After World War II, Portuguese Prime Minister Salazar established a prestigious hotel in Lisbon and appointed Queiroz Pereira to direct the luxury project, dedicated to promoting and preserving Portuguese art and culture. The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon’s classic, mid-century Modernist structure — enhanced by more than 400,000 square feet of rare marble — achieved that vision.
French interior designer Henri Samuel created a sense of place by mixing straight-legged Louis XVI style with Art Deco pizazz and showcasing art from a cadre of local luminaries, including the notable Portuguese artist José Almada Negreiros. In 1956, Almada was commissioned to make a trilogy of handmade Centauros tapestries — the eye-catching backdrop of the lobby lounge named for the artist.
Since 1997, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts managed the property, where park-facing rooms and the Varanda Restaurant overlook the lush Edward VII park.
I had lunch there on my first visit to Lisbon in November 2016. Even before I learned about Executive Chef Pascal Meynard’s gastro-local policy, it was evident Portuguese produce and products, including sea salt and olive oil, accessorized the dishes. I became an immediate fan of his simple, elegant fare and couldn’t wait to return for dinner in May.
Before dinner, I enjoyed Perrier Jouet served in a slim, engraved Champagne glass and enjoyed the posh, timeless setting, with its zebra-striped and studded leather chairs, mahogany bookcases and window walls leading to the terrace.
Brito, the maître d’, welcomed me to the Varanda — a traditional room with coffered ceilings, huge chandeliers, and amazing floral displays. I chose the four-course Signature Menu, which included eight choices, during which Sommelier Gabriela Marques chose wines, including prominent local samples and Port from the hotel’s 300-bottle selection.
Dinner began with an inspired two-bite snack, which arrived on a wooden plank; an amuse-bouche of a delectable raw clam on a half-shell atop a bed of sea salt; and a bread course with chorizo butter and herbed lemon butter. An artfully presented prawn centered a plate accompanied by white asparagus, crispy tomato bits and a pesto drizzle. Foie gras and black truffle sauce topped the Irish beef a la ficelleentrée, and the pre-dessert, dessert and après-dessert mignardises were handcrafted by Chef Patissier Fabian Nguyen.
I also experienced an exceptional facial in the subterranean spa, which boasts a light-filled indoor pool and access to an outdoor terrace and park views.
Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon offers a variety of special services, including a popular Sunday brunch, a tea inspired by Almada, a street art tour and a day-long excursion to Sintra, which sits atop a pine-studded hillside.
Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon
Rodrigo da Fonseca 88
tel 351 21 381 1400
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