Residencial Princesa Hotel – Excellent Budget Stay

Azulejo 25I chose the Residencial Princesa more out of necessity than anything else. It suited my budget and had a single room available. I booked it without thinking to much about it because I was fairly sure that if I left it any longer the room would probably be booked by someone else. I knew nothing of the area it was in and despite finding it on the map, I was not at all sure how far away it was from downtown Lisbon (where I spend a lot of my time).

I took a taxi from the airport as my rucksack was blindingly heavy and I just wanted to get to my room as quickly as possible. The friendly driver ferried me to the hotel at a charge of €15 (price of 2007).

Upon arrival, unfortunately my room wasn’t ready. The staff were friendly and apologetic and offered to look after my bags whilst I went off for an hour and had a coffee. I had initially said I would probably arrive at about midday but I was nearly 2 hours earlier than anticipated. It was really my fault for sorely overestimating how long it would take to get my baggage and through passport control. The sun was shining and I was itching to get into Lisbon and while away the hours at some cafe so I wandered downtown to Suiça and took in the Lisbon air.

As I didn’t have a clue which bus went back to the hotel, I decided to walk back. It took around 25 minutes which wasn’t really that long although the backs of my legs protested as it was uphill all the way!

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My room was ready by the time I appeared and I was shown up to a lovely little room on the second floor. The hotel does have a lift which is a rarity.

Everywhere was extremely clean, my room bright and airy and whilst it was small it was certainly enough room for me. I didn’t really have a view but for £39 (the 2012 price is now €55) a night I wasn’t expecting one. What I needed was clean, comfortable, functional and good staff – all of which I received.

There was a bed, wardrobe and desk with a chair and a dial out phone (with tariff chart included). A tv was on the wall with various cable channels as well as main Portuguese channels and a safe in the wardrobe. The safe has to be rented from the hotel at a charge of €1.50 per day plus a €10 deposit. The rental was taken out of the €10 at the end of my stay.

I would always recommend using a hotel’s safe whether you have a personal one in your room or a main safe. Hotels do not cover any loss of valuables from your room – better to be safe (pun intended!) than sorry.

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I booked a room with a private bathroom. It was clean and well equipped with a toilet, bath, wash-basin and bidet as well as a hairdryer. The shower was always hot and whilst it wasn’t a ‘power shower’ it certainly did the job.

One thing I hadn’t realised when I booked was that breakfast was included. This is good bonus. The breakfast room was very clean and there was a range of foods served buffet style. On weekdays breakfast starts at 7.30am and at weekends it’s 8am. I would recommend going as early as you can as the room does fill up quite quickly. There are only 10 tables so if you arrive late you may have to wait.

Being an early bird however, I didn’t have that problem. There was a good variety of foods to choose from – cereals, toast, various bread rolls, sweet pastries and croissant. You could choose from butter, jam, marmalade, cheese or ham to go with the savoury. A fresh fruit basket was also provided as well as plain yoghurt. Drinks were orange juice, milk, tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Everything was very fresh and it was nice to sit in the pretty breakfast room and nod hello to other guests. I noticed a high chair was provided and the baby who occupied it happily shook little bags of sugar and beamed at everyone who walked past her.

Internet access and a tv were also in here which I assumed were used later on in the day. I didn’t use either but I noticed the internet access was around €3 for 15 minutes. It’s a handy extra that can be useful if you need to quickly find something on the net or send an email telling everyone how fabulous Lisbon is!

After walking to downtown Lisbon and back a couple of times I finally decided public transport would be a good idea. The 790 stops right by the hotel and in 10 minutes has you on Figueira Square (from where you can catch the bus back again). The route was well served by frequent buses and costs €1.30 (in 2007) if you haven’t got a travel card.

I would however recommend walking down into town at least once so you get the feel of local life in Lisbon. One morning I followed the sound of cockrals crowing and found a lovely little park with ducks and hens running free. Old men sat talking, smoking and feeding the birds. The birds in turn are quite used to people feeding them and therefore tend to accompany you as you wander through.

Residencial Princesa has everything you need in a budget hotel. If you turn left immediately out the front door you’ll find the post office. Going right (then stay right) you’ll come to a cash point and a row of bars and local shops. There is another tiny park right opposite the front doors which is nice if you’re waiting for the bus.

