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Opening in mid-October, the hotel, which is part of Design Hotels™ is a dramatic and dignified study in period contrasts. © Design Hotels

Memmo Príncipe Real Opening in Lisbon

Lisbon is a city that exudes a harmonious melding of old and new, and there’s a new address in town to capture precisely that intangible magic. Tucked among the time-telling traditions of tile merchants and pastelarias, down a honey-hued corridor which opens onto the larger city scape, is the Memmo Príncipe Real—a modern ode to the particular charms of the infectious city that is Lisbon. Opening in mid-October, the hotel, which is part of Design Hotels™ is a dramatic and dignified study in period contrasts, the 41-room hotel of limestone, expansive glass, and natural oakwood practically levitates above the bustle below.

With a masterful understanding of the balance it takes to straddle both contemporary and classic forms, architect Samuel Torres de Carvalho was tasked for the new build of the Memmo Príncipe Real. The Madrid-born Portuguese architect, also responsible for the group's previous two projects (Memmo Baleeira, 2007, and Memmo Alfama, 2013,) was ever-mindful of the changing face of Lisbon. Known for his spectacular modernism, Torres de Carvalho created a sleek four-story geometric building of stark white, and a long, rectangular silhouette.

Unifying the design aesthetics of the three properties, the Memmo design team, coordinated by João Corrêa Nunes and architect Samuel Torres de Carvalho, set out with a challenge to create a new build that would house a mix of modern elements using classic materials and details. Together, they have created a contemporary capsule with an old world soul.

A seductive ground floor of rounded lines is entirely walled on one side by floor-to-ceiling windows and uninterrupted views of the sultry city. Limestone floors throughout this floor's reception, restaurant, bar, and terrace, pay tribute to traditional Portuguese masonry and lay way for the overall air of vintage L.A. ease.

The Memmo design team's ethos of contemporary elegance and custom-crafted simplicity carries through all 41 rooms of the hotel. A serenely neutral palette of taupes, sage green, and wood hues are sharpened by the same black steelwork seen in the hotel's exterior structure. Natural oak wood, used extensively in the rooms, features strongly in the form of custom-built cabinetry, walk-in closets, headboards, and sliding separation doors, while darker finishes on the floors root the entire design. Subtle neutrality continues with the textiles: flax-toned floor-to-ceiling curtains frame the dramatic views that when parted, let the golden Portuguese sun flood the space. Bathrooms are entirely outfitted in limestone, the sandy-tinted stone deftly straddling the raw earthiness and modern sleekness that defines the hotel. A full range of amenities by Hermès is available in-room, as is a full-size soap and carry case from the luxury retailer for guests to take home.

Located in the central, social heart of the hotel with panoramic views of the city, Café Colonial is a celebration of the many global influences represented by Lusophone roots. Drawing its main influences from Portugal, Brazil, Africa, and Asia, Café Colonial is a neighborhood fixture drawing in locals with fair-priced favorites, lively conversation, and a convivial spirit of community.

Leading the multicultural charge is 35-year-old Vasco Lello, a young but already established chef in the Portuguese capital. Influenced by his heritage, the wisdom of both grandmothers, and the daily home cooking he was raised on, Lello values Portuguese cooking tradition, products, and history, but allows his extensive travels to seep in. Here, fluid, open spaces abound with limestone, oak, and worn velvet materials defining the aesthetic. Black marble tables and green accents contrast a largely neutral landscape where vintage area rugs add both warmth and a division of areas; from sofa lounge seating to classic tabletop dining and high-top bar perches. Signature dishes include: Ox-tail croquettes served with pineapple & chili chutney, slow cooked pork cheeks on a bed of caramelized vegetables and mashed potatoes and a cod, miso and oyster chawan mushi, served with shitaki packchoi. Desserts include homemade ice creams and a São Tomé, 70% chocolate, banana and salted caramel praliné.

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