I shared in a previous post, my process for deciding where to go, where to stay and I highly recommend you check out that post.

Choosing Pestana was actually a little of a no brainer. It had 3 major things going for it. Location, Price and the fact it was New. To be honest, the Newness factor is more often than not a disadvantage. New hotels generally aren’t quite settled in yet- so you can feel the growing pains. Staff may not be sufficiently trained early on and there are usually design elements that seemed rather cool on paper but fall apart when put to actual use.

For some reason, I have a high tolerance for all that. I love to see a space in the originally intended design before it gets wrecked by usage, before design changes are made to accommodate reality; when the hotel rooms are still empty because the hotel is still trying to get the word out, when the staff are still overly eager to please before they get jaded and the housekeeping starts to drop into mediocrity. I exaggerate for emphasis, but you get the point.

For context, I narrowed my choices to the following 5 hotels:

Hotel Icon Wipton: New, my kind of design, under $150/nt*
Hotel Cool Rooms Atocha: New, large size rooms, loved the bathrooms, pricey $300/nt
Pestana Plaza: New, Location could not be beat, Unique design $200/nt
Only You: Instagram worthy spaces, not Brand New, but relatively young hotel $200/nt- however not all rooms created equal and some of the best were closing in on $400/nt
Relais & Chateau heritage: New, utmost Luxury and Pricey $400+ for standard rooms
*prices for the dates of my trip

So Pestana it was and here are my two cents on my 3 nights at the property

The hotel is located super central in Plaza Mayor (you couldn’t ask for a better location). Shops, food, markets, historical sights, all in short walking distance. But more than that, we got a room with a total of 3 balconies, 2 of them connected and facing the Plaza and one facing a lovely and romantic alley that leads off the Plaza to a street filled with tapas bars and people just relaxing and enjoying downtime.
We only closed our balcony doors late in the night, the music from the Plaza gave our trip an additional level of energy that I will never forget. It had me rethinking my past idea of staying away from overly centrally located hotels. It never got rowdy to be disturbing and the rooms are so well soundproofed that once the doors were closed, we didn’t hear anything.

DESIGN: Our room (a Junior Suite) had a small but effective corner sitting area. A sofa would have been preferable, but the seating choices made sense for the space. Most evenings we pulled our chairs up to the narrow balcony and soaked in the atmosphere.
The room highlight was the King bed with gorgeous blue and white tiles (I’ve often associated this kind of tilework with Portugal) that made the room feel extra special. The bed didn’t only look good – it was extra comfortable too.
Our bathroom didn’t have a tub – those are limited to certain room configurations, but it was still a solid one, with a divider keeping the toilet space separate from the shower. I also would never understand why hotels seem to hate hooks- there’s never enough of them.
The lobby, restaurant and lounge area made for an overall comfortable and relaxing space, the kind that sometimes tempts you into staying in. Also, in this Instagram era, there were photo ops at every turn.


Amenities: A few areas we felt the hotel fell short were in additional offerings. Being a small hotel, there just wasn’t that much. The rooftop pool was tiny and packed to the max each time we tried to visit. We didn’t even get to take pictures, because all the guests must have realized that if you were to get any pool time, you had to get there extra early and hold on to your spot the entire day.
Room Service at night was slow and we found the late-night offerings lacking – to the point that we got snacks on final night as we didn’t want to have to order anything.

Housekeeping: This we felt was the rather unfortunate part. Our overall experience and memories of Pestana are skewed so heavily positive, all this inspite of what we felt was lackluster housekeeping. Daily cleanings felt super rushed, I had to ask them to return one day as so many little things were missed- some which seemed obvious. But the kicker was the room next to us that put out their room service tray- and the tray stayed there for 2 straight days. It seemed like all housekeeping staff had gone on strike against that room and had all decided that they wouldn’t touch the tray from that room- there was no other way to explain it.

In closing- some of the issues may be attributed to New Hotel pains. Staff were generally helpful and considerate. The front desk could have used a little more coverage at nights as we walked in some nights real late and had to wait for someone to get back to reception- not their fault as they were clearly helping another guest.

Would I return: YES. Definitely. All good memories.

Below a few cool selections for a hotel stay:


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