Santiago de Alfama

Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal
Book from GBP Book from £222 per night

Santiago de Alfama

Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal

Elegance and luxury at this stunningly converted palace, hidden high in the historic streets of Alfama

Elegance and luxury at this stunningly converted palace, hidden high in the historic streets of Alfama

We stepped through the jaw-dropping doors of Santiago as its first-ever guests, and knew straightaway that this was a classic boutique hotel in its infancy. Already, there was an aura of sophistication and confidence that belied its ‘new kid on the block’ status. Owners Heleen and Manny bought this 15th-century palace (then a run-down bra factory) in 2010, immediately seeing its full potential. Their visionary transformation has kept the building true to its past, yet it has been pulled into the 21st century and turned into a stylish and restful space.

There are just 19 bedrooms, along with an atmospheric café-restaurant-bar and a Beauty Bar (Martini with your manicure? Why not!). Mod cons are well considered and subtle (sound-proofing, speakers in the bathrooms, smart TVs), and Roman ruins unearthed during the build have been exposed and celebrated. Better still, you get all the things that are missing in many boutique hotels - lots of space, wardrobes, great bathrooms and classic Claus Porto products. Heleen’s eye for detail has created nothing short of a masterpiece. We felt thoroughly spoilt (and, dare we say, a little smug to have discovered Lisbon’s hottest new gem?).


  • Space: all rooms, even the cheapest, are generous for a city hotel, and bathrooms too
  • Beautiful, understated style - high quality abounds but things remain simple
  • Equally suited to couples, friends and families; not an easy balance to achieve
  • Set on a quiet street in Lisbon's oldest district, a short walk from Castelo de São Jorge and viewpoints across the Tagus river
  • Trams rattle past a few hundred metres away so it's easy to hop on and explore the city


  • Some guests find the beds too firm (we didn't); a few encountered plumbing issues (again, we didn't)
  • Occasionally service in the restaurant can be stretched, but it's worth the wait
  • Be aware this is a steep area of the city and not great for those with mobility problems

Best time to go

Lisbon is a fabulous city break at any time of year, though temperatures can tip 40C in July and August. Room prices are lowest in November, December and January, and the city rarely gets very cold.

Our top tips

If you long for a latte, macchiato or flat white over the ubiquitous Portuguese bica (espresso), try the Scandi-chic Copenhagen Coffee Lab in Principe Real; super hip!

Great for...

City Style
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 19 rooms
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym


Each of the 19 bedrooms is distinctly different with its own charms. All you really need to know is that even the smallest are spacious and elegant, and all have a smart TV, and most a wall of wardrobes. Some are more contemporary than others; one has an original Lichtenstein pop-art; another features Bristol’s own Banksy prints.

Bathrooms are beautifully tiled (this is Lisbon, after all) with delicious citron Claus Porto products and vast walk-in showers or enormous tubs. Bespoke fabrics, furniture and linens have been sourced from across the globe, including India, and all are top quality. Full sound-proofing is the icing on the cake - we woke restored and well rested, rarely the case in a city hotel.

The stand-out room is the Santiago Suite. Spread over the top of the palace, its panoramic river and Alfama views are stunning, and the divine bathtub screams romance (the room for a special occasion).

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Hairdryer
  • In room treatments available
  • Safe box
  • WiFi


All dining takes place in Audrey's, a relaxed café-restaurant-bar comprised of several cosy spaces and a street terrace for alfresco dining in the summer sunshine.

For breakfast, there are plenty of irresistible options on offer (pastries, fruit platters, cooked dishes and a signature house bagel). For other meals, choose between light tapas or a variety of meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes. We thoroughly enjoyed the Portuguese classics, and shared a delicious arroz malandrinho (a rice dish similar to paella), bursting with prawns, salmon and spiced white fish.

Staff are super friendly and enthusiastic, and were keen to discuss the menu (and, more importantly, the wine list, which has a good array of Portuguese options). Have a cocktail in high-ceilinged Manny's Bar before dinner or just a beer on the terrace; both feel elegant yet relaxed.

Of course, Alfama has plenty of good restaurants. For a change of scene, we'd recommend the tasting menu at Mini Bar Teatro.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Café
  • Kids' meals
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service


  • Enjoy the history of Lisbon's oldest district: wander cobbled streets, visit the famous Castelo de São Jorge, and see the church that Christopher Columbus got married in
  • Fado, the beautiful, haunting Portuguese singing, originated in Alfama; ask reception to recommend cafés with live performances
  • Jump on Tram 28 and head downtown or just enjoy a rattling ride around Lisbon
  • We loved LX Factory, a converted warehouse turned creative hub, housing cutting-edge shops, cafés and galleries
  • Or you can shop in the high-street stores of Baixa, the quirky boutiques of Bairro Alto and the upmarket hideaways of Chiado
  • No one should leave Lisbon without visiting Pastelaria de Belém, the spiritual home of the custard tart; take the train from Cais do Sodré (a cool area in itself) or a tram from the city. Whilst there, visit the Cultural Centre of Belém, which includes a terrific modern-art museum
  • When the sun's up, catch a tram to Cascais and bask on its golden beach

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being


Children are warmly welcomed. Family is important to Heleen and Manny, who have 3 kids of their own, and they've provided heaps of equipment to borrow, from a buggy to stair gates (though we felt it best suited to older, well-behaved children). 0-12 year olds stay and breakfast for free when sharing their parents room. 9 of the rooms have baths.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms can fit a baby cot. If you have one child up to 12 years old 4 rooms will work for your family (2 of the Deluxe King Bedrooms and 2 of the Superior King Bedrooms) as these can squeeze in an extra bed. If you are travelling with two children or teens, you'd need to book 2 interconnecting rooms, the following pairs interconnect or adjoin:
- 102 and 103, a Superior King Bedroom (double) and a Classic Alfama Bedroom (can be set up as a double or twin), and can sleep up to 4
- 201 and 202 , a Classic Alfama Bedroom next to a Deluxe King Bedroom (a double and a double or twin)
- 203 and 204, an interconnecting Deluxe King Bedroom (double, which can also take an extra bed) and Classic Alfama Bedroom (can be double or twin), so could also work for a family of 5

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available


On request

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs
  • Stair gates
  • Toddler bed
  • Buggy to borrow
  • Baby bedding
  • Potties
  • Night lights
  • Baby baths
  • Baby monitors
  • Bottle warming
  • Kids' books / toys

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

Children's meals:

Kids' menu available all day, and special mealtimes for kids

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Zoo
  • Beach
  • Oceanarium
  • Ride trams


  • Airport: 20 minutes' drive (Lisbon)
  • Shop: 2 minutes
  • Hospital: 15 minutes
Kid Friendly:


Santiago de Alfama is in the heart of Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest district, which sprawls down the hillside between Castelo de São Jorge and the river. Most major sights are within walking distance, and Tram 28 provides direct access to downtown.

By Air:
Lisbon’s Portela Airport (8km away) is served by plenty of flights from the UK, elsewhere in Europe and further afield - click on the links below for a list of airlines. The hotel can arrange airport 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.

By Car:
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. However, if you want to hire one, see our car rental recommendations. The hotel can arrange parking.

Detailed directions will be sent when you confirm a booking through

More on getting to Portugal and getting around


  • Lisbon Portela 8.0 km LIS


  • Beach 18.0 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Rates for Santiago de Alfama

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