I have wrestled with what happened to us and with the reviews on TA, trying to work out why our experience was so far adrift from that reported by others. Then today I received an email from the Do Chiado saying words to the equivalent of "it you liked us put it on Trip Advisor, if you didn't tell us directly". Hmmm. I'm not prepared to play that game .. TA only works if we are all scrupulously honest ... So:
The Do Chiado has some excellent points, but there are three key variables you have to work to get a good stay. Those variables are: renovated v unrenovated rooms, front v back of the property, and 6th floor v 7th floor. We screwed up on all three and had an appalling room that was barely 2 star in standard. We were in on Friday and out on Monday, with Monday being a public holiday - and that's also important to the depth of vileness of our experience.
Currently, this is a tired old hotel in a fantastic position. The view from the back of the property is stand out - much of the same view that you get from the Elevador a few doors along. And it's position in Chiado is great: you can pretty much walk to anywhere you might want to go or the transport to get to it. And the bar staff are lovely. Yes, the hotel is being renovated, but this seems to be a soft refurb: new paint, carpet, furniture and a surface spruce up to common parts and the bathrooms (ie no new bath etc, but the grey old grout between the tiles has been scrubbed). For the first two nights we had room 702: old, tired, battered, bashed and a strange grab bag of Japanese and Chinese themes that reminded us of some bad pop video from the 80s. The first thing I did after walking through the door was to apologise to my husband .. I booked this hotel and it was that bad. The window is also a slot high in the wall .. you can see through it at head height. If I said it was like the observation slit in a WW2 gun emplacement I'd only be marginally exaggerating. Though when you stand in the street and look up at our window that's exactly what it looks like.
Front v back: this is all about noise. 702 is on the front and on the front the noise is horrendous, exacerbated by a narrow street lined with tall buildings so the noise funnels upwards. Chiado is right below the Bairro Alto. At the weekend the bars in the Bairro Alto close between 3 and 4pm and the beered up boys come roaring down the hill in search of a night club so they can kick on. To give them their due they sound very happy young men. Sadly they love to sing and wail .. imagine a very looooong shout. So unless you really are a heavy sleeper you will be woken at about 3.15am and kept awake until about 4.30am by them. Friday night is less noisy than Saturday, but woah .. Saturday is massive. And with the public holiday on Monday I was afeared that Sunday night would be a repeat of Saturday. And then after the last young male has passed and you think you might be able to get some sleep after all, someone kindly puts their metal dumpsters out, dragging them across the cobbled street! I spent most of Sunday sightseeing in a daze of sleep deprivation after two nights of relatively little kip THEN: 702 is also immediately above a busker spot: the saxophonist was largely during the day, I could sleep through the flautist (he played the first 8-10 bars of Dave Brubeck's Take Five over and over and over, though didn't improve at all .. it became strangely soporific), but oh the 7-piece New Orleans jazz band!!! Almost ready to drop by Sunday afternoon we got back to the hotel shortly before 5 with the intention of a Nana nap before going out for dinner. I got about 15 mins sleep before the band started. They were absolutely fantastic. Brilliant arrangements of rumbustuous, raucous New Orleans jazz. But THEY WERE RIGHT BELOW OUR WINDOW! It's a long story, but I have a dB meter on my iPhone .. in our room the band were peaking at 85dB!!! It was like being assaulted with noise. I decided to decamp to the bar and that's when I found out: leave the room, close the door and in the hallway there is complete silence! So if you get a room on the back you will have no street noise to disturb you. AND you will have the fantastic view.
7th v 6th floor? 6th has been renovated. 7th is still underway. Half the 7th floor was closed for building work and the other half hasn't been started yet. So if you manage to get a renovated room on the back of the hotel, I'd recommend you get one on the 6th floor. The key difference between the rooms on the 6th and 7th is whether you get a terrace or a room with the classic French doors and juliet balcony. Personally, I'd go with the balcony option - oherwise your view of The View is curtailed ... the terrace is banded by a strip of lawn before the edge of the building and they both cut into the view. So unless you have an urge for your own terrace (whilst isn't so private as it's divided from the next room's terrace by some wire fencing with a rather sparse rose growing up it) I'd not bother.
I complained on Saturday morning and the two young women on Reception just froze. I complained again on Sunday when the band was getting into their second set and this time an older man on Reception offered a room change for E30. He said they hadn't been able to offer that before as there had not been another room we could have moved to. He also said "but you booked a classic room'". As if that was some defence. In this day and age of the world wide web we expect honesty and transparency. There was NOTHING in the booking info to say this was an un-refurb'd room that was about 2 star standard that was badly affected by street noise. I thought I was booking a 4 star hotel, not a 2 star room in a hotel that is lucky to still have its 4 star status. Anyway: we moved to a renovated room on the 6th floor back, for our final night. If we'd got that rrroom first time round I'd have walked into the room and said "it's a bit odd, but wow look at that view". The reno colour scheme is the currently ubiquitous beige/brown/white combo. IMHO, it's a bit peculiar but nothing to scare the horses. Good luck with keeping the white leather headboards clean, by the way. All I cared about though is that the room was blissfully quiet!
So that's our tale of woe. I can laugh about it now but then I was just rope-able .. or I would have been if I'd had enough sleep to manage to be rope-able. IMHO there must be other hotels in Chiado that it's easier to get a good room in. The bar and bar terrace are open to non residents, so if you want that view you can still get it.
PS. My husband has just read this review before I post it and he says I should add that the rooms were clean and the shower is good. So I have. He also said I should point out that on the Sunday when I complained yet again the problem was fixed and fixed quickly. Maybe the older man on Reception had more experience or seniority than the others. Who knows ...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel do Chiado is located in Chiado / Baixa, Lisbon's historic district, near Bairro Alto, Rossio Square and Avenida da Liberdade. Hotel do Chiado was built in the historic building of Armazéns do Chiado, nowadays a shopping center, which was completely restored by the famous architect Siza Vieira after the tragic fire of 1988. Located in Chiado, the trendiest, elegant and chic meeting point of Lisbon, this is the only hotel in town that offers rooms with private terraces and panoramic views of the Castle and the TagusRiver. The subway station Baixa-Chiado is located beneath the building and you can easily find taxi service side by side with the hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Regency Hotel Lisbon
- Regency Lisbon