At Home in Lisbon

2017-06-07

Housed in a charming beaux arts townhouse with just a hint of neo-gothic, Valverde is immediately alluring. Climbing up the entrance stairs, the homely feel doesn’t fade away. The narrow deep blue hallways, the lovely wood panelling and the moody lighting, convey a sense of homely nostalgia and tradition that is still unmistakably contemporary. With just 25 rooms, the hotel doesn’t feature expansive public areas. The street-facing parlour next to the reception featuring a bold mix of art deco and contemporary pieces is the hotels main lobby. The avenues hustle and bustle is filtered, the noise is but a mere suggestion and the light is soothing. I am home.

Downstairs the restaurant “Sitio”, which translates as place, keeps the mood. Strikingly modern lighting features, combined with newly minted vintage furniture and tasteful art work come together for a tour de force in intimacy and timeless design. Outside is one of Lisbon’s favourite spots: a spectacular landscaped patio with black walls, oriental trees and a markedly iberian feel. The rooms aren’t the largest you’ll find around town, but they are unquestionably among Lisbon’s most stylish. Painted in deep, rich colours, and featuring different art works and antique pieces, they ooze sophistication and elegance.

The staff is dressed in sporty Lacoste, the long lasting French favourite headed by Portuguese designer Filipe Oliveira Baptista. The mâitre de maison, the charming Adélia Carvalho, is passionate about the place and adamant about the type of service she wants the guests to enjoy. Impeccable and friendly, attentive but unobtrusive, Adelia mastered the boutique service formula, and Valverde has been topping guest reviews and rankings all over the web.

For the kitchen she picked Carla Sousa, a smiley Cape Verdian with a knack for fusion, and a deep knowledge of what makes one’s belly happy. I will never forget the exquisite guinea follow I had there for dinner, or the eggs benedict over carob bread at breakfast. Brunches, generously served over live jazz, are quickly becoming a Lisbon classic.

José Pedro Vieira and Diogo Rosa Lã are the duo behind the interior design. Their first hotel adventure was the acclaimed Hotel Bairro Alto, in Lisbon’s Chiado area. The aggiornamento of classic late 19th century interiors, combined with bold contemporary art and design icons, made a huge impact. The Vidago Palace came next, and while the public areas of the grand thermal estate are one of a kind, José Pedro and Diogo’s signature approach to comfort and timeless luxury is evident. But Valverde, in its much smaller scale, seems however to be their crown accomplishment. José Pedro visits the property regularly, constantly curating the library, updating the art works, or just hanging around the patio, taking mental notes. The hotel is about to grow, and both Adelia and José Pedro have been secretly plotting the expansion together. And I’m certain I’ll love it.


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