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February 24, 2022

Inside The Ivens: Lisbon’s Stunning New Hotel

The striking property is the latest outpost in Marriott’s Autograph Collection.

By Irenie Forshaw

Looking up at the immaculate pastel pink exterior of The Ivens, you know you’re in for a serious treat. Situated in Lisbon’s bustling Chiado district, the luxurious new hotel occupies a historic 19th-century building that stands at the crossroads of two streets named after two intrepid Portuguese explorers, Roberto Ivens and Hermenegildo Capelo.

During the 1870s, Ivens (who the hotel is named after) left Lisbon behind and became one of the first Europeans (alongside Capelo) to cross Central Africa from coast to coast between Angola and Mozambique.

Taking inspiration from their travels, interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán has transformed the hotel’s lobby into a maximalist delight. Think plush velvet chairs, bold colorful patterns, glittering chandeliers and tropical plants springing from every corner.

As is the case with Marriott’s entire portfolio of premium hotels that make up the Autograph Collection, the striking interiors have been thoughtfully designed to tell a story. This latest outpost is no exception, with visitors welcomed to The Ivens not simply as guests, but as explorers. Here, Elite Traveler takes a look inside.

[See also: Twenty for 20: The Most Iconic Hotels of the 21st Century]


Exterior of The Ivens hotel in Lisbon

The immaculate pastel pink exterior of the luxurious hotel / ©The Ivens

The Ivens signature suite interior

The signature suites are decorated with unique artworks, rugs and bespoke furnishings / ©Francisco Nogueira

While the communal areas at The Ivens are a bold mix of colors, textures and patterns, the accommodation is much subtler. Designed by Cristina Matos, the hotel’s 87 bedrooms and 10 suites are a picture of refined elegance in shades of beige, white and green. Expansive windows bathe the interiors in natural light, revealing sweeping vistas of Lisbon behind the billowing white drapes.

For the best views of the city and River Tagus, book one of the signature suites on the top floor. In keeping with the other rooms, these beautiful abodes are decorated with unique artworks, rugs and bespoke furnishings which allude to Roberto Ivens’ travels. Plenty of natural materials are used throughout including wood, stone and straw.

Perhaps most impressive is the marble bathroom where you’ll find a freestanding tub and indulgent collection of Jo Malone toiletries. Outside, the terrace is the perfect spot for soaking up the views over breakfast or watching the sunset with a cocktail in the evenings.


The Gastro Bar at The Ivens hotel

Red velvet stairs lead to the opulent Gastro Bar / ©Francisco Nogueira

Rocco restaurant at The Ivens

Rocco exudes timeless old school glamor with its crisp white table cloths and low-level mood lighting / ©Francisco Nogueira

Stepping out of your tranquil room, the petroleum blue corridor and geometric print carpet set the tone for what is to come next. Downstairs, red velvet stairs lead to the opulent Gastro Bar. Here, you can pull up a floral-print clad barstool and enjoy a drink around the gleaming marble and wood-paneled counter. There’s also a selection of snacks to choose from including traditional Portuguese dishes such as Salt Cod à Brás (shredded cod with potatoes) and an array of cold meats and cheeses. Or, if you’re a fan of seafood, head upstairs to the Crudo Bar to sample a variety of Lisbon’s fresh shellfish with a glass of chilled champagne.

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However, the star of the show is The Ivens’ restaurant – Rocco. The cozy dining room exudes timeless old-school glamor with its crisp white table cloths, low-level mood lighting and plush leather banquettes. In this intimate setting, the grill takes center stage and dishes are served with theatrical flair. Guests can watch the talented chefs prepare classic Italian dishes over the flames using the finest ingredients. Highlights from the menu include the mouthwatering Lobster Linguine and Veal Cutlet alla Milanese.

Of course, Lisbon is known for its balmy summers, and guests can also choose to dine al fresco in the idyllic garden. Dotted with iron tables, lemon trees in glazed ceramic vases and a neoclassical fountain, it’s the perfect spot for whiling away a lazy afternoon while savoring the kitchen’s culinary delights.


The hotel’s communal areas are a bold mix of colors, textures and patterns / ©Francisco Nogueira

The unique bathroom features botanical motifs on the walls and sinks make from Italian Calacatta marble / ©Francisco Nogueira

Located at the heart of Lisbon in the elegant Chiado neighborhood, The Ivens is the ideal destination from which to explore the city. Those with a penchant for shopping can indulge in a spot of retail therapy at the plethora of nearby high-end boutiques. Just a stone’s throw from the hotel, you’ll find an excellent selection of fine dining restaurants including Balcanto and Alma – both of which have scooped two Michelin stars.

Chiado is also home to several theatres (including Teatro São Luiz and São Carlos), museums, galleries and the oldest operating bookstore in the world – Livraria Bertrand. And if you’d rather go on a night out, the city’s best party spots are just around the corner including Bica, Bairro and Cais do Sodré.

[See also: The Most Opulent City Suites in the World]

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