Corpo Santo – The Chic, Historical Hotel in Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré

Lisbon never ceases to captivate, with its brilliant Atlantic light; the charm of its historic neighbourhoods; and the contemporary vibrancy with which the Portuguese capital overflows, writes Andrew Forbes.

Yet, now, I have one more reason to return to one of my favourite European cities. To stay again at the award-winning Corpo Santo, a boutique historic hotel that has swiftly set a new standard in personalised service for visitors to Lisbon.

Corpo Santo facade

This historic property built, literally on the foundations of medieval Lisbon, dating to the 14th century, is home to a contemporary guest experience – and one where you get free ice cream too, so what’s not to love?!

Hip Location

Cais do Sodré district, is part of Lisbon’s central waterside area, and where one finds the Corpo Santo Historic Hotel. It’s a stone’s throw from the mighty Tagus river delta, and close to a myriad of interesting bars and restaurants that line the surrounding neighbourhood streets.

“…Found within the cool Cais do Sodré district…”

Take a five minute walk west and you’ll reach the fascinating and lively Mercado da Ribeira (as well as the delicious selection of street food stands of the adjacent Time Out Market, many by Michelin star chefs).

Head for the east and in a few short minutes you will be standing within the iconic Praça do Comércio square surrounded by elegant period architecture.

Corpo Santo Hotel is a place that starts to feel like home pretty quickly. The team led by General Manager Pedro Pinto and Front Office Manager Nuno Pereira embrace you with genuine Portuguese hospitality – refined with the kind of intuitive personalised service that makes this property really stand out.

“…intuitive personalised service…”

The weather during my late summer visit was exceptional, and I spontaneously decided to head for the broad Atlantic beaches of Costa da Caparica, a 15 minute drive from the hotel. The valet brought the car to the hotel entrance, and there in the boot was a picnic basket filled with fresh fruit, and mini sandwiches – the kind of thoughtful gesture that for me truly defines luxury hospitality.

It’s a reflection of the quality of the dedicated Guest Service team promises to make each hotel stay unique and memorable. They’ll recommend original city experiences, like taking a Sunset Yacht Cruise, or a city walking tour. They will also help you navigate to the best the city has to offer, from contemporary cultural attractions, little known independent boutiques, and memorable restaurants.

Built on History

My stay at Corpo Santo gave me a different perspective of Lisbon. In no small part because the hotel itself is a part of the rich fabric of the Portuguese capital’s story. Whilst excavating for a basement parking and spa treatment room, the builders made upon a remarkable discovery. They had unearthed part of the original medieval sea walls of Lisbon! These dated from before the devasting earthquake and tsunami of 1755.

The walls, and the archaeological discoveries have been preserved in the captivating Reading & Living Room on the hotel’s lower level. Here through creative interior design and beautiful lighting, a calming space has been created where guests can relax, read, or enjoy afternoon tea, whilst being surrounded by Lisbon’s history from the 14th century to the present day.

Dining & Drinking

On the ground floor one finds the Porter Bistrô Restaurant, named after the 18th century English beer, which was also produced in the neighboured, in Largo do Corpo Santo.

The restaurant has an elegant and more formal mezzanine level, as well as an informal lower level and also a street terrace too. This is where one can enjoy breakfast until 11am.

Then the kitchen stays open for all day dining with tempting dishes like prawn and lime risotto, and contemporary interpretations of classic cod dishes like Bacalhau á Bras.

Porter Bistrô Restaurant

If you enjoy wine, then you’ll appreciate the suggestions from wine waiter Andre. I was introduced to some superb wines, by the glass, that showcases the modern sophistication and personality of Portuguese wines.

Whilst I’m on the subject of drinks, my recommendation is to start your evening with a cocktail prepared by Weslen at 146 Bar.

The team, led by F&B Manager Roberto Olvera, is super friendly and very attentive – here at Corpo Santo the personal approach is particularly important. In fact, in the menu each team member has a short biography, so you get a snapshot of who they are – it’s a great way to emphasises the importance of these personal connections in hospitality.

Snacks & Treats

Also, throughout the day guests can find complimentary snacks in reception, like individually wrapped nuts, fruit, and candy as well as mineral water.

Also, Corpo Santo has its own artisan ice cream parlour, so guests can pop by for a free ice cream treat!

Guest Rooms & Suites

Corpo Santo’s 67 rooms and 8 suites have calming, classic interiors by  acclaimed designers Branco sobre Branco interior studio – the aesthetic is elegant, marrying the historic building with modern day comforts and amenities.

“…the suite was flooded with light…”

I just adored my junior suite. Lots of wardrobe space, and a well presented bathroom with chromotherapy mood lighting.

It was great to start the day with a gourmet coffee in the room, raise the blackout blinds, throw open the dormer windows and take in the view of the river Tagus.

Room amenities included:

  • 24-hour room service
  • Safe with electrical connection and led light
  • Free non-alcoholic drinks in the minibar
  • Chromotherapy in all rooms and suites
  • UHD Television43 ”4K
  • 100% Egyptian cotton bed linen
  • Pillow menu available
  • Molton Brown amenities

Corpo Santo has, in my experience, captured the essence of luxury, boutique hospitality. The highly professional, personable, intuitive team, the thoughtful gestures, the creative suggestions to enjoy the city, a building that connects you with the destination, and dining that reflects the region.

Boutique Brilliance

Next time you head for Lisbon – make Corpo Santo part of your travel plans. You won’t be disappointed.

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