Where is it?
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel is located in the Saldanha district of Lisbon, slightly north of the main city centre. The main city square in Lisbon, Praça do Comércio, is around 3 km from the hotel.
The nearest metro stations are Saldanha, which is less than a five-minute walk from the hotel, and Picoas, which is also a short walk away. If arriving by plane at Lisbon airport it is very easy to get to the hotel using the red line of the metro, which goes directly from the airport to Saldanha. The journey takes about 17 minutes.
The arrival experience
I took the metro from the airport to the hotel which was very straight-forward with no need to change train. Finding the hotel from the metro station required a map but was not particularly difficult, and not very far to walk either. You need to pass the large square Praça do Duque de Saldanha and then turn left on one of the side streets and you will then find the hotel on your left.
I arrived at the hotel around 12.30 and was not sure if they would allow me to check in, since the official check-in time is not until 2 pm, but that was not a problem. A very friendly young man checked me in who was apparently a trainee according to his name tag but he did a good job. I was also given a chocolate chip cookie.
The hotel has a rather unique design. Apparently it was previously used as a metallurgical factory during the 20th century and they have kept many details, both outdoor on the façade and inside, especially in the lobby on the ground floor.
The lobby was also rather interesting with a very contemporary design, several unusual design details and even with some bamboo trees. There is also a winter garden next to the lobby bar which also has a waterfall cascade.
I had booked a standard room and when checking in the receptionist asked me if I had special preferences regarding my room. I replied “high floor would be nice” and was given a room on the sixth floor, which apparently meant an upgrade to a superior room.
As far as I understand there is not much of a difference between standard rooms and superior rooms other than the view. The standard rooms are located on the first and second floors while the superior rooms are located higher up. Nevertheless I was happy with the upgrade since the view was rather pleasant, and the weather was beautiful.
There are also a number of other room categories available such as deluxe rooms with a private outdoor terrace, premium rooms (some with a nice view of the park) and family rooms.
The superior room measured 25 sqm and has a rather comfortable king-sized bed, a small work desk, a safe, closet and a minibar.
There was also what could best be described as something between a sofa and a storage area for luggage next to the TV. There were also two complimentary bottles of water on the bedside table and inside the closet there was a tray with a kettle to make coffee and tea. Since there was no power socket nearby you had to bring the tray with everything on it inside the room in order to use the kettle.
The design mostly followed the same design concept as in the public areas on the ground floor with different pastel colours such as green and grey and with the rest of the design in black and white. There was nothing whatsoever on the walls in the room with the exception of the TV, which gave the room a somewhat industrial feeling, but given the history of the building perhaps this was exactly the idea.
The bathroom had a similar modern design with a toilet and a bathtub. Interestingly there was a glass wall between the bathtub and the room but with no curtain to lower and no frosted glass, and with the same view in both directions through the glass. This would not matter much if taking a bath but when using the bathtub to take a shower you will be fairly visible for whoever is in the room.
No matter what you may thing about the design, which is definitely different from many other chain hotels, I personally found it rather nice. I usually enjoy something different and the both the lobby and the room gave a good first impression. Everything was clean and tidy and in an excellent condition. Also the view from the room was fairly pleasant overlooking the nice José Fontana square and park, which has also given the hotel its name.
Food and drinks
The hotel has a restaurant on the ground floor called Saldanha Mar focusing on Portuguese and Mediterranean food. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
There is also a lobby bar called Fontana Bar & Lounge serving drinks, cocktails and light snacks.
Music is generally played in the lobby bar in the evening and you can enjoy your drink in the winter garden if you prefer, which is right next to the bar.
Free internet is provided in the hotel, including in the rooms and the public areas. Well at least it is free when booking directly with Hilton.
There is a fitness centre open 24 hours and a conference section with seven meeting rooms of different sizes.
The service was friendly and attentive and the receptionist who checked me in even engaged in some small talk, which was very pleasant. I was also happy to be able to check in early.
The breakfast was served in the Saldanha Mar restaurant on the ground floor. Since I was leaving early I did not have time to have breakfast in the hotel.
A modern and very contemporary hotel with a design which surely stands out. Friendly staff, nice view from my room on the sixth floor overlooking the park but the location of the hotel is slightly far away from the main tourist areas.