This is our review of Convent Square Hotel in Lisbon.
IHG launched its luxury and lifestyle brand Vignette Collection back in 2021.
As a ‘collection’ brand, it allows boutique hotels to join the IHG system without having to make sweeping changes to conform with exacting brand standards. It is meant to compete with Hilton’s Curio Collection, Hyatt’s The Unbound Collection and Marriott’s Autograph Collection.
Convent Square Lisbon is one of the first Vignette Collection hotels to open in Europe. More are planned in Portugal, Germany, Hungary and the UK, and these ‘collection’ brands tend to grown quickly once they get momentum.
I thought I would check out Convent Square as I needed to be in Lisbon for World Aviation Festival. Rob headed to the Corinthia because he is exploring the Global Hotel Alliance programme – more to follow on that.
IHG kindly provided my room for review purposes.
Where is the Convent Square Hotel in Lisbon?
The hotel is located in Baixa, Lisbon’s historic neo-classical neighbourhood at the centre of the city. It is sandwiched in between the Praça de Rossio and Praça da Figueira:
This is a good spot. You are right in the centre which is where most people want to be, although Lisbon is more spread out then you might expect. You are also on the metro with the Green Line serving Rossio Station literally just outside.
This is a big benefit as most of Baixa is unserved by the underground metro, so you would either have to walk or get on a bus or tram if using public transport.
You can get to the airport on the Green and Red lines in about 45 minutes, although with Uber as cheap as it is in Lisbon it probably isn’t worth the effort. I paid around €9 for the journey from the airport. Note that you will be dropped on either Rossio or Figeuira Square, as the road directly in front of the hotel is pedestrianised. It is about 20 metres from either one.
Inside the Convent Square Lisbon – Vignette Collection hotel
True to its name, Convent Square is a brand-new conversion of a 13th century convent, with the hotel having only opened in August.
Despite its size (121 rooms) the hotel has a very modest lobby with an undulating reception desk clad in copper stone:
There was no wait and it didn’t take long for the hotel staff to check me in when I arrived at around 3:30pm.
Rooms at Convent Square Lisbon
There are just three room types at the hotel: Standard, Premium and Suites.
I stayed in a Premium room on the fifth (top) floor. If I were being polite, I would say that the rooms are ‘London sized’. They are very much on the smaller side, with Standard rooms at 19sqm and Premium at 20-23sqm. Suites are double this, at 40sqm. Clearly, if you are after space, this hotel is not for you.
There’s no denying that the room is tight. This is what it looks like with a queen bed:
There are bedside tables on both sides, as well as light switches, dual USB-A ports and a European-style mains socket:
In the window, as you can see, is a small armchair as well as tiny desk:
You can just about fit a 13″ MacBook on this but that’s about it. If you are serious about working in your room, again, this hotel is not for you.
Opposite the bed is the TV, a small ledge and tea and coffee-making facilities including a Nespresso machine:
The TV is behind mirrored glass which is an odd choice. I like it when it’s off, as it isn’t a black hole, but it’s certainly much more reflective if you want to watch anything.
Behind the TV you’ll find the bathroom, which is clad in similar pink/copper stone to the lobby. I think it looks great and something a bit different from your more monochrome bathrooms:
Inside you’ll find a toilet, bidet as well as separate shower and over-shower bathtub. Given the size of the room I’m surprised that they put in two showers, which seems unnecessary. I would have preferred a slightly more compact bathroom and a bit more space in the room.
The water pressure is good and the toiletries are Karl Lagerfeld Murier et Santal:
A small wardrobe is off the corridor connecting the room and bathroom:
Inside were some of the fluffiest bathrobes and nicest hotel slippers I’ve ever used. They were excellent if a little on the small side for me.
A stocked mini bar was also inside.
Whilst the rooms are small, I liked how they were styled. It felt like the designers had incorporated the buildings history whilst still keeping the hotel modern and fresh, and the copper / pink colours running throughout the hotel tie it all together.
I was surprised (and delighted) to find the hotel operates a turndown service, which I wasn’t expecting at a property of this level.
Spa and gym at Convent Square Lisbon
Also on the fifth floor is the gym and wellness centre. Reign in your expectations: like other parts of the hotel, this is, shall we say, cosy. The pool is more of a plunge pool:
There are, yes, just two loungers.
A wood-clad sauna next to it, which I enjoyed. Both overlook the internal courtyard and the roofs of Lisbon, making it nice and bright.
There is also a small gym with about 3-4 pieces of equipment in total:
Breakfast and dinner at Convent Square Lisbon
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available at Capitulo, the hotel’s bar and restaurant. This is at the back of the hotel, past the internal quad and in one of the most historic parts of the hotel. There is some outdoor seating here:
…. as well as a beautiful bar and internal seating:
I’ll start with breakfast, which is a combination of a la carte items and a self-serve buffet. The a la carte menu includes eggs benedict / royale / florentine, omelettes, pancakes and other hot bits and bobs.
The breakfast buffet features a range of pastries including Pasteis de Nata:
…. plus your usual selection of cold cuts, cheeses, cereals and fruit:
I asked for the eggs royale on my first morning only to be told they didn’t have any smoked salmon, although it seems they were re-stocked the following day. That said, the eggs benedict I had instead was very delicious:
As you would expect, fresh orange juice was also on offer.
I also enjoyed dinner at Capitulo one evening and spent over three hours in the charming company of Pedro, one of the newest bartenders at the restaurant. Pedro was phenomenal – chatty, charismatic and generous – a true entertainer. I’m sure he will be very successful and Convent Square is very fortunate to have him!
I enjoyed a couple of delicious cocktails as well a few bits and bobs from the restaurant menu. I wanted to try a few different things so ordered a handful of starters rather than a main and a starter. These were served in succession. My favourites included the gazpacho:
The prawn cocktail salad:
…. and the squid:
Note the portions are very big. The salad could almost be a main!
At around 10:30 I stumbled up to my room for my early start at World Aviation Festival the next morning ….
If the room size doesn’t put you off, then Convent Square Lisbon is an excellent city-centre hotel. It is a world away in charm and location from the 25-storey Corinthia hotel in the business district where Rob stayed, well away from the tourist sites.
Whilst the facilities may be small, it gets things right when it comes to character, with lovely real stone finishes and stylish design features setting this hotel apart. If you have IHG One Rewards Diamond status, for free breakfast and potentially an upgrade to one of the larger Premium rooms, then even better.
The icing on top is the excellent service I received, particularly from Pedro in the bar.
Rooms start from €166 off-season, with redemptions from 33,000 IHG One Rewards points per night. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.
IHG One Rewards update – December 2023:
Get bonus points: Our article on IHG’s current bonus promotion is here. You will receive 2,000 bonus points for every two cash nights you stay until 31st December. Nights do not need to be consecutive. Click here to register.
New to IHG One Rewards? Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.
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IHG is offering a 100% bonus (some members may be offered less) when you buy points by 30th December 2023. Click here to buy.
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