Sublime Lisboa, a dream hotel in the heart of the Amoreiras district
A couple of weeks ago, we visited Lisbon for the fifth time and the truth is we enjoyed it more than ever.
This city has a special kind of energy, that manages to slow our normal speed right down and manages to get us to focus on what truly matters. The truth is that few urban destinations have the ability to bring about this state of vital wellbeing and inner peace. That’s why the capital of Portugal has become one of our favourites.
Address: R. Marquês de Subserra 10, Lisboa (Portugal)
Additionally, on this occasion, we stayed at the Sublime Lisboa, a designer boutique hotel with very few rooms, that follows in the steps of its predecessor Sublime Comporta, a dreamlike resort located next to the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve, a setting that is home to a great variety of flora and fauna, as well as being home to the only population of resident dolphins in Portugal.
A building with more than a hundred years of history
Something we always take into account when we travel is that the hotel or accommodation that we stay in has something special. That means: an interesting concept, a different architectural or interior design project, an interesting location (and that doesn’t always mean it has to be in the centre of town) and/or good service (customer service, the atmosphere and lifestyle). In this case, we can tell you now, we hit the jackpot.
Sublime Lisboa is located close to one of Lisbon’s most privileged arteries, surrounded by historical monuments and buildings, magnificent gardens, museums, the Aqueduct… and the best part is that it is an old house dating back to 1913 that was transformed into a luxury boutique hotel a few months ago. It was built in the 20th century and … has over a hundred years’ legacy! In fact, among the different lives that this significant building has had, it was, until the beginning of the 1940s, home to the Japanese Club: a Japanese community that grew in the capital with the outbreak of the Second World War. Because during that time, Portugal remained neutral and was, therefore, considered a safe place. So, its majestic rooms provided refuge for several diplomats, businessmen, servicemen and even intelligence agents sent from Tokyo.
Similarly, at the end of the 1970s, Lisbon caught the eye of members of the international jet set such as Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Aga Khan, Agnellis and Diane Von Fürstenberg, and it was also here where they would gather to attend the most dazzling parties held by the Portuguese high society.
Also, during this period, the “O Candelabro” restaurant, that was part of the building and owned by the iconic Simone de Oliveira, was frequented by the artist Ary dos Santos, the “poet of the revolution”, by the opponents of the regime and by the wealthy bohemia of the Portuguese capital. Incredible, right?
More recently, and just before it became Sublime Lisboa, the building was the Costa Lopes Arquitetos studio, one of the largest architecture studios in the country, with many outstanding buildings in Africa.
As you can see in the photographs, all the key elements of its idiosyncrasy have been maintained: from its original façade with large windows to its very high ceilings, the boiseries, the stucco, as well as the emblematic staircase that leads to the majestic guest rooms.
“Sublime Lisboa has fully respected history, preserving the whole essence of this amazing building.”
Fifteen rooms and suites decorated with great taste
Sublime Lisboa only has fifteen rooms and suites in total. Each one with a different decor and its own identity. However, what most drew our attention was its extraordinary interior design that stands out thanks to a daring and completely unexpected use of colour based on a meticulous study of Feng Shui. Any one of the rooms will surprise you, as its striking walls are covered in arty wallpaper by the brand Jupiter 10, which combined with their exquisite pieces of furniture create an intriguing space, sophisticated yet also cool and very sexy. And that is not an easy balance to achieve.
Of course, all of this in addition to the endless number of details encompassing works of art, their own top-quality amenities, lamps by Jaime Hayón, beautiful hydraulic floor tiles in the bathrooms, bursts of light in all the rooms and beds that are hard to forget, that make your stay unforgettable.
An atmosphere and service without comparison, that make you feel better than in your own home.
All the staff at Sublime Lisboa are lovely and their manner exceeds any expectations. You can tell they are honest and that they are happy to be a part of this project. There is a wonderful atmosphere, and the best thing is they are all very attentive, kind and very professional. Although not at all like the servility that can be felt in other hotels of the same category that feels really uncomfortable and unnecessary.
Another important point is that the reception staff know the city to perfection and as well as advising you according to what you’re looking for, they can recommend exclusive experiences to fit your needs.
There is 24-hour service, and it is always a pleasure to chat to them and exchange ideas and hotspots in this city, that we are so in love with.
Davvero, the best Italian restaurant in Lisbon
To all the attributes this boutique hotel has, we have to add the fact that it has Davvero, the best Italian restaurant in Lisbon, with the great Chef Isaac Kumi at the helm, who has travelled around the globe opening Cipriani restaurants, under the vision of Executive Chef Hélio Gonçalves, who in turn is the Sublime Group’s chef.
“Chef Isaac Kumi serves the authentic taste of Italy with the help of Portuguese ingredients.”
We can tell you now that all his pasta recipes are something else. But his Cacio e Pepe spaghetti dish is simply superlative. It is prepared with Gragnano Spaghettoni, pecorino cheese (from Italy) and ground black pepper. Mmm… We fell for that temptation twice during our stay!
From the menu, we would also highlight the Mediterranean bites such as the rice and pea croquettes with mozzarella; the tuna tartar with avocado cream; the grilled salmon with broccoli mix and salmon roe or the breaded chops. And when it comes to desserts, we can assure you that they have the best pana cotta you have ever tasted. It is prepared by their master patissier, Mauro Abignente, and it is an absolute delight!
Inevitably, they rely on an excellent wine menu, which includes their Wine Collection, and that ranges from sparkling wine, white wine such as the Sublime Reserva Particular Branco, rosé wine, red wine and Moscatel wine. They also produce their own gin with botanical products from the organic vegetable garden that the group has at Sublime Comporta; and they have their own olive oil – Sublime Vintage 2017 -, which they use to elaborate many of their dishes.
“We believe in the simplicity of a recipe and the excellence of ingredients to achieve sublime flavours.”
Davvero – a word that in Italian refers to authenticity – has direct access to the street, so you don’t have to go through the hotel and also to be able to attract the Lisbon public. Since its opening some months ago, it has already become a temple for good food lovers, that wish to enjoy a sophisticated, cosmopolitan and very cosy atmosphere clearly reminiscent of Chicago or New York bistros.
Incidentally, don’t miss the bathrooms… They are presided over by a striking photograph and beautiful tiles. We warn you it is inevitable to immortalize your moment there…
A great connection to art
Another important aspect of Sublime Lisboa is its strong connection to art. Hence explaining why every corner has amazing works of art. From the photographs by Manel Correia or Miguel Vallinas, to a contemporary art sculpture by the acclaimed artist Rui Chaves, that is in one of the courtyards of the hotel, or the crazy collages by Alma Mollemans, which we loved.
As if this were not enough, both the rooms and the common areas are full of books on art, films, travelling, design, architecture, photography and gastronomy. They have very interesting special editions.
Among the different activities that the hotel organizes, we have the Sublime Food&Cinema experiences. They will take place in the last quarter of the year and they consist of special sessions where cinema and the best gastronomy will go hand in hand.
How? Through the projection of a series of selected classic films which will be enjoyed in the attic of the library and later followed by an incredible dinner at the Davvero restaurant with dishes inspired in the different feature films.
This is the program:
– 12th October: “La Dolce Vita” by Federico Fellini.
– 9th November: “One of Us ” by Martin Scorsese.
– 7th December: “Under the Tuscan Sun” by Audrey Wells.
To attend, you need to contact the hotel directly.
Interview with Gonçalo Pessoa, owner of the Sublime Group
With the aim of getting to know this project more in depth, we chatted with Gonçalo Pessoa, owner of the SublimeGroup and the creator of the concept behind both of these hotels, as well as being the art curator and the person responsible for a good deal of the interior design.
When did you decide to transform your home in Comporta into a resort?
Around 2011. When we were starting to build our summer home, we realized that there was an opportunity to turn it into a small boutique hotel as Comporta was already starting to attract many international travelers who didn’t have an appropriate place to stay…
For many years, you were a pilot with TAP Portugal. When, how and why did you decide to take this turn in your career and devote your time to creating hotels that also offer extraordinary experiences?
I had the privilege of being an airline pilot for TAP Portugal for 20 years…
For some years, I managed to combine both jobs at the same time but last year, I gave up the airline and decided to focus 100% on the hotel business. I don’t regret it, although I do sometimes miss flying and the opportunity to travel frequently to discover new places…
What are your main sources of inspiration and influences in art and design?
My biggest inspiration with regards to hotel accommodation is the AMAN Resorts chain. I am also passionate about architecture and design, I pay special attention to the work of some of my favourite masters such as: Jean-Michel Gathy, Kerry Hill, Ed Tuttle, Lázaro Rosa Violan, Studio KO, Vincent Van Duysen, etc…
Sublime Lisboa is an extraordinary project. How did you discover this beautiful building?
