I have mixed feelings about the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel Lisbon.
The staff are welcoming and helpful, as I have come to expect in most hotels in Portugal. However, the design of the hotel is somewhat cold and uninviting. I found it hard to feel comfortable or relaxed in the environment in spite of the efforts and sincerity of the staff.
This is mainly due to the design of the interior and furnishings of the hotel. The hotel is quite proud of the design and furnishings. Renowned interior designer Andrade Silva converted the space, which was once a metal fabrication industrial space, into a first class hotel. The hotel originally opened as Fontana Park Hotel and became a DoubleTree by Hilton in 2013.
Hotels with a modern ambience can also be warm and inviting, such as the Hilton Madrid Airport. The modern design of the Hilton Fontana Park came off as dark and uncomfortable to me.
According to staff with whom I met, since becoming a Hilton Hotel their goal is to offer the ambience of a Portuguese hotel while providing the Hilton modern aesthetic. Feedback from guests has meant some changes, such as their current project of adding more lighting in the guest rooms. This project has not yet been completed on all floors of the hotel.
The hotel is a one mile walk to Marques de Pombal and Edward VII Park. You can walk to Rossio Square in just under 2.5 miles and Praca do Comerico (Commerce Square) on the waterfront is a little over three miles.
The Metro and the AeroBus Line 1 are easily accessed from the airport and take you within a few blocks of the hotel. You will want to get off at Saldanha stop for both. I suggest calling the hotel and asking for specific directions for walking from the stops to the hotel. I found that although I was less than four blocks from the hotel, the locals that I asked in a nearby restaurant and another hotel did not know where the Hilton Fontana was located.
I arrived at night. Walking into the lobby from the outside towards the check-in counter I was struck by how dark the space is. This is where I got my initial negative reaction to the hotel. The negative reaction was about the space and not about the service.
My check-in experience was smooth and the staff answered my questions about the area and transportation options to the long distance bus terminal, where I would be heading in two days. And, of course I received my warm chocolate chip cookie, the official greeting of DoubleTree by Hilton.
As a Hilton Honors Gold member, upon check-in I was upgraded to a King Deluxe room with private balcony.
I stepped off of the elevator on the 7th floor into an extremely dark hallway. Everything is painted black and there are no door frames around the doors to break up the space in any way. I felt like I was walking towards a room in solitary confinement!
This photo actually enhances the light and makes it appear lighter than it actually is.
Entering my room, I found it to be as dark as the rest of the hotel. Even with all of the lights on in the room I felt like I was in a cave. The actual design of the space is attractive although, like other areas of the hotel, not very comfortable.
There is no chair in the room other than the office chair. It was comfortable for an office chair, but not inviting for reading a book or reviewing paperwork. There is a long cement “bench” along one wall of the room. There are a few pillows on this bench arranged to indicate that it is a seating area. After sitting there for about 30 seconds I realized it would not provide a space to relax. If you have visitors meeting you in your room it would provide a place for them to sit while you finished getting ready to go out.
The mattress sits on a wood platform. Unlike many hotels that I have seen with this set up, instead of the mattress extending a few inches all around the platform, the platform extends a few inches all around the mattress making it nearly impossible to avoid banging your shin at least once a day!
The bathroom amenities included shampoo and conditioner, soap, comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, sewing kit and a shower cap. The bathtub is ultra modern with lights that change color as you are showering. However, the sides of the bathtub are so high that for someone under 5’2” there is really no safe way to get into the bathtub and utilize the shower!
The next morning in the light of day the room was more appealing, but not any more comfortable. The large terrace had a table and chairs and a nice view of Lisbon. It would be easier to access with a small stepstool in the room as you have to step up over about an 18 inch wall to get to the terrace.
Bar and Public Areas
The theme here is the same as the rest of the hotel, visually pleasing although dark with very uncomfortable seating. During the day this space fills with light in some areas where there are very large light tubes. As soon as the sun goes down it is once again dark and dreary.
The Saldanha Mar is the main dining area and is a welcome visual relief of almost totally white décor as opposed to black. It is open from 7am to 11pm. The buffet breakfast offers many choices, the food is good and the wait staff is plentiful and attentive. Breakfast is included for Hilton Gold members.
Lunch and dinner service features a Portuguese and Mediterranean menu. Their specialties are grilled fish and a Fontana burger served with Foie Gras and a steak sauce created by their chef.
Bonsai is open for dinner only 7pm to 11pm and features Sushi and Asian/Japanese fusion specialty dishes. The chef has created special sauces unique to Bonsai to make this restaurant unique from other Lisbon sushi restaurants.
The Fontana Bar Lounge serves a food and drink menu from 10am to 1am. A room service menu is also available.
There is a business center and access to fax, meeting rooms, audio/visual equipment rental, photo copying and a printer.
In addition to the standard services such as baggage storage and a concierge desk, the hotel also offers foreign currency exchange and a multi-lingual staff.
Accessible rooms are available upon request and the hotel has been thoughtful about access to all common areas and parking.
There are 139 rooms plus one deluxe suite available.
There is also a Fitness Room on the premises.
Points and Rates
I used 12,000 Hilton Honors points plus 37 Euros per night for my stay. Room rates range from 150 to 380 Euros per night depending on the room type and the season. It takes 30,000 Hilton Honors points per night for a standard double room.
For me, the ambience of the hotel public areas and the rooms is dark and the sitting areas uncomfortable. My reaction to the overall feel of the hotel is definitely a personal one. Others may have a different impression.
The Hilton Hotel Lisbon Fontana Park is well located for exploring the old city or for conducting business near the city center. The rooms are well appointed with comfortable beds. There are several options for food and drink on site as well as business services and a fitness room.
The amenities are all there. And, as mentioned before, the staff is well trained and go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable.