Porto Bay Liberdade is Lisbon’s newest fashionable hotel, a 5-star within Lisbon’s chic Liberdade neighborhood.
Inaugurated less than a year ago, officially opened on the 23rd of April 2015. Resulting from a 32 million euro reconversion project, the Porto Bay hotel joins 3 heritage buildings, within the shopping and boutique heart of Lisbon. The location is its biggest asset, but still keeping quiet from all the traffic and activity of the Avenida da Liberdade. So the idea of creating an urban resort came to life – to be able to provide a secluded and upscale environment for those who seek liberty from the stresses or their professional life but don’t want to travel so far away to do it.
Even though it is nestled deep in the city there is plenty of natural light reaching the rooms, with the great majority of them having a balcony.The big challenge of this project was to incorporate the old 18th-century building style and its façade with the modern and contemporary design. They managed to do it in a seemingly way.
Each floor has different theme connected with a particular Lisbon neighborhood, via photography, art, sculptures and paintings. They also gave priority to the small cosy and private spaces in disregard for the large social areas. Decoration elements from every part of the world, like pots from china, a full-size monastery door from Bali, …All of which reflecting the international traveller nature of the guests it’s aiming to attract.
Porto Bay Liberdade
One of the best parts is the overwhelming friendliness of the staff. From Adrianne from Guest Services who is originally from Madeira and who was responsible for taking care of my stay, to Victor the Restaurant Manager who taught me how to eat lapas without looking like an idiot. They are not called workers or staff they are dubbed “members of the Porto Bay family”. This says a lot about you as a hotel brand! And the reality is that I did not meet anyone within my stay who wasn’t just professionally courteous, they were all genuine friends and caring about my stay as a guest.
Porto Bay Liberdade Aromatherapy Spa
The interior decoration is modern, there is plenty of natural lights, the staff are the friendliest I have ever encountered, the food is exquisite, but I can personally guarantee you that the best thing about the Porto Bay Liberdade is its Aromatherapy Spa. Covering over 700 Sqm, it includes a vitality pool, steam room, sauna, experience showers, 4 massage rooms (2 of which are for two persons) and a relaxation room with a view overlooking the outside pool area.
Its philosophy of being an urban resort tied with its central location gave way to choosing sophisticated aromatherapy experiences which stimulate the senses, help to restore energy levels, calm and balance the body and mind. With a range of treatments created by the world-renowned essential oils brand – Aromatherapy Associates – it brings the best of the aromatherapy experience into a treatment that while being highly effective, is also luxurious and exceptional. They are the associated brand of the Spa at the Porto Bay Liberdade, providing not only the products but also the training and education of all the Spa members.
Patricia was my designated masseuse and a professional one I might add. She took her time to explain to me, why I was being offered an Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience followed by a Rose Infinity Facial. “These are both signature treatments from Aromatherapy Associates and they are the best way for your body to connect with Aromatherapy Massage for the first time”.
About the Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience
The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience is relaxing massage conceived to work with essential oils. These oils are chosen according to your state of mind and body via a simple questionnaire and small interview before the massage takes place. The “program” for this massage has its roots in the very first “modern” aromatherapy massage created about 30 years ago when aromatherapy became a part of the “massage schedule” of the western world.
Our nostrils are attached to a part of the brain called the limbic system. The limbic system controls emotions and influences the nervous system and hormones. When you inhale essential oil molecules, messages are transmitted to the limbic system and affect heart rate, stress level, blood pressure, breathing, memory, digestion, and the immune system. Besides this, essential oils are also believed to be absorbed through the skin. It differs from the “traditional” hotel spa massages in a way that it stimulates points in your body that will re-balance our central nervous system. It is specifically made to calm and the soothe the organism according to the needs identified by the person during its pre-massage consultation.
The oil book is of vital importance to the masseuse because of the nature of the oils used in aromatherapy. This is where I tick the boxes on the current status and needs. The moment is key in this situation, as your mindset today is different from yesterday and is necessarily different from tomorrow. Somedays we are tired and we need a revitalizing massage, other days we are over stressed and we need to calm down. It is according to these needs that the oils are going to be chosen.
