Memmo Príncipe Real LisbonRegina Winkle-Bryan • April 4, 2017
The latest Memmo hotels property, Lisbon’s Príncipe Real, is named after the quiet neighborhood it inhabits—a place where leafy plazas abound and locals outnumber tourists. Set on the site of a former equestrian riding center, the new-build hotel acts as an extension of the renovated public square, offering expansive views of the town beyond.
Owner and hotelier Rodrigo Machaz asked Portuguese architect Samuel Torres de Carvalho—the man behind the Memmo Baleeira and Memmo Alfama—to develop the 41-room property, a sleek white rectangle that rises from a hillside clustered with whitewashed villas and terracotta rooftops. “From the beginning, the goal was to make a relevant and unique building that could stand out from the surrounding architecture and at the same time mingle with the buildings around it,” explains Torres de Carvalho. “The architecture is clearly determined by the location of the hotel, taking advantage of the incredible views over the city.”
Torres de Carvalho collaborated with designer João Corrêa Nunes on the sumptuous interiors that wink at tradition while staying decidedly contemporary. Some of these allusions are found in the hotel’s art, such as the plaster mural behind the reception desk created by artist Iva Viana, who used an Old World technique to produce plaster ceiling moldings, taking inspiration from Lisbon’s springtime jasmine blossoms and the Príncipe Real gardens.
A wall of windows leads away from the reception zone and offers expansive vistas, while windowless walls are wrapped in strips of vertical oak. The limestone floor in the lobby is covered in a rust-red carpet with a square pattern that recalls traditional tiles. “We always try to have Portuguese materials in our hotels,”explains Corrêa Nunes, noting that the public restrooms feature old Portuguese tiles from the antique shop next door.
The same oak wall paneling and rolling views also enhance the hotel’s restaurant, Cafe Colonial. Large red rugs that resemble castle-worthy tapestries span the floors, framed with custom silky lime green velvet sofas and black and gold Thonet chairs, which accent tables topped in black Portuguese marble.
Guestrooms feature a neutral palette of beige and sage green (seen in the carpeting) in addition to wood and light, raw flax fabric curtains. “We used neutral colors and simple, warm materials,” says Corrêa Nunes. Wood is very present in many room details, such as the headboards and the floors, and also the sliding door that divides the bedroom area from the bathroom, a sleek and luxurious space clad in sandy-hued limestone. In a nod to traditional Portuguese glassmaking, Corrêa Nunes hung honey-yellow glass lamps sourced locally from workshops in the coastal Portuguese village of Marinha Grande.