When I travel for longer, I take some time off to just kick back and relax after all the sightseeing, hiking and getting lost-ing. After spending a week in the wonderfully vibrant city of Lisbon it was that time for me again and I was super happy to be invited by Inspira Santa Marta to discover a part of Lisbon I yet hadn’t seen. And a hotel that took me by surprise as well.
From Ruins to Rad
The hotel itself is a little gem. Yes, it is centrally located and pretty. But if you look beyond the cover, it will make you feel good in so many different ways. The interior design is fabulous, there is an on-site spa and giant windows everywhere to let in enough light but also keep the private feel. Can you believe that only eight years ago, the whole building didn’t even exist? In its stead stood three derelict buildings in a neighborhood that was going downhill (both metaphorically and literally).
The hotel founders had a big vision: they wanted to build Portugal’s first completely sustainable hotel. Fast forward and I’m now standing on a floor that is made from Portuguese stones. Also the wooden beams, furniture and decoration are all home-country-made. The food comes from nearby farmers and fisheries and is mostly seasonal.
The Difference between Green and Sustainable
That’s all good and well, but how can it be sustainable in itself, you may ask? A lot of hotels nowadays have jumped on the trend wagon of going green, saving energy and water, integrating products. But I found the Inspira went above and beyond with this. The hotel has a bunch of excellence certificates that proof they are not just doing the talk. They for instance have won the award for Leading Green Hotel in Europe in both 2014 and 2016.
More than that, the rooms are basically paperless with the bare minimum information in a handy booklet and a notepad for thoughts. No brochures or advertising are lying around and landing in bins. Magazines and newspapers are free through a hotel exclusive app. The heating comes from solar panels and the drinking water is specially filtered. Each purchase of a water bottle at the gluten-free restaurant is donated to the charity Pump Aid. What’s more, Inspira takes part in furthering the local community by donating to the Botanic Gardens, preparing a Christmas dinner for the homeless and picking up rubbish on Portugal’s Green Day.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might know that I am allergic to a lot of things, including dust mites. This hotel actually caters to us poor souls in having allergy-friendly rooms (ECARF certified). Plus, I already mentioned the gluten-free restaurant downstairs. Moreover, there are two rooms for guests with reduced mobility that include an adapted bathroom and toilet as well as ramps, elevators and larger parking spaces.
If after all this taken-care-of, you still need a special treat, there is also the ReTreat Spa. When I visited, it was super popular and booked out, so I didn’t get to try it. But I am not a wellness person anyway, I was much more into exploring Lisbon all day. With the location just two streets away from the metro and trams, I was quickly wherever I wanted to be. It took me not even half an hour to reach the fabulous Time Out Market, too.
There are different types of rooms in this sustainable hotel, all minimalist and designed around one of the five elements of Feng Shui. In fact, the whole hotel is designed in a minimalist style that is both stylish and comfortable. From the very beginning of the hotel’s creation, a Feng Shui consultant was on site and you can tell. No matter if you love Feng Shui or not, the result is great.
It didn’t feel like your standard hotel room, more like a small celebrity treatment. The colours of my water themed room were elegant greys and browns. The furniture and sideboards were super sleek and cleverly arranged. A special twist was having my shower in the middle of the room and despite the idea seeming odd, it was great. Also, there was a nice extendable writing desk, coffee tray and flat TV screen.
Should You Stay at the Inspira in Lisbon?
If you need to stay in the city centre but away from all the crowdy tourist spots, this place is ideal. If you are looking for a sustainable hotel, this is the best in all of Portugal (see the awards)! Once you step inside, it feels quiet and relaxed, which is exactly what the designers intended. The food is great, breakfast is included and the staff were extremely nice and welcoming. I honestly didn’t find any flaws. And I didn’t want to leave, but that’s life.
Inspira Santa Marta Hotel
R. de Santa Marta 48, 1150-297
+351 210 440 900
Have you ever stayed at a sustainable hotel? I would love to hear your thoughts.
I would like to thank the Inspira for hosting me for three nights in return for this post. As always, my opinion remains honest and entirely m own.