The view. The view, the view, the view. Oh and the croissant loaf.
Alfama is regarded as a desirable part of Lisbon, where all the wealthy used to hang. They abandoned the area to fisherman in the Middle Ages (they were scared of earthquakes), but sadly Alfama was one of the only parts of Lisbon to survive the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the city in 1755. Nowadays it’s a hilly warren of pretty churches and cafes. Head down one of the side alleys, past rows of floral granny pants drying in the sun, and you’ll find Memmo Alfama
, a converted 18th century factory, and now a chic boutique hotel overlooking the River Tagus.
If minimalism is your thing then this place is particularly dreamy: crisp lines, neutral fabrics and pale bleached wooden furniture. It’s very…white. Until you go to the loo and spot the canary yellow loo paper – a nod to the city’s famed No. 28 (yellow) tram.
The 42 bedrooms look out over a mind-blowing alfresco terrace, with views over the rooftops of the district. It’s one of the only hotels in the city to offer an outdoor pool, a bonus with this stellar view (sailors, church spires etc). Go on, have a dip.
Things I Liked
I think I’ll list them.
1) I always seem to say breakfast. But yes, breakfast. Especially the croissant loaf. Yes that’s right, a LOAF OF CROISSANT. It was hard to resist tipping snatching the whole thing from the buffet and running away with it. On the side there’s egg custard tarts galore, other breakfasty things like ham and cheese, and an honesty fridge for your drinks. I got involved.
2) The blissful mid-afternoon respite of that bed (I was feeling a little worse for wear). This place is *calm*.
3) That rooftop. “Memmo” translates to “memory”, and I won’t forget my time chilling here. At first I thought It was little bizarre, but the rotation of ships docking on the water down the hill from the hotel was fascinating. We took to googling each boat as it came in (no not sad, but interesting). We also loved lounging on the warm terrace like beached wales, drinking Sagres in the sun. In the evening the rooftop takes on a super chilled sultry vibe, the sorrowful notes of “fado” (Lisbon’s signature music) floating over the houses.
4) They offer free walking tours around the area each morning, handy for getting your bearings, because it is easy to get lost in the maze of tiny streets.
The not so hot
Sometimes all the white scared me. “What if I spill my red wine/coffee/port!!!” I fretted.
It’s a 15 minute walk from the centre of town or a €5 taxi. Taxis from the airport should be around €12.