City Cruises

Hotel review: InterContinental Lisbon has it all for a city break to events and away-days


Our Editor checked into InterContinental Lisbon for a weekend break. June is a great time to visit Lisbon as it’s the month of Santo Antonio Festival, also known as Sardine Festival. There was also another reason for Marja-Leena to visit the Hotel Intercontinental Lisbon and that was to meet with Maarten Drenth, Area General Manager at IHG in Portugal, to find out more about the recent prestigious titles of “Best Workplaces” and “Culture for All” by Great Place to Work Portugal awarded to the hotel. The interview with Maarten will be published shortly here in PA Life.

Lisbon is a heaven for seafood lovers and we certainly ate our way through a fair amount including many a local delicacy such as grilled sardines and Bacalhau, which is dried and salted cod. To satisfy our sweet cravings we had to have a couple of the famous Pastel de Nata, especially from the famous bakery in Belem. There is plenty to do and see in the city for a much longer stay than our quick two night visit.  Some of our favourite places worth mentioning were The Time Out Market where we had the most for delicious lunch, spending a day in Belem, the historic neighbourhood with plenty of sights to visit and the sardine festival parties taking place all over the city. If you visit Belem be prepared for queues at the Belem Tower which commemorates Vasco da Gama’s discovery of India, the imposing Prince Henry the Navigator monument and the Jeronimos Monestry.

Lisbon still has some of its tram lines left and if you are lucky you can catch a ride in one of the pretty old wooden carriages. Another great experience of the old charming transport system in this very hilly city is the Elevador da Bica, a tram that takes passengers up and down a steep hill with stunning scenery in the background.

What was our stay at the InterContinental Lisbon like?

InterContinental Lisbon is conveniently located within a short walk from two Metro stations, around 30 minutes and a 1.69 Euro ride from the airport – no need for a taxi if you travel light for a short stay.

Our room on the 15th floor had exceptional views over the historic capital, the Tagus River and the peaceful Parque Eduardo VII. The hotel is within a pleasant 30 minute walk from the city centre and you can take in the Avenida da Liberdade, the very heart of Lisbon’s stylish society, for a spot of shopping on your way to see the historic sights of the old town and to enjoy the riverside of the wide Tagus estuary.

Each of the newly renovated bedrooms and suites, spread across 19 floors, are wonderfully designed to create a calm and inviting atmosphere for guests whilst providing a sensational work setting for staff. The standard room where we stayed is a spacious 30 square meters with a comfortable desk so you can catch up with emails if needed.

After a full-on day of sightseeing and soaking up the city vibes, we were grateful to recharge at the stylish Club Lounge for pre-dinner canapes and drinks. With shelves stacked with books and board games the Lounge has a nice home-from-home feel. We enjoyed it so much that we returned the following morning for a lovely breakfast.

Dining in style at the AKLA Restaurant

We had dinner at the hotel’s AKLA Restaurant on the first night of our stay. This popular restaurant with Lisbon’s foodies is contemporary and elegantly decorated with Portuguese tile panels. On arrival at the restaurant, we were greeted by the restaurant manager and an attentive team who took us through the special menu from the Azores created by Chef Eddy Melo whose talented cooking is all about celebrating regional and local flavours created with seasonal ingredients. We wanted to keep exploring more fish and seafood dishes and for starters enjoyed cod carpaccio, king prawns in an incredibly tasty consommé and the most delicious fish cake made with cod. For mains we had to try the world-famous Azores tuna, it’s even exported to Tokyo for its unique flavour. I had my tuna steak perfectly seared and my partner enjoyed grilled octopus. The fruity Verdelho white from Azores was a perfect pairing for the fish and seafood. We were treated to a nice surprise with our puddings. A glass of Carcavelos went perfectly with the local almond cake and a refreshing sorbet.

The hotel also has an inviting lounge bar, The Uptown Bar. It’s the perfect place for a nightcap to end your evening, or to enjoy an expertly mixed a cocktail before dinner, or at any time of the day.

What were the meeting and event spaces like?

The meetings and event spaces at the hotel are located on the lower ground and first floor. Despite the lower ground floor rooms lacking day light they were airy and light, and come in different sizes to suit meetings of all sizes as well as large dinners, awards ceremonies or conferences.

The hotel has 14 unique rooms with a capacity of up to 450 people. The first floor event rooms enjoy high ceilings and natural light. All the rooms have excellent soundproofing, high-tech audiovisual equipment, platforms for hybrid meetings and all the conditions to provide a tailor-made event.

Here is a summary of the meeting and event spaces:

  • 14 rooms with a capacity of up to 450
  • Ballroom with 360 sqm and 5m ceiling height
  • Lisbon’s highest ballroom ceiling in a hotel
  • Foyer with daylight and a capacity for up to 300 pax
  • 6 meeting rooms with daylight
  • Private area for group meals
  • High tech audiovisual equipment
  • Platforms for hybrid meetings
  • Portugal’s Leading Business Hotel award
  • Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence

You’ll find more hotel and restaurant reviews in our spring 2023 issue here.