Solar dos Mouros

Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal Book from Book from £79 per night

A colourful B&B hotel up on the hill close to the castle, with long views down the river
You’re at the top of the hill in the shadow of the famous castle, but it’s the huge view over the city and river that takes your breath. It keeps you rooted to the spot, stretching up river past Lisbon’s wonderful suspension bridge that appears to hang in the air. 11 rooms are over 6 floors; the higher you climb the better the view. Scale the summit for the Deluxe Suite with its enormous terrace.

The style throughout is bright and breezy, with African wood carvings, lots of art and colour everywhere. Owner Luis Lemos is an artist, and his splashy oils adorn most walls. There's a bar-restaurant overlooking the Tagus and Lisbon rooftops, plus a breathtaking terrace for wining and dining in glorious Lisbon sunshine. Follow cobbled streets up to the castle or drop down the hill to the alleyways of Alfama, one of the capital’s most intriguing quarters. The Number 28 tram will save your legs on the way back up.

Highs

  • A fantastic location with long views over the rooftops and down the river
  • Big colourful rooms, especially those with small alcoves
  • The district of Alfama that clings to the hill beneath you
  • Good local restaurants nearby
  • The street is quiet at night

Lows

  • Prices shown are a guide only, and vary massively according to occupancy/date of stay
  • The Deluxe Suite has limited headroom
  • You’re close to the castle - high season is awash with tourists - and you're at the top of the hill: it’s a hard climb up, but there are trams and buses, and public lifts operate 8am-midnight
  • No kids under 13 (a high for some!)

Best time to go

Lisbon is a fabulous place to visit at any time of year. Proximity to the sea means that even at the height of summer temperatures are bearable, though it does get very busy in July and August. Carnaval in February is always a riot whilst for bibliophiles The Lisbon Book Fair is a must, held every year between April and May. The Alkantara and Almada performing arts festivals take place a little later, between May and July, whilst the May-time Rock in Rio Lisboa has become an established annual event.

Our top tips

If you want to party, Lux is the coolest club in town. DJs from around the world in the bar and disco.

Great for...

City Style
  • Boutique B&B
  • 11
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Only 13yo and over accepted
  • 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
  • Concierge Service
Room: River View Suite

Rooms

All the rooms are similarly furnished, but none are carbon copies of the others. They come in vibrant colours with comfy beds and lots of art. Often you find one wall of colour, the others in white to soak up the light. Expect red, orange, green, yellow, duck-egg blue. There are minibars, TVs and CD players in every room.

Double Rooms are a pretty good size (16sq.m) and are tucked away on the ground floor. Castle Twin Suites tend to be huge (42sq.m) and have partial castle views. River View Suites offer charming vistas that drift on for miles across the river. Some also have alcoves with room for a table and chairs.

The Duplex Suite has silky golden throws on a sofa, big mirrors, a rocking chair from which to watch a plasma-screen TV and a big window to frame the view. The bedroom and bathroom are located upstairs on the mezzanine floor. On the fifth floor, at the top of the building, is the amazing Deluxe Suite. Its enormous terrace and panoramic views over Lisbon are a real plus, although be aware that it has sloped ceilings and is accessed via a spiral staircase.

In all rooms you’ll find bamboo mats, a couple of armchairs, blond wood floors and marble bathrooms.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • CD player
  • DVD player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

You eat breakfast in the restaurant on the first floor. There’s fresh bread and toast, plates of cheese and ham, freshly-squeezed orange juice, cakes, yoghurt and fruit.

For other meals, the restaurant serves light dishes such as salads, sandwiches, cheese and ham plates, and tapas. There's also a sushi menu and a selection of plats du jour (daily specials), which might include steak tartare or bacalhau (cod) - the staple fish in Lisbon.

Local restaurants are close by. You can eat in the castle grounds overlooking the city: you pay for the privilege, but the view is worth it - just make sure you book a good table. There are quite a few fado restaurants about – places where you eat to the strains of live traditional Portuguese music. Clube de Fado is local and one of the best, but again you pay handsomely for the pleasure. Conquistadors offers good traditional Portuguese food and is reasonably priced. The most stylish place is Chapito. You can eat inside, outside, order a drink, dip into tapas or scoff a big meal. Views tumble down hill to the River Tejo and beyond. Zambeze is also recommended - African and Portugese food.

