Good hotel, nice area
Wasn't too sure what to expect, after having read mixed reviews on this website. However, thanks to this website and your reviews, I did choose this hotel.
Nice hotel in a quiet area, however, good value for money. My friend and I stayed here at the beginning of this month and we arrived on Friday at around 11am and they let us straight into our room. (Just like the picture posted on this site by traveller). It was very clean and spacious and everything was perfect. Views weren't great, but who stays in the room for the view. For us it was just a place to put our heads and get ready. Good choice breakfast wise, not what we are used to in England, the cooked breafast was a little different than ours, but when in Lisbon......
Loction wise, it was close to 2 metro stations which were on 2 different lines, so quite handy. Also very close to bus stops to get into the centre of town. Very accesable to everywhere and the taxis for our evening rides were dead cheap, compared to London.
Staff were friendly enough, it was a busy weekend, but they always found time to give us directions or call us cabs.
Pool on roof rather small, but good enough for what it is. After all there are lovely beaches to explore, but we stayed there for a couple of hours nursing our hangovers!
All in all, a good hotel, not bad location.
If you want a great value, clean rooms, a nice little restaurant , quiet evenings and a staff that speaks English, the Holiday Inn will work for you. Although somewhat distant from the thriving heart of Lisbon (although not nearly as far as the Marriott) it's a pleasant four block walk to major bus transfer points and just a bit farther to the subway. But the neighborhood is clean, safe, very walkable (although even here one must watch for dog droppings). The staff was polite and helpful, you could get a taxi at almost any time. The hotel bar and restaurant were adequate. We ate breakfast there and they had anice buffet. The restaurants in the area are somewhat limited. That didn't bother us as there were small grocers with wonderful breads, cheeses and fruit which made for great meals and very cheap. There are also fabulous pastry shops in the neighborhood.
Great for business travelers and folks on a budget. We booked direct with Holiday Inn and took a chance on the Euro conversion and it ended up being a little cheaper than booking through Hotels.com.
We got a room at the 9th floor - brand new or at least looked like new. We really didn't ask anything at the reception so I can't comment on this. I have seen people staying in supposed to be three stars hotel downtown and spend almost the same money for a bed-sit. Ok, the hotel is not in the city center but the underground is just a block away and a taxi to
the center costs less than 10euro.
Great Stay @ The Holiday Inn
Stayed at the hotel from August 26 - September 1. Booked online at Holiday Inn's website. Nice, spacious, clean rooms and big bathrooms. Hotel staff very nice and very helpful. Very good breakfast buffet. Small bar, but the food was good. Nice neighborhood, taxi's available at all times. Would stay again, especially for the price. Highly recommend this hotel.
Like many of the previous comments, my wife and I were quite happy with this hotel. The room we stayed in was well furnished, clean, and quiet. The front desk staff were great! Very helpful, frendly, professional, and spoke English. One employee, Tiago, was especially helpful by giving us advise on restaurants, tours, transportation, etc. He was so patient with us on our many requests. Many thanks to him for making our stay here so enjoyable. The hotel itself is not real close to the downtown/tourist areas but an easy taxi ride. The metro is close by but can be confusing if you're not used to this type of transportation. A very good value when compared with many of the more popular hotels. Would stay here again should we ever return.
1st CLASS HOTEL with 1st CLASS STAFF !!!
My experience with the 'HOLIDAY INN HOTEL' in Lisbon (Ave J. Almeida 28a) was super! (from Oct 4th - 6th)
We were like in a 5-star hotel; with high standard class, but where the satisfaction of the client came first place!
Already when we arrived at the hotel, our luggage was taken care of instantly. Cause I got a rented car to drop of somewhere in Lisbon(?) and also because I needed to find a petrol-station before doing so, I asked the desk where to go.
They called me a taxi and within minutes I was on my way. It took me 45 minutes to get back, but only cost me 9,5 euro and gained me at least a few hours. So I gave the taxi-driver 5 extra and he almost kissed me for it...