The main front door is open 24 hours a day, as is reception. Most of the staff speak good English and all were very helpful and pleasant. As I left I told them I would recommend them to everyone and I am fulfilling that promise. I intend to stay at the Princesa again.

They have a website here

Residencial Princesa
Rua Gomes Freire, 130
1150-180 Lisbon
Tel: +351.21.319 30 70 –
Fax: +351.21.319 30 79
E-mail: info@residencial-princesa.pt


16 comments for “Residencial Princesa Hotel – Excellent Budget Stay

  1. March 4, 2008 at 12:29 am

    This is a pretty interesting location. We ate at a Goan restaurant to the east of Anjos. Thanks for a good suggestion for a hotel – those breakfasts make the meal times a little easier on the budget.

  2. Lily
    March 7, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Hi Maureen
    Yes, the breakfast is a good bonus 🙂 I shall have to check out the Goan restuarant – it sound nice.

  3. Mike
    November 4, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Wow! This site gets better with every visit. Now I won’t have to rely on my (almost!) girlfriend to find me a place to stay! I hope to go to Lisboa in early December. I shall certainly try this place out. I am glad the taxi fare is not too steep! The only other time I caught a cab I was very new to Portugal and, rather than make myself late finding my way to the bus-station at Sete Rios (as I NOW know) I got a cab. If I recall it cost me 100 Euros to travel to Fátima, about 1 and a half hours journey north. Coming back to Lisboa by bus cost considerably less – and that particular driver was prepared to drop off passengers at the Airport (when I came back this time I had to go to Sete Rios and get the shuttle-bus).

  4. keith
    November 8, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Hi Lily,
    Just want to put in my two cents here. I did not stay at
    a hotel during my two trips to Lisbon. I have had good luck
    renting apartments. My first trip I stayed 30 days and rented
    a nice studio apartment in Principe Real for 900 Euros.
    My second trip lasted just 15 days and I rented a two bedroom
    apartment in Principe Real. That was a bit pricier at 800 Euros
    for the stay. I like going with an apartment. I like having
    a washing machine to do laundry and a kitchen. I also like being in a residential area, being around the people who live and work there instead of at a hotel with a bunch of tourists.
    I am planning to return to Lisbon in the spring of 2012 and I will rent an apartment again.

  5. Lily
    November 8, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Hi Keith
    Actually next time I go I would like to rent an apartment too. I do prefer to have my own cooking facilities and I agree that ‘living’ in the neighbourhood is a lot nicer. Out of interest, did you rent from a specific company?

  6. keith
    November 9, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Lily,
    On my first trip to Lisbon 3 years ago I used Perfectplaces.com to find an apartment. It worked out perfectly but on my trip to Lisbon this last March I couldn’t find what I wanted at Perfectplaces so I ended up renting through Homelidays.com. I had no problems with that either.
    I recently discovered Ownersdirect.co.uk.
    I would like to mention something that probably does not affect people living in Europe. While arranging my first trip to Lisbon, I contacted a number of different owners to find out details of their apartments. Most of the owners accepted Paypal for payment of a deposit and one of the websites listed above was set up for use of credit cards. That does not seem to be the case anymore. Most owners want cash for a deposit and cash when you arrive to pay the balance.
    And most of the owners I have contacted want a wire transfer to their bank for payment of the deposit. For Americans, a wire transfer is outrageously expensive. A bank in the U.S.A. charges about $30 to $35 for a wire transfer and they don’t mention that the money passes electronically through other banks that also charge for the transfer. You can send 100 Euros or 1000 Euros to Europe but $60 to $90 of it will be eaten up in fees. The owner won’t get his full deposit and then you will have to send more money. Try to work out some other form of payment with the owner if you can. Once you get to Lisbon, there are plenty of banks and ATMs to get Euros to pay the balance.

  7. Lily
    November 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Keith
    Thanks for the info. I really wouldn’t feel comfortable with wire transfers and dealing with cash. I will only pay via credit card as that is insurance as well (unless I knew the owner). I’m surprised at that although then again perhaps if these are private rentals then that’s the only form of payment they can accept other than a cheque.

  8. Mike
    November 24, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Well I am going to try this place while in Lisbon next week. I emailed a query about rooms and received a very prompt reply. Fortunately they speak English so I can now go ahead and phone a booking. I am so excited about going back to the city I love (and seeing again a very dear friend there!). I wish more and more that I could make Lisboa my home.

