Advantages Brilliant location, quirky themes, recently renovated, lovely staff
Disadvantages Expensive if you don't get a deal
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
|Quality of Facilities|
What made us pick the Internacional Design Hotel?My partner and I decided to spend a week in Lisbon this summer. Having never been to Portugal before, we thought it would be interesting to see the capital before heading down south to the Algarve for our second week.
PriceWe actually had more of a budget for the hotel on this holiday than we would normally have as we received the flights as a present. Normally this would be more than we’d like to spend on a hotel, but we didn’t mind this time. We got 5 nights in one of the small rooms in the hotel through Expedia for about £384. Our offer was a 5th night free if you book 4, the weekdays cost £87.47 and the weekends were £103.37. Considering it was right in the centre and had everything we wanted, we didn’t think this was tooo bad. It didn’t include breakfast (15 Euros/person/day extra) or anything, but all we wanted was a nice base and easy access to places to eat nearby, which this offered.
Accessing the hotelDespite the fact that we were going to Lisbon, we actually got a flight to Faro (as our second week was down South and we hadn’t initially planned to go to Lisbon) to begin with, which made it a bit of a pain to get to the hotel (and involved 14 and a half hours of travel from our home in the UK to the hotel – by car, plane, local bus, walking, train and metro!). If we’d flown into Lisbon though I think it would have been much more straightforward.
The hotel itself is really near the Rossio Metro station (certainly within walking distance) and we knew what to look for as there are quite a few photos of the outside on the website. The hotel itself is actually on the corner of one of the main squares (with a Trafalgar Square-esque fountain) and Rue Augusta.When we went in the glass door on the side of the hotel we were greeted by a really friendly receptionist who gave us our keys and also a voucher for a free drink each in the hotel bar. We thought this was a nice touch and hurriedly took the lift up to our rooms. We were interested to see what theme room we would have. One of the things that swung it for us with choosing this hotel was that it had four themes and the rooms and surrounding hallways were followed the themes. We would either get zen, pop, tribal or urban.
Our roomWe were slightly concerned that as we had opted for the smallest size room that they had (4m x 3m) we would be likely to get the pop theme, which looked the cheapest of the lot. However, we were pleased to find our rooms were on the second level which was the tribal theme. Not only are the rooms themed, but the corridor was dimly lit (they set the dimmer lighting in the evening) with dramatic spotlights above each door and there was even a light scent in the corridor rather like coffee. Each level had a smell to compliment the theme – we checked out the other levels and found that pop smelt a bit like sweets, zen was a soothing smell (perhaps ylang ylang) and urban was something unidentifiable, but certainly pleasant!
These special touches extended into the rooms. Our room bizarrely had black toilet paper (!), words from a poem/novel stencilled on the wall of the bathroom, a frosted glass door to the bathroom and a synthetic animal-skin rug, amongst other things.On further inspection we discovered that we also had a balcony looking out over the main street through Lisbon. We were rather surprised by this as the small rooms in the hotel were supposed to just look out over the inside of the hotel. Our balcony had a view down Rue Augusta in one direction and over the square with the fountains in the other. We were really pleased – and also surprised – and once we looked at the welcome pack a bit more closely we discovered that we had been upgraded. Not to a medium sized room, but to a large room! This meant that we had a Nespresso machine in our room (which was topped up again with capsules during our stay) and the floor plan was far bigger than our original room would have been. On the door prices are always crazy, but according to the brochure the on the door price for our room would have been 350 Euros per night! They hadn’t mentioned the upgrade at reception, but we were very chuffed.
Room facilitiesSo down to the key things that you expect from a decent hotel room. The bed was very comfortable, fitted out with sheets. However, in the European style, it was two twins pushed together rather than a double. The air con in the room was fantastic – with a control on the wall that allowed us to change the temperature to the exact degree. The room also came with 2 dressing gowns, a free-to-use combination safe, a flat screen TV with UK channels and down pillows.
The bathroom actually had a pretty small bath – I’m pretty short and it was too small for me to lie down properly in. However, the shower was really powerful and the free toiletries were really nice – a brand called Rituals – it was like using Spa products. The balcony for our room had double glazed doors, which then lead out on to an enclosed old-fashioned balcony. We could close both the window to this and the double glazing, which meant that, despite being on the main street through Lisbon, we couldn’t hear a thing. However, I have seen on tripadvisor that some people found the rooms noisy. I wonder if you were in a room that that didn’t have this double-doored balcony then it might not be as quiet. I’ve attached some photos to this review so you can see which was our room.Welcome drink
The second night that we were there we took our vouchers down to the hotel bar for our free welcome drink. It turned out that the drink was a cocktail themed to the theme of our room. For the tribal theme the cocktail was coffee based, but the barman made it very clear that if we didn’t like coffee then we could have one of the other cocktails instead. So I went for one based on mint and vodka, whereas my partner had a cream/baileys and chocolate one. I think we probably wouldn’t have used the bar if we hadn’t had the free drink. It was really well laid out and there were nice touches – like the wavy design of the paving in the square outside (one of the iconic parts of Lisbon) being repeated on the scatter cushions and fashion/art books lying about to browse through – but it was completely empty apart from us, so there wasn’t much atmosphere. It also looked pretty expensive!Any qualms?
In general our experience at the hotel was superb. However, on the last night of our stay we heard dripping and after a few minutes I realised that there was water seeping through the ceiling in the bathroom from the bathroom the floor above. Worst of all, some of this was actually going into the light fitting. I found this pretty worrying, so I phoned reception to ask them to get someone to look at it. Unfortunately this was during what was probably the evening shift and the guy on reception didn’t seem to speak a lot of English. He assured me that someone was coming up to look. However, no one appeared and when we went out for the evening we told him the problem again face-to-face. He didn’t seem at all concerned and when we got back nothing had been done. The day of our checkout there were different people on reception and when we told them about this problem they were really shocked and concerned about the issue (which I kind of figured the first guy would have been).We had read on one of the tripadvisor reviews that the bathrooms had glass doors, and this was a bit awkward for a guy travelling with his dad, so we were expecting something quite exposing. In actuality it was heavily frosted glass and it was directed towards a wall, so you couldn’t see anyone in there unless you were standing right in front of it and squinted really hard – even then you would only be able to see a blur. I don’t think this would be an issue for many people. I guess the orientation of the door might be different in the small and medium rooms though.
One to recommend?It was a shame about the leak, but it didn’t detract from the rest of our stay, which had been pretty faultless. I loved the design of the hotel. Lots of thought had been put into every detail – right down to the quirky signs directing you to different parts of the hotel. Like ‘WC… better run!’ and ‘Warm up’ on the steps on the way up and ‘Cool down’ on the way down. Even the staff quarters cutely said ‘stuff only’.
Overall, I think if you could get the same room that we did for the same price I would recommend it in a second. The staff were really friendly, the rooms were perfectly clean and it was everything we expected and more (except the leak perhaps!). The balcony overlooking Rue Augusta was awesome, and it was really nice having a Nespresso overlooking all the retaurants while resting our feet and getting ready in the early evening to go out again. Check out the photos to see more details of the room and the hotel. It was certainly something unique and there were so many nice touches that made us wonder if they could possibly be making any money out of it.Thanks for reading!
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Occupying a fantastic position on the south side of Rossio Square in Lisbon city centre, the Internacional Design Hotel is a modern and trendy...
Shipping: refer to website
Availability: Price is per double room per night and may vary depending on date booked