Meanwhile my wife and daughter were getting refreshed in there 'Quarters'.
Splendid rooms with plenty of comfort. All equipment such as; mini-bar, TV, airco and a luxious bathroom.
Breakfast was huge, delicious and everything was fresh!
A rich choice of bread, fruits, drinks, eggs, cheese, etc. ...
The service was impeccable and even very early in the morning the staff was at his very best.
Wherever in the hotel, the staff is there to help and to please there clients, If it is at the bar, or at check-in, the cleaning-people or porter...They were all perfect!
The hotel is only 10 minutes from the airport and also rather close to major tourist places; and even though subway is close, it is so easy (say: cheap) to take a taxi.
We wanted to write this review so that other people can experience the service of this superb hotel.
So if you look for a hotel in Lisbon: call +351 21 004 4000 and enjoy.
We also want to congratulate ALL staff from the Holiday Inn in Lisbon.
Fam. Desmet / Brugge / Belgium
10 Days in Portugal (continued, 2)
"...On the Road Again..."
The drive the next day can only be summed up as forgettable. It was long, and we chose to travel on the expensive “A” highways to arrive at our next destination in Elvas—just paces from the Spanish border, closer to the South end of the country than the North. Our only pit-stop before arriving at Elvas was in Evora, where we made the spur-of-the-moment decision (a good one) to see the Roman ruins in the city-center. Evora was a city we probably could have spent more time in if we’d had some. The walls that surrounded the city sequestered it into a neat maze of historical feeling urban streets… but without the overwhelming vibe of a larger city. We recruited a very friendly local woman to help steer us in the right direction, and we pulled off our brief stop without a hitch. This was a good thing as it was very late in the day when we finally rolled in to our hotel. That night, we stayed at a Pousada in Elvas (our only stay at one of these quaint, government-controlled residences in the country) where we had a delicious dinner (I had a golden codfish and fried shoe-string potato combination that I would like to find the recipe for) and then crashed. The day was simply too much travel for our liking. However, we had made the decision to see the entire country, and this was our day to travel across nearly all of the country. They were anticipated dues, you could say.
As we tried to leave Elvas for the Algarve the following morning, we were a bit frustrated at first. The road to Juromenha on the back-country, scenic route recommended by my uncle was blocked off. Despite having a compass with us, we simply couldn’t find our way back onto the road leading to Juromenha from any side-street. Roads just weren’t marked that well and we usually only regained our sense of direction at the occasional roundabout, especially in more remote cities like Elvas. I took a last-minute gamble that a foreign country could handle some Chicago-style driving and I decided to take matters into my own hands and simply plow right through the construction zone. Ironically, nobody seemed to care. What are a few barricades when nobody is looking? As we made our way south, we were glad to have taken the scenic route. We stopped only a couple of times—once in Juromenha to see the castle that is so remote you can actually drive right into its gates—and once to have lunch in Mertola where we did not get to see storks as we’d hoped to see (we were told there are lots of these birds in the south of the country). We did, however, see many strange nests at the top of power-line poles along the roads which we could only surmise belonged to storks, a strange breed of power-hungry vulture, or a very determined smaller bird. The storks were not out for show that day however. Sarah received her only uncomfortable “ogling” of the entire trip by a table of lunching male workers behind us… it was harmless though, and being in such a rural town I guessed that they probably didn’t see American beauty too often! Too bad for them.
"Searching for Sun & Cultural Convergence"
We finally hit the highway down in Castro Marim after finishing up the most scenic portion of our drive that day tracing the river bordering Spain, and from there we resumed our full-court press to get to our hotel on the infamous “A” highways of Portugal. We jokingly assumed that “A” stands for Autobahn judging from the speed people whizzed by us. Our small 1.4 liter engine simply didn’t have enough juice to ride in the left-lane that much. We didn’t mind though because even the right-lanes averaged a good 85 miles per hour.