    If I remember I shall do another review of this place.

  9. Lily
    November 25, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Happy travelling Mike! Say hello to lovely lisboa for me 🙂

  10. Mike
    November 29, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Princesa not available so am now staying at Residencia Joao 21 insteadm 20 Euros per night bathroom and breakfast included. Watch this space for a review – pix included! Adeus

  11. Mike
    December 3, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Perhaps this trip is worth setting up blog for! I was going to Lisboa but had not planned touring London’s airports! O Lisboa will I ever see you!? Eu te Amo!

  12. Mike
    December 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Lisboa is wonderful! My Girl is wonderful! I just don’t want to leave the City and the Woman I love!

  13. Mike
    December 9, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Well, I am back home, with a heavy heart, from Lisboa where I had a wonderful time. It was worth the mammoth journey – first to Gatwick where the flight was then cancelled then, finally, to Heathrow where there was a flight leaving. First of all the Hotel. As the Princesa could not take me I asked if they could give me the name of another. The came up with Residencial Joao 21, also in the same district (Picoas). A big bonus was that it cost just 20 Euros per night, B&B and bathroom included!

    I had an interesting journey there. As I didn’t know the name of the district, only the hotel, I managed to get put off the bus a long way away from the hotel and in the dark! Having walked around towing my case I then approached someone who directed me to a nearby shop wher the staff spoke English. They were very kind, even phoning the hotel for me to find out exactly where it was. They told me to get the Metro. However by this time I was too tired to walk any more so I hailed a taxi and got to the recidencia. Only 5 Euros for that distance.

    The staff there were great. I even got one of them and his colleague to translate my mobile voicemail into Portuguese. The room was huge compared to some of those I have stayed in in UK B&Bs. There were plenty of extra blankets which I duly piled on the bed as, even though Lisbon was not suffering the awful weather back home, it was still pretty cold. Again there was the usual wadrobe, desk TV, dial-out (I think) phone and the room was cleaned, towels changed (if you left them on the floor) etc. every day. There even seemed to be an on-request laundry service! I did take a few pictures but I have yet to take them off the camera. They have a website: http://www.residencialjoaoXXI.com.

    Breakfast each morning was every bit as good as reviews of other places suggested. Plenty of everything in the buffet – enough to stoke up for an energetic morning! and, as observed about other places, pretty chaotic and low on seating. However there was always someone who would shuffle things round and I always had a place to sit.

    The drill was – hand in keys when going out but the desk was covered 24 hours so getting back in was never a problem, Once I had mastered the Metro and found out about the daily travel card there was no stopping me. I even got a taste of the Lisboa ‘rush-hour’. I was soon hopping on and off trains and exploring. I could have caught a bus outside the hotel but, as I was more sure of myself on the Metro I took the five-minute walk to Picoas station each time I went out.

    Having friends in a place, of course, makes for an even better time. I saw some places I might otherwise have missed, including the mammoth ‘Vaco Da Gama’ shopping centre near Oriente metro. Most of the time I just wandered around Lisbon, taking in the sights and sounds of a city I had only, previously, passed through. In one of the bigger stores, curiously named FNAC, I stocked up on Fado CDs from their excellent selection. Eating, as we know, was no problem and prices very good, as always!

    On my last night there my friends surprised me with a visit to a Fado bar/restaurant in the older part of Lisbon (might have been Alfama?) which we reached by navigating a maze of hilly streets. I must find out more about it as I am sure others would like to visit it. The atmosphere was wonderful. Had I been less tired I would gladly have stayed longer.

  14. Lily
    December 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Mike
    Glad you had such a good time in Lisbon and thanks for the review! It’s always good to know of another recommendation. It sounds like you did exacty the right thing – just wandering around getting a feel for the city. Perfect in Lisbon 🙂

    • Mike
      October 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      It seems soooo long since I have been able to go to Lisboa. I had a nostalgic read of my posts. Pity I can’t edit them. Reading my comment on the breakfast room at the Residencia Joao 21 as “chaotic” I hope that it didn’t give a poor impression of a place I would love go back to again. I repeat my recommendation of it and would certainly point in its direction anyone thinking of staying in or near Lisboa. I still have their phone number in my mobile. Happy times I will not forget!

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