After meeting the group over a quick glass of bubbly at the airport we departed on our two hour flight from Heathrow and soon landed in sunny Lisbon. This historical city, full of culture and character is just a short 10 minutes transfer from the airport, making it the ideal location for groups and conferences. We had 3 days in Portugal’s capital to discover all that it has to offer!
As SANA Hotels were hosting we wasted no time in getting to our first show around at the Myriad Hotel – a flagship for the group. In the shape of a sail and located on the banks of the river Tagus this stunning hotel boast 176 rooms and 10 suites all with panoramic views.
In addition to its 3 meeting spaces it is connected by a covered aerial bridge to a dedicated Conference and Event Centre with another 7 meeting rooms, 5 boardrooms, foyer and terrace, in a total of 1,690 m2. We were lucky enough to dine and stay here for one night and I can honestly say the food and service was exceptional. As the hotel is sleek, modern and crisp I would highly recommend this for VIP’s, product launches and special events as it really does have the ‘wow’ factor!
SANA Hotels had partnered with Abreu – a DMC company to arrange our jam-packed itinerary of activities, sightseeing and transfers for the trip. We met with Augusta and Manuel who were excellent hosts and knew possibly all there is to know about Lisbon! They took us on a cable car ride along the river towards the centre of the city, while giving us a brief history lesson.
Once in the town we headed up the steep streets to St George Castle which had fantastic views over the city and helped us to get our bearings. There is a restaurant and terrace next to the castle which can take groups of up to 100 for dinner and drinks receptions.
The following morning Abreu had arranged a super-fast speedboat ride to blow out the cobwebs. We toured from the hotel past the 25 de Abril Bridge, seeing all of Lisbon’s sites on the way. I would highly recommend this to any incentive/conference group coming to the city as it is a great way to see the place and certainly gets the adrenalin pumping!
Once we were safely on dry land we took a tour around the Museum of Coaches -this houses the largest collection of royal coaches in the world and can be hired for special events and gala dinners. We then had a site visit of the SANA Malhoa Hotel which has 185 bedrooms, a lovely conservatory restaurant and 7 flexible meeting rooms for up to 700 delegates.
That afternoon we were split into two groups and tasked with completing a GPS challenge where we had to navigate ourselves around the city while solving clues and doing tasks at each check point. This was a great teambuilding exercise and pushed everyone out of their comfort zones. It was also a fantastic way to see the city and learn facts about Lisbon on the way! I would suggest this to any group to Lisbon wanting a teambuilding activity.
After our long day of exploring we had certainly worked up an appetite so headed to The Epic SANA Hotel where we were rewarded by a 6 course tasting menu designed specifically for us by the head chef. To say we were spoilt is an understatement! We also had a tour of this vast hotel – which boasts the largest event space in Lisbon spreading over 13 meeting rooms and 1 ballroom and accommodating up to 1300 people theatre style.
There are also 311 stunning bedrooms, a wellness spa, 2 restaurants and an infinity rooftop pool where you can host the most fantastic drinks receptions. If large groups were to use this hotel for conferences, the bedrooms can be split amongst the other SANA hotels easily as they are all close by.
On our last day we took a drive out of Lisbon to explore more venues in the neighboring towns of Cascais and Sintra. We visited Arriba, a modern and versatile venue set up on the coastline of Cascais where you can host events and dinners around the swimming pool while looking out on the crashing waves of the Atlantic sea.
My favourite venue was situated on the winding road up to Sintra – The Colares Cellar. This stunning winery could host a range of events from a modern conference to a medieval style banquet for 400 people surrounded by the old oak barrels in the cellar.
I have to say a massive thank you to SANA hotels for hosting such an insightful and fun-packed trip. Together with Abreau DMC they really did create a memorable trip and showed us everything that Lisbon and this area of Portugal have to offer. Considering the short flight time, great weather, amazing range of venues, delicious food, fun activities and value for money, I would highly recommend this as a conference and incentive destination for our clients.