How well do you know Lisbon?


Michelle Chenery reports on the city’s multi-faceted MICE facilities

It is easy to see why ICCA has rated Lisbon as one of the world’s Top Ten Destinations for international meetings and congresses. Portugal’s capital has advantages in every aspect that is taken into account by organisers of large events. It boasts an average of over 290 days of sunshine a year, with temperature lows of 17degC and highs of 27degC. It can be reached within one to three hours on flights from the main cities of Europe, whilst a 5- to 8-hour flight gets you there from the most important centres of North America, as it is served through direct flights by so many of the major airlines.

No wonder more and more events are being booked in Lisbon as organisers switch from the growing number of troubled destinations. ITCM, hosted by the Lisbon Convention Bureau, went on a recce of a selection of the main hotels events venues and was impressed by the wide choice to suit every requirement and all budgets.

Hotel TRYP Lisboa Aeroporto
Our inspections began as soon as we landed and had passed through immigration. Located immediately alongside Terminal One is the Hotel TRYP Lisboa Aeroporto. This 4-star hotel has 168 rooms, including a presidential suite. Each room has been recently refurbished to be modern and functional, all with an airport and travel theme. This is carried through to the lobby, where the carpet leading guests to the reception is in the form of a runway. Free Wi-Fi is everywhere in the hotel.

There are 20 meetings and event spaces, able to cater for boardroom meetings of 6 people up to 350 for cocktail parties. All have natural daylight and are equipped with projection and sound systems.

The restaurant can seat 180. Breakfast offers a choice of hot or cold buffet and the lunch and dinner cuisine consists of local specialities and international dishes. There is a separate room that can host up to 24 for private dining.

Lutecia Smart Design Hotel
A short trip further into the heart of Lisbon brought us to the Lutecia Smart Design Hotel. This 4-star property is family-owned and was totally renovated in 2014. There are 175 rooms over eight floors, with each floor designed to a different theme.

On the Disco Floor the entrances to the lifts are adorned with small disco balls and mirrors, golden and black shades and funky light shades. The Kiss Me Floor is all red and white, whereas the White Space Floor features, of course, white. Other themes are Funky, Rising Sun, Sunflower and Aqua Garden.

During the visit ITCM stayed at the Sheraton Lisboa Hotel and Spa and the Inspira Santa Marta,
click on the links to read full reports on both hotels.

There are 72 City Design rooms, all with large windows and panoramic views of the city. The 87 Premium Design rooms are a spacious 22 to 25sqm and have a large balcony, espresso coffee machine, smart LED TV, mini-bar and free Wi-Fi. There are 12 large Executive Rooms and the four themed suites, each of 50sqm, have a private balcony and a bathroom with a Jacuzzi.

The Lutecia has five function rooms that can host up to 350 for cocktails and 120 theatre-styles. The hotel’s IN FUSION restaurant seats 120 and serves Northern Indian dishes as well as traditional cuisine from a Portuguese menu.

Skyna Hotel Lisboa
A new arrival on the city’s hotel scene is the Skyna Hotel Lisboa.

This was opened in 2015 right in the heart of the capital, between Parque Eduardo VII and Amoreiras. It has just 105 rooms and is 100% non-smoking. There are five Master Suites with private balconies that give attractive views over Lisbon. It is particularly suitable for business visitors, with dedicated working areas in all the guestrooms and free Wi-Fi.

The UQ Restaurant is on the ground floor with a wide choice of Mediterranean dishes. On the 6th floor is the Vicius Lounge Bar, able to cater for up to 120 cocktail style, with interior seating for up to 27 and 41 outdoors. The Bwana bar on the ground floor can seat up to 40 and offers guest a wide array of food options, as well as afternoon tea. The hotel has 75sqm of events space, divisible into two separate rooms.

Hotel Palacio do Governador
This interesting property was formerly the residence of the Governor of the Tower of Belem and is therefore located in the centre of Belem. As you walk across a glass bridge into the courtyard in order to enter the hotel, it is even possible to see relics of the Roman building that stood there originally.

The whole palatial building has been exquisitely restored. The reception was once a chapel and the original walls and tiles have been preserved. The restaurant boasts the original brickwork domes and even in the guestrooms you can admire the 17thC panelled ceilings. The new Spa showcases Roman walls from the 1st to the 5th C.

The hotel has 60 rooms in categories of Deluxe, Club, Mansard, Junior Suites, Studio Suites, an Infanta Suite, a Princess Suite and a Governor’s Suite. Each category is unique in design and decor and there is free Wi-Fi throughout. Toiletries are Molton Brown and Nespresso machines are an attractive amenity.

The Amphora Restaurant features Chef André Lanca Cordeiros’ signature cuisine of authentic flavours. It can seat up to 80 inside and a further 60 on the terrace. A private dining room is also available to cater for up to 18 people. Under the courtyard the 1,200sqm Spa has a 25-metre indoor heated swimming pool, with dynamic jets and chromotherapy, a sauna, Turkish bath, three treatment rooms and a gym.

A varied selection of multifunctional rooms is available for either meetings or banquets. The more modern cater for up to 120 and the more historical for a maximum of 100. There is underground private parking for up to 130 cars.

Altis Grand Hotel
This 5- star property, formerly known as Hotel Altis, sees itself as a symbol of genuine Portuguese hospitality. It is a great base from which to explore Portugal’s capital city as it is close to the Avenida Liberdade and the most picturesque districts. It has stood in this prime location since 1973 and has recently upgraded its name in keeping with a major remodelling of guestrooms, function rooms and all public spaces over a 3-year period, completed in 2014.