After filling my “mood, body and mind status card”, Patricia showed me a selection of 3 oils, from which I would have to choose one for my massage. She didn’t describe her choices I would have to tell her which one I liked the most, just from my smell sensibility. I leaned towards a massage the inner strength body oil, which some women like to wear as perfume! Most prominently of which was Princess Diana! Needless to say that the massage room was quite, there were no interfering noises, the towels were fluffy and the temperature set at 22ºC. Patricia started from the head, all the way down to the toes, applying pressure in key points. Some of its movements reminded me ones done in the Ayurveda massages that I experienced in Kerala, India. I simply did not notice the 85 minutes of massage time, I was awakened by Patricia when she instructed me to lift my head: “It’s time for your facial Mr. Carvalheiro”.
About the Rose Infinity Facial
Because of my big beard, the Rose Infinity Facial had to be restricted to the upper cheeks, the eyes and the forehead. This unique facial harnesses the most advanced natural ingredients to reveal younger looking skin and a radiant complexion. Using advanced technology that works at a cellular level to repair ageing DNA, it radically increases moisture levels and stimulates collagen production. wrinkles and lines are plumped out for visibly smoother, youthful looking skin.
Feeling like a Princess in Zen after my Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience and my Rose Infinity Facial, I made my way to the Spa Recovery Room. With a jasmine tea in my hand, I let the after effects of the oils relax me until I fall asleep…Again…
The Bisto4 Restaurant
Having been already mesmerized by the quality if the food produced by Chef João Espirito Santo upon my last visit to the Bitro4 restaurant, I couldn’t help myself, and choose Portuguese Dry Aged Beef once again. On this occasion, the chef had a 35-day matured t-bone from the Portuguese Mirandesa breed. In one word: Exquisite! The way the meat and the fat fused together during the aging process left an incredibly tender and tasteful piece of meat.
For starter, I had Lapas, a traditional clam from Madeira, and a the second best dish at the Bistro4 after the Portuguese Dry Aged Beef. Victor, the Bistro4 restaurant manager, is a bonafide fisherman who had spent all his childhood diving for lapas off the rocky coast of southern Madeira. “It is not by accident that they are called Portuguese Oysters. They are meant to be eaten like oysters!” Not in the sense that you eat them raw (lapas are actually sauteed with garlic and sometimes herbs) but in the way that they must be showered with lemon juice and then swallowed in one go if you were eating an oyster.
The Deck7 Terrace Bar
Serving a James Bond version of the traditional Poncha from Madeira cocktail to guests enjoying the terrace jacuzzi, the Deck7 Terrace Bar is the Porto Bay Liberdade’s attempt to capture the attention of the fashionable new generation of Portuguese yuppies who are taking Lisbon by storm. The other main attraction is the after work cocktail, drank to celebrate the sundown over the Lisbon’s moneymaking skyline.
Tucked away in the corner of the Deck7 Terrace Bar is the Porto Bay Liberdade’s organic herb garden. Peppermint, sage, basil, thyme, coriander, tarragon are just some of the plants being grown, being regularly picked to dress dishes and cocktails. Kudos for the green initiative!
My take on the Porto Bay Liberdade Hotel
The fact is that the Porto Bay Hotels brand enjoys a staggering 92% average occupancy across all their properties. If this wasn’t impressive enough you might want to learn that over 30% of it is repeated business. These incredible numbers are a testimony of how good this brand is at conquering and retaining the confidence of its guests. The best thing about The Porto Bay Liberdade is that they are following through on their philosophy with this property, hence the key members of the “Porto bay family” coming from previously held positions in other hotels of the group, as a way to make sure that the “Porto Bay way of life” keeps impressing its guests.
I was a guest of the Porto Bay Liberdade hotel l during my stay in Lisbon. All text and opinions are my own.
Rates from 200€ per night (breakfast included) for the Deluxe room in which I stayed.
The Porto Bay Liberdade hotel details: