Skip to content

You know when you fall in love with one thing in your hotel room? You photograph it, look it up online, picture it in your own home? In the case of The Ivens, the hottest little hotel in Lisbon right now, it’s a table… wait for it, that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker! A table – a really nice one that you can put things on and everything – but it’s a speaker, with controls! Somewhere to put your coffee and play Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King 12” remixes from! Who doesn’t got to have that!

And it’s not like The Ivens doesn’t have a lot of other things to get excited about either. It has plenty. From the doormen in their little safari suits setting the tone for a hotel based on jungle exploration, and two explorers in particular, through a lobby littered with curios from a gorgeous 70s orange glass chandelier to huge art books and chairs and a funny little concierge booth.

Up a very modern metal spiral staircase you’ll find the actual reception – again packed with spears and monkey statues and pictures and a carpet so busy it must have a job on the side – and then into the elevator to rooms that are, by contrast, surprisingly calming… even with the excitement over that table.

But perhaps the superstar angle to The Ivens is the adjoining bar and restaurant. Called Rocca, it is distinguished from the hotel, even from the outside, by its pink awnings next to the hotel’s bottle green ones. But step in from the street – or through the blank golden doors in the hotel entrance – and you’re in a whole new world of maximal design, mirrors and beauty. The room is dominated by a long oval bar with sit-up bar stools and stacked with brass shelves loaded with bottles that reach all the way up to the mirrored ceiling, which of course makes it seem to reach even further, into infinity. All that sparkly booze!

There are banquettes all the way round, huge glass lamps that come off more like retro heaters than light sources, fringed curtains and a whole wall dedicated to the mirrored DJ booth with retro vinyl facing out, taking its place among the many, many pictures and ceramics and… you get it? There’s a lot going on… all of it beautiful. Step around from the DJ booth and there are little terraced seating areas, while if you step down from the main bar, you reach an equally maximal Italian restaurant, all designed by Lázaro Rosa-Violán.


Coming off a little like the Orient Express exploded, Ristorante is all cushions and deco and beautiful glassware and loads of all of the above while the dinky little outside terrace under floral parasols with tiles fired to look like trellises is just too cute. The food? As old-school as the décor with classic Italian dishes served in a very classic way by staff as charming as you come to expect in Lisbon, where everyone seems to have an amazing sense of humour. The bathrooms downstairs, meanwhile, are a whole scene unto themselves. There’s talk of getting a DJ in there and you really wouldn’t be at all surprised.

‘There’s never really been anywhere like this in Lisbon,’ says a woman we get talking to sitting high at that bar in a seat that has florals and fringing and leather with a martini in hand. ‘But then Lisbon is unrecognisable from what it was ten years ago. So many cool new places!’ None cooler than this spot down a narrow street in the Bairro Alto, which is right where you want to be when you come to Lisbon. And if you want to come up and see that table sometime…