The hotel has 300 rooms (11 suites), 20 meetings rooms, two restaurants, three bars and a Spa. The 83 superior rooms on the lower floors have views over the city and the inner patio, offering a sophisticated and elegant ambience with stainless steel and ebony furniture. The148 Deluxe rooms are on the higher floors and have a full HD LCD TV integrated into a Smart Mirror, as well as a Nespresso coffee machine and pillow menu. On the 10th and 11th floors are the 58 Premier Deluxe rooms, offering guests access to the business lounge and transfer on arrival from Lisbon airport. They also provide a GStress 30-minute massage and an unpacking and packing service.

The Grill D. Fernando at the very top of the hotel has a capacity for up to 150 seated or 500 for a cocktail reception. Diners can enjoy genuine Portuguese cuisine and choose from a carefully selected wine list. The Rendezvous Coffee shop features creative cuisine, suited for lighter meals in a more relaxed and casual atmosphere. The 20 multifunctional meetings rooms are able to host from 8 to 750 people, most with natural daylight. The Rio de Janeiro room is able to cater for up to 750 theatre -style or 450 at a banquet. More intimate meetings from 6 to12 people can be hosted in the Timor and Business II rooms.

Special venues and event spaces
In addition to the wide range of hotels, of which the above is only a small selection, Lisbon offers many different types of special venues to suit the requirements of event organisers.

Pateo Alfacinha was created back in 1981 by Vitor Seijo a man passionate about Lisbon. He spent 30 years creating a unique space within the city where typical residential areas, noble zones and traditional trades were merged to form a multi-faceted space. A traditional barber shop, chapel, bakery, pub and family houses have all been made available to hold events. The wood-fired oven in the bakery is ready for use and the traditional pub only needs some drinks placed in it. All of these buildings are linked together through a central courtyard, where stalls can be set up and from which you can visit restaurants as well as other rooms for events. The main rooms for larger groups are the Pateo Salon and the congress hall. Pateo Alfacinha is able to cater for up to 1,000 guests.

Torreão Nascente, on the eastern side of Terreiro do Paço square, was the Lisbon Stock Exchange until 1941. Measuring 430sqm, it is capable of hosting up to 300 people for cocktails and up to 150 for a banquet. It is ideal for exhibitions to be set up with a decor of domed ceilings, Portuguese limestone floor and thick marble pillars.

Chef José Cordeiro opened his first restaurant here. He has been awarded several Michelin stars throughout his career and diners here can delight in traditional Portuguese dishes with a modern twist. It seats up to 140 on the terrace and just over 100 in the main area indoors.

MEO Arena in the Nations Park was originally the Atlantic Pavilion at the 1998 World Expo. It is a versatile venue that can host a wide variety of events. It can be taken over as a single space or divided into three separate function areas. As a whole, as many as 20,000 people can be accommodated. There is truck access via a tunnel that was built to facilitate the speed of stage assembly and dismantling. The venue is equipped with dressing rooms, technical and theatre fittings and equipment, shower and locker rooms and underground parking.

The Tejo hall lying just across from the Arena hall can be accessed via a private entrance, measures 2,200sqm and has an average ceiling height of 12m. MEO Arena’s Business Centre can be used as 11 separate rooms or joined together to create a 600sqm open space. The Moche room is ideal for hosting meetings of up to 50 delegates and is fully equipped with air-con, blackout facilities and cloakroom.

The Nations Park itself is a vibrant area which encompasses an Oceanarium, a cable car that follows the edge of the Tejo estuary and takes you from one end of the park to the other, a Discovery museum, Lisbon’s Casino and a vast shopping centre - plus a host of other attractions. At night there is a lively nightlife in a strip of restaurants and bars.

Culturgest is in the building that houses the head offices of Caixa Geral de Depósitos. The larger of two auditoria is an Italian-style able to seat up to 612 delegates, whilst the smaller can cater for up to 145. They are equipped with translation booths, film and video projection equipment, plasma screens and sound system with conference microphones and wireless microphones. There are a further three meeting rooms available of varying sizes, able to cater for from 18 theatre-style up to 100 cocktail style. The three foyers can also be utilised for exhibitions and catering services.

Leisure itinerary
Lisbon can conjure up all kinds of itineraries for leisure or incentive programmes. Eco Tuk Tours offers gastronomic tours or a fascinating Lisbon and the River itinerary that follows the traditional route of the Number 28 tram with stop-offs along the way. Then there are The Belvederes, Old Town Lisbon and an à la carte tour where the organisers tell the company where they want to go and it arranges it all. The drivers act as guides and provide highlights of information about all of the sites that you see en route.
You travel on tuk-tuks that are electrically powered, so you don’t need to worry about contributing to CO2 emissions.

WaterX is a Lisbon company that specialises in events, tours and team-building on water. It has a large fleet of sailing yachts and can provide motor yachts and fishing boats.
They also have a catamaran Seagull capable of carrying up to 145 passengers, as well as WaterX Vintage, a classical line yacht that is able to host up to 40 and the WaterX Shuttle for up to 60.
Groups can also take part in exciting gala racing, the delegates manning the sails, or they can enjoy a leisurely cruise in a catamaran up the River Tagus and along the coast to Cascais. Alternatively, a group can be kitted out with lifejackets and whizzed along the river in order to see the main attractions of Lisbon from a very distinctive and memorable viewpoint.

For further information contact
Lisbon Convention Bureau
Tel: +351 210 312 700
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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