THE QUEEN OF ALFAMA
We try to surprise each other with secret getaways for every birthday, and this getaway was absolutely unforgettable. Elin had decided to surprise me (Ollie) with a trip to Lisbon for my 29th birthday. We left work in the afternoon and took a cab to the airport and I had no clue as to where I was going. We rolled up to Dublin airport, Elin checked us in and got our boarding passes without letting me see them. I actually didn’t know where we were going until I stood at the gate waiting to board the flight - Lisbon!
Elin told me (almost!) everything about our surprise weekend plans during the flight - including the fact that we were going to be staying at a really cosy 5-star boutique hotel called Santiago de Alfama. Needless to say I couldn’t wait to get to the hotel and see where we were going to be staying for the next 4 days.
We took a cab from the airport to the Santiago de Alfama hotel, which took about 20 minutes and cost around €15. We got to the hotel and were happy to find that the hotel was close to the waterfront and surrounded by small cobbled streets and old Lisboan houses decorated with tiles in different colors.
The friendly portier came out to our cab and took our luggage to the reception and gave us a warm welcome to what was going to be our home for the next 4 days. We were checked in by the very kind receptionists and we immediately knew that this stay was going to be right up our alley. The entire hotel had quite recently been completely renovated, so everything had a very fresh feel to it. We were taken to room 402, the biggest suite in the hotel with breathtaking views over Lisbon and the river - what more could I ask for!
We stepped in and were happy to see that the our room was huge - about 40 m2. The suite was full of amazing sunlight, as it had windows all the way around the room. The suite was nicely decorated with white marble bedstands, a comfy king size bed, a free standing white bathtub in the main room, beautiful wooden floors and last but not least - a breathtaking view of the rooftops and Tagus river.
The living room of the suite featured the following:
- A panoramic view overlooking the old castles, churches and the Tagus river
- A large, freestanding bathtub
- Big flat screen TV
- A mini-bar full of champagne, wine and soft drinks
- A desk where we could work
- A king size bed
- Two large fauteuils by the window where we could absorb the amazing view
- Plenty of closet space in the hallway for all of our clothes and shoes
The lovely, freestanding tub and centerpiece of the suite. How romantic is that?
The large bathroom featured:
- 2 sinks (one for each of us!)
- A rainforest shower
- Soft robes and slippers
- Lovely scented shampoos and shower gels
Every morning we would go down to the hotel’s breakfast café where we would have a lovely plate of fresh fruit (mango, pineapple, melon, strawberries) followed by scrambled eggs or their perfect eggs benedict. They also serve Greek yoghurt with granola, plenty of variations of egg, full English and continental breakfasts, as well as fresh pastry. They also do great coffee here, so every morning we would start off by drinking an espresso or 2 to charge up for the day.
On the evening of my birthday the amazing staff at the hotel had planned a little surprise for me. When changing to go out in the evening we heard a knock on our door. We opened up and in came two guys from the hotel staff with a room service cart carrying a huge birthday cake with lit candles. This wasn’t even Elin’s idea - the staff just took it upon themselves to make our stay truly unforgettable.
Santiago de Alfama is conveniently located in the Alfama neighborhood of Lisbon. Alfama is one of the more laid back, traditional neighborhoods in town and has a very genuine, warm feel to it. Within a five minute walk from the hotel you’ll find small cosy cafés, the magnificent Castelo San Jorge, beautiful view points of Lisbon, small artisan shops and hip as well as classic Portuguese restaurants. It also didn’t take more than ten minutes to walk from Santiago de Alfama to the main city centre, where you’ll find all of the main shopping streets and beautiful old squares. The good thing about living in the Alfama district is that it felt very safe and quiet so it really felt like a nice little retreat every evening when you had to walk home. You can also grab a local tram from just around the corner of the hotel that will take you downtown.
Overall we loved staying at Santiago de Alfama. The staff was incredibly kind and really ensured that we had the best possible trip to Lisbon. The location was perfect for a weekend getaway to Lisbon and the room had everything we could have wished for.
We want to thank the staff at Santiago de Alfama for an absolutely incredible stay. You can read more about Santiago de Alfama and book your stay at their website here.