The Algarve is the Portuguese equivalent of the Riviera. It is a continuation of the beaches that trace the Southern coast of Spain, and the further to the West that you go, the more rocky and cliff-prone the beaches get. We stayed in Carvoeiro, West of Albufeira and Faro, and our residence for those two days was several kilometers away from the actual coast. We did decide to venture down to the coast and there really wasn’t much in the way of sandy beach as far West as we were. One beach, labeled “Paradise Beach” must have been labeled by somebody who had lots of large boulders and stones in their version of paradise. There was hardly any sand to be seen. Still, we did not care much since we had rented a honeymoon suite at a place called the Casa Domilu. This was a very German feeling place, and a rather amusing Belgian fellow checked us in and showed us our room. He had a giggly, jumpy mannerism about him—though not in a bad way—just in an excessively friendly way, like an annoying puppy. As he showed us our room (which was extremely nice, though nice to the point of bordering on too much… or “cheesy” as we say), I joked about where they might be hiding some of the video cameras in the mirrored walls surrounding the circular mattress at the center of the main bedroom. Without missing a beat, he quipped back “oh no (giggle), the video camera is in the TV suspended in front of the bed”. I winced and did make an effort to turn the TV more towards the leather lazy-boy style chairs; though at no point did I think he was serious.
Dinner that night was quite interesting. It was too late to venture too far from the resort by the time we decided to explore for a restaurant, but we soon discovered a couple of decent looking close-to-home choices on roads not far from our residence. One place that looked like an outdoor Mexican restaurant caught our eye, and by the name of the place (“El Paso”) we guessed we’d found the type of food and venue we were after. We got a table for two, exited at the prospect of some chips and salsa… maybe a margarita. Instead what we got was a menu highlighting Southern German cuisine, as well as some flyers outlining the owner’s penchant for performing original country-western songs in karaoke fashion on-site every Tuesday night. This truly blew our minds, and as we further discovered that we were being served by said owner (with his basset hound lurking near our table I might add, chomping its lips in search of food), we realized that some parts of Europe must have such cultural convergence that our simple minds could not fathom it. A cantina called El Paso serving Southern German cuisine being run by a country-western singer who couldn’t speak a word of English! It was great. Clearly, the fellow had taken a wonderful vacation to Mexico somewhere in his past and said to himself “that is how my restaurant will look one day … no matter what kind of food I will serve.” We had kebabs, and they were actually pretty good (in a very strange Mexi-German way).
"Staying in Style, then Back to Lisbon"
The resort we stayed at was pretty incredible… our room, despite what I may have described to you so far, was filled with marble, glass, and was tasteful outside of the master bedroom. The bathroom was so lavish that Sarah thought it was the on-site spa’s bathroom and couldn’t possible be our bathroom when she saw a photo before we checked in. We were pleased to find out that it was, in fact, our room’s bathroom. Simple pleasures, right? We had saved a lot of our hotel funding from the trip to subsidize these next-to-last nights in Portugal and we were glad we did. Having a really nice room and a few pools to sit and relax by were a great way to help bring the Portuguese portion of our trip to an end. The breakfasts at the Casa Domilu were a big highlight of our stay there, and all-in-all, we felt very relaxed as we left for our last night in Lisbon.
We had not booked anywhere for our last night in the city prior to catching our flight out of Portugal the following morning, but we had a general sense that we wanted to go to the “Columbo” mall at the North end of the city. It is the largest shopping mall in all of Spain and Portugal we were told, and that held a certain magical appeal to Sarah. Some things hold true no matter what country you are in! Women love shops. We found convenient outdoor parking after working our way through a roundabout or two, and as we headed inside I was amused to see that nearly every other person was smoking a cigarette inside of the mall. You will recall my earlier bit about how Europe loves to smoke. We stopped in enough shops to realize that prices were probably proportional to the popularity of the largest mall in Spain and Portugal, and then we spent the balance of our time mailing our postcards off to friends so they would receive an authentic stamp before our departure, and marveling at the incredible food court at the mall. Never before had Kentucky Fried Chicken looked so out of place. We, of course, tried to stick to the more local fare and ordered some sandwiches with difficulty at a Portuguese franchise. I suppose saying #2 at Burger King would have been easier, but we were trying to savor our last moments in the country. On our way out of the mall, we stopped at an Internet café long enough to research hotels near the airport, and we booked a room at the Holiday Inn, Lisbon. This proved to be a smart move as we got a good rate and also upgraded upon dropping the honeymoon hint to the very kind employee at the reception of the hotel. The rack rate of our suite that night was 350 Euros but we got it for less than a fifth of that. Sometimes you get lucky I guess, and kind people don’t hurt either.
