Britania Hotel: The Heritage that preserves the 1940s.
Jul. 03 2019
Britania Hotel – A Hotel in Lisbon with plenty to see
Art Deco, glamour and revivalism. These are the three words that welcome us as soon as we cross Britania Hotel impressive door.
If you came to Lisbon to get to know the city, you will start even before you take to the streets. Around here, History adorns the walls, frescoes dating back to the colonial era, in many period portraits that testify to the elitism that once filled the space, in exceptionally well preserved original documents and objects that are sure to delight any collector. It is no exaggeration to say that even before going up to the comfort of the rooms, there is a museum discreetly waiting for you to discover it.
A Club full of life
This hotel was born in 1944, under the name of Hotel Império. A true landmark in the city of Lisbon, recognized for decades as one of the best and most luxurious hotels in Portugal. In addition to a service of excellence that was the core brand image, the Hotel’s very spacious rooms and common spaces encouraged guests to live there for certain periods of time. People lived here, as a club that gathered prominent figures, and here, famous national and international members of high society came together. Books, poems and songs were written at these tables. It was supposedly the setting for great stories of love, friendship and moments that have been part of recent history.
However, despite its bustling past, the Hotel went through a period when, at the hands of new owners, it lost its identity in the name of modernization, and its paintings were concealed, its imposing marble columns disguised, as well as everything that referred to the period that built it. Having survived the revolution of April 1974, it was renamed Hotel Britania.
Nowadays, from the time of Empire, in addition to the service of excellence, it keeps the original building and furniture restored to the last detail, which earned it the classification as property of historical interest for the city of Lisbon. It is the only period hotel that has remained intact to this day.
6 details that you can (still) find at the Hotel Britania
Spacious rooms. The rooms of this hotel have the particularity of being designed with the structure of small apartments, with an anteroom and bathroom.
Cork floor. Created by the prestigious Mundet Factory in 1944, the original floor was restored by hand and is one of the most significant factors of comfort of the accommodations.
Art Deco furniture. The furniture of this Hotel is itself a relic. Each piece has been preserved and meticulously restored.
Marble. This is one of the Hotel’s finest materials. Used to cover the floor, walls and bathrooms, it stands out in the lobby, where four monumental columns stand.
Frescoes. The walls of the bar are adorned with paintings associated with the Portuguese Empire, portraying the coats of arms of the colonies at the time and symbolism associated with the period of the discoveries.
Entrance. Despite being designed on the original plan, the opulent iron gate that welcomes you into Hotel Britania only left the drawing board many years later, when the Hotel was restored.
At the time, the services available at the hotel included a barbershop. The “Pessoa” chair has stood the test of time and remains the centrepiece of this space, where all the instruments remain impeccably kept, alongside old newspapers and other historical documents. Walking into this small space is like stepping back in time.
Cassiano Branco was the architect who signed the project of Hotel Império. One of the great names of contemporary Portuguese architecture, with an avant-garde touch, combined the deco language with nationalist symbols and modern equipment that did not go unnoticed at the time.