Even compared to other European cities, Lisbon is a place where you can feel the history, from the cobblestones beneath your feet to the arches of the Carmo Convent, which decorate the skyline. It’s also a city that has constantly rebuilt itself over the centuries, dating back to at least 1755, when an earthquake ruined the aforementioned convent, along with most of Lisbon’s buildings.
That spirit of reinvention lives on at the Hotel Valverde. Central Lisbon’s only Relais & Châteaux property, located on tree-lined Avenida da Liberdade (Portugal’s answer to the Champs-Élysées), hasn’t faced seismic disaster, but after originally opening in 2014 it subsumed two surrounding buildings. The hotel subsequently entered a three-year renovation project, which included a closure of about 18 months.
Much to the delight of visitors to Lisbon, the Valverde reopened this past June. The design firm Bastir grafted together the buildings, including the original 1889 structure, almost seamlessly—the elevators have half-floor stops to help connect the buildings, a charming quirk. The room count increased from 25 to 48, and 10 of those new rooms have terraces that face the open-air pool deck, which is enclosed by a mash-up of extant walls and sleek black metal additions. Not to worry, though: The elements that made the first iteration so appealing—from the art- and book-lined walls to the many indoor and outdoor nooks and crannies—remain intact.
Also updated is the stylish restaurant, Sítio, which features a glass mosaic tiled floor, a ceiling lined with burel (a traditional fabric made from Portuguese wool), and an expansive patio. The menu from chef Carla Sousa boasts contemporary Portuguese dishes such as grilled veal tournedos and octopus with black garlic. For a nightcap, have a port at the bar or walk down the avenue to one of the neighborhood’s classic ginjinha spots for a cherry liqueur.
From $250, valverdehotel.com