Features include:

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

Activities

  • The Castle of St George is one street north. It’s high on the hill with stupendous views over the city. It was home to Portugal’s kings from 1147, the year the Moors were driven from Lisbon. Leave the castle walls to the east and you’ll find a pretty square with a batch of cafés and a miradouro for more views
  • Alfama is the district between the castle and the river below. It is considered Lisbon’s prettiest district, perhaps because it’s one of the few sections that survived the 1755 earthquake, which clings to the hill between the castle and river below. Mazy alleyways and stone stairs lead you down to the water. The cathedral is here too
  • The Number 28 tram runs down to the centre. Lisbon’s trams are a treat: old, yellow and gorgeous. They’re not fast, and they move jerkily, but they’re the only way to get around town
  • Watch your feet as you stroll through the city – several streets are paved with beautiful Roman-inspired mosaics. Many show nautical images as reference to Lisbon’s important relationship with the sea
  • If you want the best shops in town, head to Avenida Liberdada, the capital’s main street. The Fashion Clinic is the place to go for all the designer names
  • The 20th-century Design and Fashion Museum (MuDe) is one of the best collections in Europe. There are over 1,000 works by the likes of Charles Eames and Arne Jacobsen, and 1,200 couture fashion pieces by famous names such as Viviennne Westwood and Balenciaga. Closed on Mondays
  • Discover the influence of colonialism in multi-cultural Martim Moniz. Its Fusion Market sells produce from all over the world, and stalls sit alongside street performers
  • Belém is where the great explorers set off to conquer the new world. The Portuguese empire was born as a result and the Padrao dos Descobrimentos commemorates their endeavours. You’ll also find the Torre de Belém and the Monastery of San Jeronimo
  • Sporting and Benfica both play in town. Tickets aren’t that expensive

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

Only children over the age of 13 are accepted

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms except the Deluxe Suite can fit 1 rollaway bed

Kid Friendly: Suite

Location

Solar dos Mouros is in central Lisbon, close to the castle and 15km south of Lisbon airport.

By Air:
Lisbon Airport is the closest (15km).

From the Airport
A taxi should cost you around EUR15 (price correct in 2013); make sure the taxi has a meter.

By Car:
See our car rental recommendations - but the hotel doesn't have private parking so you'll need to leave it in the public carpark 200m from the hotel.

Local Transport
The bus stop (no.37) is 20m from the hotel; the Santa Apolónia railway station is 10 minutes' walk away.

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

Airports:

  • Lisbon Portela 15.0 km LIS

Other:

  • Beach 25.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 6 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
8/10
Food
9/10
Service
8/10
Value
8/10
Overall

Lovely view from room. Great location if you don't mind walking up steep hills. Better food in Chiado. Monastery, Gulblenkin, and Castle great. Tower not worth it. Archeological tour at Castle well worth it.

8/10,

The location of Solar dos Mouros is excellent, for Alfama and the centre of Lisbon.

10/10,

We loved Solar dos Mouros. Our room, a River View Suite, was spacious and easy to live in, and our views were amazing. Definitely ask for the river side, no matter what size room you choose. Also, Momo, the manager, was terrific -- super welcoming and helpful. The breakfast buffet was lovely, with lots of offerings, and eating it on the deck was great. I saw that one reviewer said it wasn't up to the level of other i-escape places. Though it was more funky and less luxurious than our i-escape hotels in Barcelona and Madrid, we absolutely loved it. So I guess it depends on what vibe you're looking for. The location is perfect. The hotel is at the top of Alfama, the oldest quarter in town and the only one that wasn't destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, and it is right under the big castle, which is one of the highest points in Lisbon. It's so perfect that I'm pretty sure I saw the hotel, which is a salmon pink color, in some Lisbon marketing campaign photos. (The entrance to the castle is super close to the hotel, so if you're staying there you easily can go at 9 am and beat the crowds.) Two things about the location, however: walking back to Solar dos Mouros from the central square means going up, up, up, on sidewalks, passages and stairways paved with the beautiful but bumpy and uneven stones Portugal is famous for. It can be a real workout. This is true for exploring Lisbon by foot in general, and, really, exploring it by foot is the best way to see the city, as much of it is inaccessible by car. We had only sandals and hiking boots with us, so we wore hiking boots the entire time. Bring shoes with good support! I guess what I'm saying is that Solar dos Mouros, and Lisbon, could be difficult for someone without complete mobility, and that folks in that situation might prefer a hotel closer to sea level. If you do book here, the hotel can send someone to pick you up at the airport, which we opted for because taxis might have trouble finding it. The driver had a card that gave him access to the hotel's street, which limits access, and he pulled right up in front. If you opt for a taxi, tell them it's next to Chapito Restaurant, which is pretty well known.

10/10,

We had a lovely time at Solar dos Mourous. The room was comfortable and spacious with a great view across the river. Everyone was warm, friendly and helpful - in particular recommending some excellent restaurants which we wouldn't have found ourselves. It's a great location right by the castle. Breakfast was good and varied (although 15 euros is definitely on the pricy side - if you just wanted coffee and croissant it would be better to go to a cafe). It was lovely to end the day after dinner with a drink on the terrace - very peaceful. Overall I'd definitely recommend it to friends as a good place to stay in Lisbon.

9/10,

We didn't feel this was really a boutique hotel (rather one that was trying to be) - different from any other places we've stayed via i-escape. Generally though it was an OK hotel for one night.

7/10,

Breakfast only taken (snacks are available). Excellent service made to feel very at home and all the staff provide good service, would go there again.
We liked the quiet at night and restaurants suggested were good choices.

9/10,

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