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“5 Star Building but 1 Star Service” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Pestana Palace Lisboa Hotel & National Monument

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Pestana Palace Lisboa Hotel & National Monument
Ranked #31 of 247 Hotels in Lisbon
Sussex
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“5 Star Building but 1 Star Service”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 October 2013

This is the only time I have felt the need to write a review on a hotel. My wife and I have stayed at many hotels in different parts of the world but I have to say this one to my mind ranks way down the list. In fact almost bottom.

We stayed at the Pestana Palace for two nights at the end of a 9 day holiday. The two previous hotels we stayed at, namely the Lisboa Plaza and Vila Gale in Cascais were excellent in terms of facilities, cleanliness and service. Bearing in mind that the two previous hotels are 4 star and the Pestana Palace claims to be a 5 star, we were expecting a level of service that reflects such an establishment. Other reviews that I have since read that come under the categories of Terrible, Average and Good have a common theme throughout and that is service and the restaurant. They are not wrong.

Let me start with the good points – yes the main building is very palatial, yes they open the doors of your taxi when you arrive and yes it has lovely gardens, pool and spa etc. But I’m afraid that’s about it.

My wife is a Pestana Gold PPG member and as such should receive additional ‘VIP’ services. Albeit these are quite small they were non-existent at the hotel, even though they were aware of her membership. Not a great start.

Once we had checked in and were shown to our room, which incidentally is nothing to write home about as it’s a basic room that you would expect to find in most hotels of this size, I rang reception for some ice. After about 30 minutes nothing arrived, a second call resulted in the ice being delivered – I was beginning to wonder if this was a sign of things to come.
We decided to go and have a drink at the bar and sat on the small terrace area. After about a 15 minute wait for someone to come and take our order we went in search of a member of staff and after two separate requests we were eventually presented with a drinks menu.
I should point out at this stage the price of drinks and food is outrageously high. As there is nowhere in the near vicinity to go and eat then the only alternative is a taxi ride into town.

We then spent the afternoon around the pool where the loungers are pushed very close together as it is quite a small pool with an even smaller seating area. There was of course the usual problem of people leaving towels on the sun-beds so that you didn't really know whether they were free or not. No attempt was made by the hotel staff to monitor the situation.

We then thought to try out the spa facilities but soon found out that both the turkish bath and the sauna were not even turned on – another 15 – 20 minute wait for this to be sorted out. I didn't really think things could get worse – it did – read on!

We had heard great things about the restaurant so we decided to give it a try. We entered the restaurant, which only had about three other tables occupied, just after 8pm and after ordering from an over-engineered, over complicated menu we were still sitting there an hour later with no sign of our starters. Bear in mind at his point, this is a meant to be a 5 star hotel and as such you would expect some level of service. A group of 8 people entered the restaurant and were served immediately and received their first course shortly afterwards, whilst we sat staring at our second offering of bread roll, olives and oil (which incidentally was initially forgotten about and turned up late). Eventually my patience got the better of me and I summoned the maitre de to find out if there was any chance of getting fed that night. Shortly afterwards our starters arrived – cold. The amount of food on my plate was small to say the least with two minute pieces of lobster.

The second course arrived immediately after but was close to being inedible – tough and not very hot. At this point we had had enough and for only the second time ever as far as I can remember we got up and left before finishing the meal.
Following our complaint to the receptionist a duty manager arrived and after explaining to him the catalogue of disasters, his offer was a bottle of sparkling wine and some chocolates. We didn’t really want this, what we wanted was a standard of service that befits a supposedly 5 star hotel.

The following morning and things hadn't changed much – three requests to get cutlery for our breakfast (one of those requests was to the man running the restaurant that morning) and a very lengthy wait to get some glasses for the fruit juice.

It was very apparent that a lot of youngsters were serving tables etc, under the supposed guidance of more senior staff. I certainly don’t blame the youngsters for the appalling service as the blame has to be placed with the management team – some of whom definitely had an attitude problem.

The following morning it was time to check out and I had the feeling it wasn't going to go smoothly – I was right.

The bill was presented and the percentage deduction for food and beverages, which my wife should receive as Pestana Gold Member was missing. We then had it explained to us (no actually it was more of a lecture) that we should have shown the card every time we ordered something. This was not explained when we checked in as the receptionist acknowledged the fact we had a gold card and everything would be taken care of. Additionally, this is not the way things had been done in other Pestana hotels we had stayed in. So after a slightly heated debate between myself and the man behind reception who had clearly missed the point about the ‘customer is always right’ and who personified the overall service this hotel offers, we beat a hasty exit to our taxi and left for the airport.

