Glancing out from the top floor windows of the Corinthia Hotel, Lisbon, the Portuguese capital sprawls away below me.
From my vantage point I can take in stunning views over the eighteenth-century Águas Livres Aqueduct.
A remarkable feat of engineering, the project was initiated by King John V and sought to solve a historic lack of drinking water in the city.
It was paid for by a sales tax on products including beef, olive oil and wine, and has stood the test of time, surviving the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, which almost destroyed the rest of the city.
Also visible is the Monsanto Natural Park – quite a sight in its own right.
I am seated in the executive Sky Lounge at this exclusive property, considering what to do with my few short hours in residence.
At the foot of the hotel the Soul Garden offers me over 3,000 square metres of verdant foliage to explore, a haven of peace in the bustle of the city.
It is the perfect place for after work gatherings or laid-back evenings, with events of all kinds helped along by irresistible cocktails, light bites, lounge seating and curated music.
But travelling alone, it might not be quite right for me on this occasion.
Earlier in the day, I had enjoyed my time at the Erva restaurant.
While everything on the menu showcased authentic Portuguese cuisine, from the octopus carpaccio and bacalhau to the sweet pastel de nata and fine ports, the shoulder lamb I selected was a triumph.
Juicy, succulent and served solo, it was impressive dish, not to mention the accompanying delicious cocktails and the relaxed environment.
Seating 90, the restaurant has floor to ceiling windows, leather vintage-style chairs, rustic wood dining tables, a natural colour palette of dark greens and browns accented by living walls and selected artworks from contemporary Portuguese artists.
One wall features a fridge showcasing hanging meat supplied by local producers, while a grill bar allows guests to watch their meat, fish and root vegetables being prepared.
It is a great place for both hotel guests and diners from elsewhere looking for a taste of Portugal.
But what else? What else…
Located a two-minute drive away, just northeast of Eduardo VII Park, sits the Gulbenkian Museum, home to one of the world’s finest private art collections.
Amassed over a period of 40 years by oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian, it remains one of Europe’s lesser-known jewels.
Ancient highlights include an Egyptian mummy mask, an exquisite 2,700-year-old alabaster bowl, and a 2,400-year-old Attic vase, while European highlights include pieces by Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, Claude Monet, Van Dyck, and Rogier Van der Weyden.
But, with just hours until departure, I was loath to leave the comfort of the hotel.
Still staring out of the window, I considered that I could perhaps head back down to the room?
Corinthia Hotel Lisbon recently unveiled the first phase of a €15 million guest bedroom and suite makeover, after all.
I had been accommodated in a new deluxe junior suite, cloaked in a relaxing colour palette of light blues, greys and beiges.
A generous bottle of port had been a welcome surprise on arrival, while the fruit had been a nice touch.
Also included in the newly designed room was a walk-in wardrobe from a local Portuguese cabinetmaker, a marble bathroom, tropical rain shower and toiletries from ESPA, all of which made the place feel like a home-from-home.
Art depicting local subjects from native photographer Nuno Cera and figurative painter Susana Bravo adorned the walls, however, reminding me I was still in Portugal.
“We need to keep our product relevant to our guests and this renovation takes us into the future with a more residential feel to the rooms, softer tones and state-of-the-art technology,” explained Corinthia Hotel Lisbon general manager Roderick Micallef.
By the end of 2019 all 518 rooms of Corinthia Hotel Lisbon will be completed, he added.
But I had spent enough time in the room.
Then it came to, the Corinthia Spa, the heart of the hotel.
Offering harmony and tranquillity, the facility is spread over a generous 3,500 square metres and features 13 treatment rooms, a cutting-edge gym and heated indoor swimming pool.
It also includes access to exceptional aqua therapy facilities.
This one-of-a-kind sanctuary is dedicated to rejuvenation and features a never-ending line of marvels that start with a combination of different water therapy jets and includes attractions such as the hydrotherapy pool, Jacuzzi, sensory showers, cooling walk, ice bucket, crushed ice fountain and cold plunge.
However, none of this appealed on this occasion.
After a few hours in the warm embrace of the Corinthia Hotel, Lisbon, I merely wanted to relax, and a massage seemed like the perfect avenue to explore.
Working with an expert team of therapists, personal trainers, nutritionists and beauty professionals, the spa is able to create bespoke therapeutic and results-driven experiences.
Within minutes of stepping out of the elevator, I was stripping down in the privacy of the treatment room with the masseuse creating the perfect environment for relaxation.
This is it, I thought, just what I wanted.
Corinthia Lisbon, opened in 2004, is a 21st-century upscale hotel located seven kilometres from the airport and only short distance from the historic city centre, with excellent public transportation links.
Created with a passion for craftsmanship and an understanding of world-class service, Corinthia Lisbon is a member of Corinthia Hotels’ collection of five-star luxury hotels founded by the Pisani family of Malta.
The property is recognised as the World’s Leading City Hotel by the World Travel Awards.
Find out more on the official website.