"A Last Hurrah on the Town"
We felt slightly more emboldened on our final night in Lisbon, having spent a full nine days exploring the entire country and getting used to the language, quirks of being in a foreign land, and accepting that we had to be very patient with ourselves and others. We hopped in a cab and directed the driver to the place we felt had the most nightlife from our previous stay in Lisbon (the Baixa area), and the cab driver proved to be a very interesting fellow. Speaking not a word of English, we were really only able to tell him our destination by pointing to the Hard Rock café on a tourist map that we had with us. Seeing us point to the Hard Rock seemed to disturb him deeply. He was polite enough to stop and allow an English-speaking fellow cab driver to translate for us, and again we asked for the Hard Rock area (it was a big icon on the map). The younger translator confirmed our destination, but we could tell our driver was still unsettled. We weren’t sure why, and as you might imagine, we didn’t like his puzzlement at a seemingly easy and common tourist destination.
As we pulled up near the Hard Rock, I motioned the end of the journey to our driver. But, he waved back to me that he was going to pull the cab a bit further into a side-street behind the Hard Rock. It wasn’t a big deal, but it wasn’t totally comfortable either. “There’s probably just a cab-stand up there he has to take us to” we concluded quietly in the back seat. Our host suddenly started speaking, but as you might imagine we understood very little. He was pointing to various buildings and counting numbers in order, from low to high. The highest number was spoken dramatically as he would wave his finger at the Hard Rock, and his tone seemed to turn irritated. Then, he would rub his fingers together in the universal symbol for money. It seemed that our driver was playing a rather odd game of charades with us. Appreciative for whatever his advice was (still unknown to us, though we signaled otherwise to bring an end to the strange guessing), and glad to be in our destination, we paid and tipped the gentleman quite well for whatever advice he was trying to give us.
"We Broke the Code"
We stepped out of the cab, quite glad to have finally arrived. On a whim, we decided to go in the direction of his happiest pointing (yes it was that evident), and so we headed further down the street that he had taken us onto. Suddenly everything clicked. As we rounded the corner, we were transported into an amazingly lively, charming outdoor area of restaurants. Loads of them, and they were all very busy and smelled great. Surprisingly, from most parts of the street near the Hard Rock Café, you could see none of this area. It was totally hidden behind the other buildings. Had we not taken the man’s advice, we would have been sitting in the most prevalent tourist trap in the world, eating a “Hendrix Burger” or something just as predictable. He’d been telling us to not get ripped off at the Hard Rock! What a good fellow. We were glad we tipped him, for sure. We wandered the many, many outdoor restaurants until we found a place serving the only dish I’d wanted to try but hadn’t been able to find in Portugal so far (chicken Piri-Piri, recommended to me by family who’d been to the country before), and we had a good dinner at a much more reasonable price than we’d have otherwise paid. It was a true indication that as with any place in the world, there are a few people who are there to help you and it’s just a matter of listening to the right advice. Or “charading” it. It was a great way to end our stay in the country, and we were glad that such a funny encounter could leave such a good taste of Lisbon with us, compared to our first visit.
At the end of our travels, we were very glad to have visited so many areas and to have seen so much of Portugal. It would have been impossible to have done as much as we did if we’d taken an organized tour, and we are relatively confident that we have so many other countries we’d like to see in our lives that we may very well never return to the country. However, there were enough great highlights of our trip that I think we are incredibly glad that we got to visit Portugal.