I will finish on one positive note. The man that runs the bar, Carlos Lopes, provided excellent service. He was attentive, engaging and appeared to be extremely happy doing his job. So well done Carlos and I just hope the management of this hotel can learn something from your professionalism and apply it the rest of the establishment, because if that doesn't happen then I think guests of the hotel will get very tired of the sloppy approach you have to customer service. Needless to say we won’t be returning.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank BobSussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paulo R, Guest Ambassador at Pestana Palace Lisboa Hotel & National Monument, responded to this review, 17 October 2013
Dear BobSussex,

Thank you for choosing Pestana Palace Hotel & National Monument and for taking time to post your review on TripAdvisor. We really sorry to see of the inconvenience you have experienced and to read about your disappointments and observations. These situations should not have happened because we have high standards services and we are a Hotel recognized for serving our Guests very well. We regret that your stay have not matched their expectations.
Please accept our apologies and rest assured that your comments have been already shared and discussed with the Team.
Based on the positive aspects, we really hope that you give us another opportunity to show you that we are a complete product.

Sincerely,

Paulo
Guest Ambassador
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,667 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Charlottesville, Virginia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 October 2013

Remarkable hotel with excellent hotel rooms, palatial meeting and sitting rooms, etc., and the grounds are manicured and extraordinary. Good indoor and outdoor pools and exercise facilities. Not near the city center at all, but near Belem tower area, and taxis were reasonable. Food service was ok, but not a match to the surroundings. Friendly staff. Our total experience was very good.

Room Tip: I believe we were in a newer (or more recently refurbished) wing. Probably worth asking for.
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank PGVA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
93 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 October 2013

Stayed here for 5 nights, loved the pool, loved the main building, loved the tranquilty (hotel not so busy). Rooms are modern but that was fine. Service good and only downside was the food could have been better. Choice for lunch very limited and whatever you do dont get the Caesar Salad, 16euros for a few bits of wet lettuce and a few bits of chicken.

Room Tip: Stay in the ground floor rooms near the outdoor pool and you get a little terrace. Especially good i...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Colin S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Haifa, Israel
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 October 2013

A place that every Eur spend there is worthwile
For events with a small number of participants or just for taking a vacation in Lisbone, the best place, the distance from the center of the city is irrelevant since there is good transport from there or a walking distance to the historical Belem area.
Indoor and outdoor swiming pools and spa, including sauna, a good restorant and even an excelent bar that serve also ligh meals.
Just they should improve the waiting time there.
The staff is extremely amable and wants to give an excelent service.
The gardens are excelent for relaxing in free hours.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Ariel K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norfolk, England
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 October 2013

Booked a twin bedded room, which was confirmed at check in but we were shown to a double room. Quickly resolved to the staff's credit, however the following morning we noticed that one of the beds had a bottom sheet that was a good 30cm too short exposing a bare mattress, the other bed base had wadding and springs exposed, not acceptable for 5 star/ leading hotel of the world status or indeed any hotel status. After reporting to reception the matter was quickly resolved but it took another day before we had matching bedding. The bathroom was very tired with mould around the bath as well, something that with a bit of care and attention could so easily have been resolved. The hotel has a fantastic heritage but it feels as if this is a focus which overlooks the other consumer important aspects which make the difference to the guests.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ijht
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 September 2013

I stayed for 4 night in the Pestana hotel. What an amazing experience.

The core of the hotel is in the historical building, which is an attraction in itself. Shouldn't it be a hotel it would certainlybe one of the major attractions in Lisbon. The atmosphere there is the one of a perfectly-preserved palace of the XIX century.

The rooms in the new (modern) wing are luxurious, large and comfortable.

The swimming pool is very atmospheric (indeed it seems to have been transplanted in bloc from an african luxury lodge) and the gym is really excellent (ie with fresh towels in the running machines, water and apples).

The breakfast is served in two of the large elegant dinning rooms with views to the garden.

The only drwback could be its location (far from the historical centre and a very long walk away from the Belem zone) and you are almost forced to take taxi or public transport for moving around.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank JMPR_bxl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 September 2013

We had 5 nights at the Pestana Palace and it was fantastic. The breakfast was delicious with an amazing selection of pastries and delicious hot and cold food (especially the smoked salmon). The staff were extremely helpful and able to respond to any requirement. Room cleaned twice daily. Pool a great place to relax beside and have a mojito from the bar. Would stay again.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Gretchen P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pestana Palace Lisboa Hotel & National Monument

Property: Pestana Palace Lisboa Hotel & National Monument
Address: Rua Jau 54, Lisbon 1300-314, Portugal
Region: Portugal > Central Portugal > Lisbon District > Lisbon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Lisbon
#8 Spa Hotel in Lisbon
#16 Romantic Hotel in Lisbon
#19 Family Hotel in Lisbon
#26 Luxury Hotel in Lisbon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Pestana Palace Lisboa Hotel & National Monument 5*
Number of rooms: 194
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pestana Palace Hotel & National Monument, member of the "The Leading Hotels of the World", is a 5 star hotel in a 19th century palace located in the city of Lisbon, and its gardens, with a variety of plants and subtropical trees, are classified as "National Monument". ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pestana Palace Lisbon
Hotel Pestana Palace

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