Before being Sublime Lisboa, this building already housed another smaller boutique hotel called “Casa Fortunato”, that belonged to some friends.
We got the chance to take it over and respect the original project but updating it to five-star hotel standards.
What would you say Sublime Lisboa and Sublime Comporta have in common?
They both have a sense of belonging…At Sublime Comporta you feel absorbed by nature, the architecture and the decoration, that reflects the boho chic style of the region. And Sublime Lisboa is cosmopolitan and vibrant, as a great urban capital should be. They both share profound attention to detail regarding design and service.
Who is the architect/ interior designer of the common spaces and the decor in the rooms?
Our beloved friend and architect Rita Andringa from Andringa Studio, who has been working with us on several projects such as Sublime Comporta Beach Club and Sublime Comporta Villas.
“Sublime Lisboa is a real mix! It is a hotel that is cosmopolitan, traditional, unexpected, fun, classic, elegant and full of details. It exudes discovery, intrigue and surprise. Exactly as life should be!”
Art is also very present in this hotel, as it is in Sublime Comporta. Did you take care of all the artwork? And in that case, where did this passion originate?
At Sublime Lisboa, my business partner Antonio Gellweiler, art lover and collector, helped me to choose the majority of the photographs and sculptures. Rita also helped me choose the rest of art and the objects.
What can you tell us about the artists that are present on the walls and in every corner of Sublime Lisboa?
We are lucky enough to exhibit some fantastic photos by our beloved friend Manuel Correia and an incredible sculpture by Rui Chafes, kindly loaned to us by the Filomena Soares gallery.
We know that the hotel compiles many decorative objects that come from the many trips you take. What can you tell us about that?
One of the advantages of having been an airline pilot was to travel frequently and to look for many interesting objects that, once brought together, tell many stories… And great hospitality is achieved by telling a story, informing our guests about where we come from and making them feel welcome.
Also, the detail is another of your distinguishing values. The aroma of the hotel as well as the amenities, the wine, the liquors or the olive oil, to name but a few, are of your own creation. Do you work with local suppliers?
We work with great partners to create our own products. Some are local to Comporta and others come from other Portuguese regions. Our amenities and fragrances are 100% biological and are produced by “Oliófora” with our own citric and lemongrass aroma. Our wines and olive oil are customised by “Brejinho da Costa” following the instructions provided by our sommelier.
The service provided by your staff is another of the strengths of this hotel. Not only are they courteous but they make you feel immediately at home. What would you highlight about your team?
We are proud to have the best teams working for Sublime Comporta and Sublime Lisboa. It is honestly our biggest strength. I would highlight their warm welcome, their attention to detail and their willingness to go the extra mile to satisfy the wishes of our clients.
What does Lisboa do with regards to sustainability?
Being a city hotel, it is not as obvious and we cannot go as far as we do in Comporta, but we adopt all the possible measures related to good environmental practices, such as the reduction of waste, energy saving measures, reduction of water consumption, local sourcing, etc. In addition to these examples, sustainability for us also has a social aspect. That’s why at Sublime Lisboa, we adopt a culture of maintaining and improving social quality with concepts such as fair wages, cohesion, reciprocity, honesty and the importance of our relationships among our personnel.
Davvero is an excellent Italian restaurant led by Isaac Kumi. How did the idea of creating a restaurant of these characteristics in Lisbon come about? What is your favourite dish?
I have always loved the Cipriani’s and Cecconi’s restaurants all over the world and that’s where the inspiration comes from. The idea was to create an authentic Italian restaurant, with old school service and great food based on simplicity and on the quality of each ingredient. Isaac Kumi is doing a fantastic job and I never get tired of eating Spaghetti Vongole…
What does Sublime Lisboa mean to you?
“Sublime Lisboa is the first inauguration outside Comporta, it represents the first milestone in the plans for expanding our brand.”
It also has special meaning as I was born and raised here, and I always wanted to have a hotel close to home…
What are your future plans with regards to new inaugurations?
We are in the process of establishing an association to develop the most incredible hotel in the Duero region, the opening of which is planned for 2025/2026…
We will say no more, and as we always advise, it’s best to experience it for yourselves. Sublime Lisboa has it all and we are dying to go back and relive the experience.
(*) Photos by Ely Sánchez and Cecilia Camacho.