lisbon institution has become even more captivating and is beckoning you to take a plunge in their brand-new pool with a view this summer – and it’s a splashing success! Let’s dive in.
“Revitalization of its docks, the opening of museums, trendy boutiques, and gourmet restaurants…
Lisbon unveils its treasures as you explore the city’s bumpy cobblestone sidewalks. Meander through the Alfama district, best enjoyed with your head held high, taking your sweet time to wander its labyrinth of fragrant alleyways, quirky staircases, old houses adorned with balconies dripping with laundry and birdcages.
Fueled by a creative and forward-thinking youth, the Portuguese capital envisions itself as open, modern, and cosmopolitan. However, in the city of seven hills, upscale addresses with pools are a rarity. As a result, you may need to leave your city trip behind and venture to the countryside if you hope to find the refreshment of a swim all the way to the Atlantic in Cascais or Estoril!
Lisbon is a vivacious Southern city, alive and kicking! It effortlessly caught up with the nightlife scene, transforming Bairro Alto and the Santa Apolonia docks into global nocturnal hotspots, all thanks to a few inspired pioneers.
Not far from there, the magnificent Ritz Four Seasons hotel exudes the grand classicism of the 18th century, with creamy tones blending a touch of contemporary flair, boasting a marble grand hall and sumptuous interiors. Inaugurated in 1959, this palace was born from the vision of Salazar, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, who aimed to gift his nation a palace. A group of visionary developers, led by Manuel Queiroz Pereira, entrusted Porfirio Pardal Monteiro (1897-1957) with its construction. Henri Samuel (1904-1996) was tasked with the decoration. The ’80s might have dulled this heritage a bit, but a fresh makeover was needed to restore the former glory to this modernist concrete and glass masterpiece.
Life at this hotel is an ongoing enchantment. In the grand lobby, visitors discover Art Deco and Louis XVI-style cozy lounges, adorned with remarkable paintings, tapestries, and sculptures. Upstairs, the light-filled rooms, some with private terraces, offer captivating views of the city and Eduardo VII Park.
Breakfast is a flavor-packed festival, while a light lunch is enjoyed in the garden near a lagoon-colored pool. The lush landscaping makes you feel like you’ve stumbled into an oasis in the heart of the city. For gastronomes, the Varanda restaurant welcomes only 80 guests.
Artur Miranda and Jacques Bec sum it up: “The idea was to reconnect with the original essence of the Ritz in Lisbon. It’s not a strict replica, of course, but an evocation with our own modern twist. We believe that the new clientele of this kind of hotel appreciates fine decor.“
On the menu, Pascal Meynard and his team offer high-flying gastronomy: Portuguese-style seafood, suckling pig, traditional Cataplana (shrimp and clams with coriander), and the famous lobster rice casserole
The hotel also boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Cura. Drawing inspiration from the regional terroir, Chef Pedro Pena Bastos presents an inventive menu featuring delicacies like hazelnut calamari, grilled algae butter, caviar, and Hokkaido pumpkin.
The chef skillfully marries taste, texture, and culinary techniques. As for the decor, it’s warm, with hues ranging from deep sea blue to golden notes and always featuring light wood. A truly enchanting spot!
The original art collection on the ground floor, a series of commissions from Portuguese artists, bears testimony to the opulence of the past: paintings by Maria Vieira da Silva, bas-reliefs by Margarida Schimmelpfennig and Salvador Barata Feyo, Lagoa Henriques’ fountain, and Almada Negreiros’ tapestries. It brings to mind the elegant capitals of the ’60s like Rio, Acapulco, or New York in their prime. Modernity was exhilarating, colorful, sunny, and larger than life!
The hotel’s interior volumes, the number of elevators, and the 282 rooms all attest to this. However, these rooms had lost their connection to these glorious times. By bringing back furniture and fixtures from the hotel’s archives, the decorating duo managed to rekindle the place’s history.
These renovations are just the first phase, covering three out of ten floors. Four more floors are underway, embracing classic Art Deco influences, furnished with hotel treasures. In the upcoming autumn, the sixth floor will be revealed, featuring three suites designed like a private club, along with a lounge. Oitoemponto is planning an homage to the 18th century with a ’60s twist, using Zuber panoramas, woodwork, and Fortuny fabrics.
The exteriors don’t disappoint either: in 2021, a stunning heated outdoor pool with gentle angles arrived, a treat for those who appreciate a touch of old-school charm, complete with underwater music.
The cherry on top is the hotel’s expansive spa, considered one of the city’s finest. I recommend the Digital Detox massage. Its captivating scents and the masseuse’s skilled hands guarantee a lasting sense of well-being! On the top floor, don’t miss the fitness center and the 400m outdoor jogging track, offering one of the most panoramic city views.
Openbook Architecture took charge of the outdoor areas while staying true to the hotel’s architectural style, respecting its status as a public interest monument. The rounded contours of the pool pay homage to the hotel’s original designs by architect Porfírio Pardal Monteiro. By leveraging its connection with Eduardo VII Park, the landscaping opens the hotel up to a garden paradise.
Perched on the top floor, the fitness space breaks the mold: forget those cramped, basic gyms. The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon presents a light-filled space that overlooks the entire city, akin to the most sophisticated sports clubs.
Equipped with a rooftop track ingeniously transformed into a running trail, the hotel makes the most of every nook of the architectural marvel that serves as its backdrop. In conclusion, the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon is an architectural gem, the dream hotel to unpack your bags.
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Located at the forefront of Eduardo VII Park, this massive building which inevitably catches the eye of walkers adjoins Avenida Da Liberdade, well known to fashionistas passing through the city of seven hills.