Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, hosted 83 international association events in 2008, according to the International Congress & Convention Association, putting this city among the top 10 worldwide for such gatherings.
To help accommodate future attendees, about 25 new hotels will come online by the end of 2010, increasing the number of rooms available by more than 4,500. Lisbon currently offers about 14,500 guest rooms.
Last year, the Eurostars Hotel Das Letras opened with 107 rooms in the city’s High District. The largest of four meeting rooms hosts 130 people theater-style.
The 65-room Vincci Baixa is the first property from the Spanish Vincci chain to open in Portugal. The hotel features two meeting rooms, the largest of which spans 1,300 square feet.
The 45-room Altis Belém Hotel & Spa opened earlier this year in a Tagus riverfront neighborhood called Doca do Bom Sucesso.
Three CS hotels are in the works for the city. Both the 58-room CS Palace Belém Hotel and the 55-room CS Vintage Lisboa Hotel plan to open by the end of the year. The 61-room CS Palace Glória Hotel is scheduled to debut in 2010 in the fashionable Bairro Alto district.
The 90-room Inspira Santa Marta Hotel, Lisbon, designed for sustainability, likely will open this month. The property will have a spa and two meeting rooms for up to 110 people.
Last year, the 331-room Le Méridien Park Atlantic Lisboa became the Tiara Park Atlantic Lisbon. The property offers 18 meeting rooms, including a 3,875-square-foot ballroom.
Now open is the Design and Fashion Museum, also known as MuDe, which was relocated to the 18th-century Verride Palace near the Bairro Alto. The facility specializes in couture and design pieces created by more than 200 artists from the 1930s to the present.
The city’s famed Coach Museum is moving to the Belém district. Work already has begun on the new facility, which is expected to open on Oct. 5, 2010, as part of the country’s Republic Day celebrations.
On the coast
Outside the city, visitors are beckoned by the historic sites of Sintra and numerous resorts on the Atlantic Coast.
New in Sintra is the 30-room Tivoli Palácio de Seteais in a striking 18th-century structure that has been lovingly preserved and refurbished. The hotel is in view of the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace. The chain also runs the 77-room Tivoli Sintra in the center of town.
A grand opening was scheduled to take place July 3 for the Blue&Green Tróia Design Hotel along the ocean, about an hour south of Lisbon. The resort replaces several beachside high-rises from the 1970s and ’80s, and features 144 suites and 61 guest rooms, a conference center with a 10,720-square-foot ballroom and eight breakout rooms, and an entertainment center with a 600-seat theater. A casino also is planned for the property.
Transporting delegates around the city has gotten easier, thanks to the Shuttle Voucher, a prepaid transport service now offered by Lisboa Tourism (visitlisboa.com). The service offers luxury cars driven by chauffeurs who have completed tourism training and are fluent in various languages. Trips also can be arranged beyond the city limits, to as far away as any destination in Spain.
A project developed by the Lisboa City Council has installed 30 kiosks in gardens and other public spaces, offering drinks, appetizers and sandwiches, plus free Internet access. The aim was to re-create the atmosphere of the open-air gathering spots that dotted the city during the 19th and early 20th centuries.