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Palácio Ramalhete, located amongst the walkable, narrow streets in the old Lisbon neighborhood of Janelas Verdes, is a tranquil place decorated with little more than courtyards, views and sunlight, that and the occasional touch of geometrically patterned tile-work. The hotel’s name translates roughly to “palace of flowers,” but it’s anything but flowery — it’s a reference to a single depiction of sunflowers in a panel of tiles at the base of a stairway. The sunflowers have been nearly rubbed away by a couple centuries of footsteps, which is fitting enough anyway, as they were intended as the placeholder for a coat of arms that the original residents of the 18th-century palace never finished.
You can’t exactly call a place with a pool, a sun deck and a fully stocked bar monastic, but Palácio Ramalhete definitely has the feel of a sanctuary. Each of the twelve guest rooms is a little different, but most have varnished hardwood floors given character by their age, large sunny windows with views of the courtyards or the Tagus River, and decoratively (but sparsely) tiled walls. Accommodations such as the Chapel room, the top floor Attic and Museum rooms, the enormous Ramalhete Suite and the Fireplace room all follow more or less the same less-is-more design dictum, letting the eclectic layouts of the former residence speak for themselves. The Old Kitchen room and the Oak room are the most unique, the former a converted kitchen with a copper-fireplace-turned-sitting-area and pitted stone floors, the latter covered from walls to doors to floors in old oak.
Tranquility reigns at the hotel, but outside lies a neighborhood full of restaurants, bars and cafés. The Museum of Ancient Art is around the corner, too, housing an excellent collection of Portuguese art spanning the Middle Ages to the 19th century, as well as paintings by European masters. Of course, lounging in a sunny, red-and-white tiled courtyard at the center of an 18th-century palace makes a rather pleasant lesson in Lisbon’s cultural heritage, too.
- 12 Rooms
- Style: Traditional Elegance
- Atmosphere: Quiet
- Palacio Ramalhete Lisboa
- Rua das Janelas Verdes 92
- Lisbon, Portugal