“A hidden adults-only gem in Lisbon’s historic heart, with chic interiors, a rooftop pool and unrivalled views”
Hidden down a cobbled street lined with orange trees, the 42-room Memmo Alfama (younger sibling of the Algarve's Memmo Baleeira) is a minimalist reinvention of a 19th-century bakery. The façade has been carefully retained so that it blends seamlessly into the jumble of terracotta roofs and whitewashed buildings, and the only clue to its new incarnation is the striking mural by street artist Vihls which adorns one wall. But step inside and you’ll find a calming oasis of wood and stone, with modernist décor that perfectly complements the original features. Arne Jacobsen ‘Swan’ chairs are dotted around an airy lounge, and the old vaulted brick bread oven has been turned into a cosy reading room. But the real jewel in Memmo’s crown is the rooftop terrace, with its shimmering infinity pool, wine bar and jaw-dropping views.
- Ideal for those seeking romance and sophistication, with an adults-only policy and seriously stylish design throughout
- The views from the roof terrace are some of Lisbon’s finest
- Free walking tours of Alfama with wonderfully passionate guides who point out hidden treasures around every corner
- Warm staff and a laid-back vibe help you feel instantly at home
- The location: the rickety yellow Tram 28 stops a few steps away, providing direct access to downtown, and an abundance of trendy cafés and shops are close by
- Rooms are small with showers only, but they feel light, modern and fresh
- Dinner is not available at the hotel, but they do serve excellent Portuguese tapas and bar snacks during the day
- The hotel is set on a cobbled back street so can be tricky to find
- Service at breakfast and lunch can be slow; you may have to track down staff to order
- Views across the river are periodically obscured by cruise ships (usually gone by early evening)
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 42 rooms
- Breakfast + wine bar serving tapas and snacks (open daily)
- Over 16s only
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Complimentary walking tours
There are 42 rooms, arranged over 4 floors. They’re compact but feel light and bright. A framed fado LP perched above the headboard in each room serves as a reminder that Alfama is the home of this traditional Portuguese folk music. Blackout shutters keep the interiors blissfully calm at night, and we slept like babies throughout our stay.
We plumped for one of the Alfama Rooms. They’re simply furnished but all have wonderful views over the rooftops, clothes lines and bell towers of the old town to the river beneath; gazing out at the misty morning cityscape from our bed was a real treat. Terrace Rooms have doors which open out onto a shared wooden deck where you can lounge in 60s Acapulco chairs and soak up the same glorious sights. Mansard Rooms are located under the eaves and their views are obscured by a wall (there’s a little step up to the window so you can peer over it), while Patio Rooms are small and have no view to speak of.
If you want a little more space, opt for a Mansard or Alfama Superior Room, or splash out on the Premium Mansard Suite, whose sitting area makes up for the lack of view.
Bathrooms are separated from the bedrooms by a glass wall, which adds a perception of more space (you can pull across a floor-to-ceiling curtain to preserve modesty). They have rainfall showers, locally made Saboaria Portugueza toiletries and fluffy cotton towels and bathrobes.
- Air conditioning
- Ipod dock
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
There’s no restaurant at the hotel, but the wine bar serves up terrifically fresh seafood, salads and Portuguese tapas. We ate alfresco on the sunny terrace and gorged on cured meats and local cheeses, crispy croquettes oozing with cheese and ham, and - our favourite - tempura green beans.
Breakfast is served in the lounge, but you can take it up to the terrace. Laid out over a dresser is an abundance of seasonal fruit, cereal, local cheeses, breads and pastries (including irresistible pastel de nata, naturally), and hidden behind a beautifully ornate door is a smart Smeg fridge laden with yoghurts, juices and milk in retro glass bottles. Cooked options, including eggs, bacon and pancakes, are also available.
When it comes to eating out, you’re really spoilt for choice in Lisbon. Nearby, we liked the laid-back vibe at Pois Café, which is something of a local institution - find a spot amongst the mismatched old furniture and tuck into tasty Portuguese-Austrian brunches, salads and light meals. We also enjoyed the fresh fish at Restaurante Farol de Santa Luzia, recommended by hotel staff and just a short walk up the hill. For something special, head to 100 Maneiras in Bairro Alto for a fun, modern take on traditional fare, including the signature ‘codfish clothes line’ (pieces of dehydrated cod pegged onto a clothes line). The foie gras with truffle mousse was a taste sent from heaven.
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Join the hotel’s free walking tour of Alfama (highly recommended), or head off on your own to explore the warren of twisting cobbled streets, steep stairwells and spectacular vistas. The best views are those from the public belvederes of Portas do Sol and Santa Luzia
- Lisbon cathedral, São Jorge Castle and the beautiful Santa Engrácia church are all on your doorstep, too
- Take a stroll around the Feira da Ladra flea market on nearby Campo de Santa Clara (every Tuesday and Sunday), which brims with bric-a-brac, antiques, clothes, jewellery and old photographs
- Hop aboard Tram 28, which rattles down to the city centre - an unmissable Lisbon experience
- Learn about the history of Portugal’s haunting fado music at the Museu do Fado (a short walk from the hotel), then hear the best of the new-generation fado artists at church-turned-tavern Mesa de Frades (Rua dos Remédios 139a)
- Visit the LX Factory in the Alcantara district. Once a sprawling industrial complex, it’s now a creative island of artists’ and architects’ studios, workshops, cultural associations and cafés
- Head to the terrace bar at Chapitô à Mesa, Lisbon's famed circus school, for sunset cocktails overlooking the city
- For the best pastel de nata in Lisbon, go to Pastelaria Aloma in the Campo d’Ourique neighbourhood
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Fado music
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
- Wine tasting
This is very much an adults' hotel - only guests over the age of 16 are allowed, and there are no extra beds.
Memmo Alfama is located down a cobbled street in the heart of Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest district, which sprawls down the hillside between São Jorge Castle and the river. Most major sights are within walking distance, and Tram 28 provides direct access to downtown.
Lisbon’s Portela Airport (8km away) is served by plenty of flights from the UK, elsewhere in Europe and further afield.
From the Airport
The hotel can arrange transfers or you can take a taxi. There’s also a metro link from the airport to the city centre, where you can pick up Tram 28 to the hotel.
We don’t recommend having a car in Lisbon - the city is easily navigated on foot and by public transport, and the traffic can be tricky. If you want to hire one to explore further afield, see our car rental recommendations. The hotel offers valet parking (at an additional charge); you can pull up outside to drop off your luggage and staff will park it for you. Be sure to give them notice when you need it back.
Detailed directions will be provided when you confirm a booking through i-escape.
- Lisbon Portela 8.0 km LIS
- Beach 15.0 km
- Shops 0.2 km
- Restaurant 0.2 km