Brown's Central Hotel

Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal Book from Book from £76 per night

A hip boutique base in the heart of historic Lisbon, within easy reach of all the sights
Cool, calm and collected, this trendy haven offers welcome respite from the bustling streets of the Chiado district. Stepping in through the big wooden doors we immediately felt at ease: mellow soundtrack, check. Bright velvet sofas, check. Cool art, check. Coffee-table design books, check. It isn’t a case of style over substance, either. The Fred Perry-clad staff are helpful and kind. Dropping your key at reception when you go out is the perfect opportunity to pick their brains for restaurant or gallery recommendations.

Upstairs, dark and moody corridors lead to 84 bright and welcoming rooms, with cheery coloured chairs, statement wallpapers, Roberts radios and eclectic knick-knacks. There’s also some exciting tech: you can plug into your very own Marshall amp to play their Spotify playlists, plus there are USB charging points. Outside, you’re bang in the middle of the action - all the main sights are within walking distance or an easy hop on a tram or metro. A brilliant base for an easy city break.  

Highs

  • Great style throughout: eclectic contemporary art and sculpture, along with velvet armchairs adding pops of primary colour
  • Good value for Lisbon, and all rooms have Nespressos and Smart TVs
  • Delicious brasserie fare for lunches - burgers, omelettes and steaks - and a cool cocktail bar
  • All rooms (except the Master Suite) can be twinned, so this an ideal city base for couples and friends alike
  • A central location, close to metro and tram stops, and just 30 mins from the airport

Lows

  • A disappointing breakfast buffet, and the brasserie is closed in the evenings, but the area is teeming with great cafes/restaurants
  • No baths, even in the Suites, and bathrooms are tiny
  • Some noise, both internally and outside; bring earplugs
  • With 84 rooms, this is bigger than most i-escape properties, but friendly staff give great service and make it seem more intimate
  • Some people bemoan the dark-hued corridors, but they’re well-lit and help emphasise the brightness of the rooms

Best time to go

Lisbon is lovely all year round. In June, the streets erupt in festivities to celebrate its patron saint, Santo Antonio. Free concerts, parades and stalls selling freshly grilled sardines abound. October is also a very pleasant month to visit, with fewer tourists and an average temperature of 19C.

Our top tips

We loved the cocktail bar, with its Art-Deco feel.

Write down the address carefully so you don’t get it mixed up with its sister hotel just a couple of blocks away. It's very easy to do!

Great for...

City Style
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 84
  • Breakfast + lunch available
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Charming Deluxe

Rooms

The 84 rooms are light, bright and individually designed by the well-travelled owner, with quirky additions like Roberts radios, dial-up phones, retro lamps and Smeg minibars. We loved our Junior Suite, with its huge four-poster bed and twin orange armchairs, not to mention an iMac.

On a return visit we’d book the monochrome Mansard Room, which has sloped ceilings and great views - or, for a special occasion, the showstopper Master Suite with its wooden panelled walls and amazing book collection. If we just wanted a good-value city base, the Small Rooms would be ideal - and we wouldn’t mind that they looked onto a wall!

Regardless of size, all rooms have spotless marble bathrooms (with showers, no baths), Nespresso machines and handy tech like Smart TVs, amps for playing music and USB charging points. The larger rooms also have kitchenettes.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Coffee maker
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron/ironing board on request
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Nespresso
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Smart TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is served buffet-style in the brasserie. We liked the selection of juices (though they were carton, not freshly-squeezed), and the option to feast on custard tarts at breakfast (hello, holiday!), but we were disappointed generally. The usual suspects were all present - breads and jams, pastries, cereals, fruits and a few hot options including bacon, eggs and scotch pancakes - but everything was rather bland. Coffee from the machine left a lot to be desired. It's not included in the room rate so although it's convenient - and served until a lie-in friendly 11.30am - you might want to go elsewhere.

Lunch, however, was another story. A brasserie menu is served from 12-3pm – the burgers are ginormous and filled with lovely fresh ingredients, the omelettes as big as our heads and the steaks seriously delicious. We only wished it served dinner, too, so we could've gone back for more! Reception staff are happy to advise on local cafes and restaurants, of which there are many.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take a trip on the famous yellow trams, which rattle up and down the winding streets; #28 is a popular tourist route that takes you past lots of the sights (eg Alfama, Se Cathedral and Estrela Basilica). Just beware of pickpockets
  • Learn about the history of the city and gaze out over the rooftops from the Castelo São Jorge
  • Take a tram to Belém to visit the waterside Torre de Belém and the impressive San Jeronimo monastery. And don't forget to try the famous custard tarts at Pastéis de Belém
  • Just around the corner from the hotel is the Elevador do Carmo - an ingenious way to avoid climbing the hill!
  • The hotel offers their own city tours - speak to reception for details

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Historical sites
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Private guided tours
    • Shopping / markets

Kids

Our toddler was made super-welcome by the staff, who greeted him every time we passed, and made him feel like a VIP. There are cots and extra beds to borrow (free for under 7s) and the breakfast buffet offers plenty of options for little ones. However, there are no specific facilities for children and we think the hotel is best suited to couples and groups of friends.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Small and Mansard Rooms can fit 1 baby cot; Superiors and Suites can fit a baby cot or rollaway bed. If you have more than 1 child, you'll need 2 rooms

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and highchairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Location

Brown's Central Hotel is in the heart of vibrant Chiado, between Bairro Alto and Baixa Pombalina. It’s a 2-minute walk from Baixa-Chiado metro and within easy walking of bus and tram stops, as well as most major sights.

By Air:
Fly into Lisbon Portela Airport (10km) and take a taxi or metro to Baixa-Chiado (about 30 mins).

By Car:
Lisbon is easily navigated on foot and by public transport, but if you want to hire a car, the hotel can arrange valet parking.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Lisbon Portela 10.0 km LIS

Other:

  • Beach 5.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 4 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
7/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Hotel extremely comfortable with very good design, our room was very small but at the back with a view of a brick wall and the kitchen extractor fan running up the side. However we were glad of the quietness. The general design of hotel and rooms were very good. The staff were lovely helpful and kind. However the food side let it down, we ate a disappointing lunch there and breakfast was a sad affair. We would go back there again as it was in a perfect location and attention to detail was terrific.

8/10,

Nice central hotel with friendly staff. Breakfast disappointing and coffee completely unacceptable for an hotel like this.

7/10,

Lisbon is a beautiful place and this hotel was excellently placed in the centre of Baixa. Cool decor, and surprisingly peaceful at night despite its street location. We loved the bar - with jazz standards playing in the background, and comfy stylish seating it is a great way to start or end an evening. The only slight moan was the awful machine coffee at breakfast which is slowly, noisily and mechanically produced whilst you wait behind other guests . There is no excuse for a hotel at this level to penny pinch - a decent pot of coffee starts the day in the right way and would elevate its breakfast offering. But despite that (and hopefully it will change??) we would love to go back again.

8/10,

The rooms are a little small but plenty of gadgets such as radio, bluetooth and nice telly. Breakfast is very good. Great location, and public transport is very cheap. If arriving by metro alight at Baixa Chiado but leave Metro onto R. Do Crucifixo street as the other exit takes longer and can be confusing. We recommend Bastardo restaurant- quirky but great food.

10/10,

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