by Sarah J.F. Braley | July 01, 2015
Meet In a Castle
Overlooking the city is St. George's Castle (Castelo de São Jorge), built by the Moors in the 11th Century. The inner courtyard, Romantic Garden, main square, Ogival Room and terraces can be used by groups.

 In the town of Sintra, about a half-hour from the capital, is the colorful Pena National Palace, where a restoration of the distinctive facade was finished in February. Several areas are available for groups, including the Great Hall, the Hall of the Arches and the Stag Room.
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Ranked number 15 on the International Congress and Convention Association's list of destinations that hosted the most international association conventions, Portugal welcomed 225 such events in 2014, and its capital, Lisbon hosted 109 of those meetings, ranking 12th on ICCA's city list.

Overall visitor numbers are on the upswing. Lisbon Portela Airport welcomed a record 18 million passengers in 2014, two million more than arrived in 2013. From the United States, TAP Portugal offers direct service from Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Airport and Miami International Airport.

Hotel News
The 89-room Inspira Santa Marta Hotel was voted Green Hotel of the Year for 2014, part of the European Hospitality Awards. Going paperless for office procedures and using 100 percent green energy are among the efforts the property has instituted.

InterContinental Hotels Group brought two Lisbon-area properties into its fold in the past year. In September, IHG took over the 331-room InterContinental Lisbon, built in 1984 as a Le Méridien and most recently known as the Tiara Park Atlantic Lisbon Hotel. The luxury city-center hotel features 18 meeting rooms, a fitness studio, a restaurant and a bar. In March, IHG announced it will manage the 59-room InterContinental Lisbon-Estoril, on the Atlantic coast just outside the capital city, opening this summer. The property offers one meeting room, an outdoor pool and a fitness center. All the guest rooms will have ocean views.

A new restaurant has opened at the 88-room NH Lisboa Campo Grande. Serving three meals a day, the eatery's evening menu features local specialties.

Venues and More

The new home for the 110-year-old National Coach Museum has opened to the public. On display are vehicles from the 17th to 19th centuries, many from the Portuguese Royal House.

Belcanto, a staple on the Lisbon dining scene since 1958, was awarded two Michelin stars this year, the first Lisbon restaurant ever to receive the honor, thanks to the stylings of chef José Avillez. The restaurant was refurbished in 2011 and gained its first Michelin star in 2012.

Ovation Global DMC has opened a new office in the city.