Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Club Lounge, Sheraton Lisboa

The Club Lounge at the Sheraton Lisboa is a fairly small lounge, offering typical Sheraton Lounge service: limited breakfast, snacks in the afternoon, evening canapes and drinks.  The food was not very good.  Like the Lobby Bistro downstairs, items weren't really labelled.

There is no business center, no board room, nothing extra.

It was also the least friendly lounge I've ever been to.  My key card did not work on the first day, nor did the cards for two others who were standing in the hall unable to get in.  They said that they tried to get in, and the Sheraton staff member just ignored them every time he walked by.  He finally made eye contact with me, and came out to tell us to go away, and go to reception.  We did, and the line there was crazy long with folks checking out.  The whole ordeal added at least 30 minutes to my getting breakfast the first day.

Once I finally got in, he did not offer coffee nor tea.  He really just stormed around the lounge the entire time, not speaking to anyone except to ask their room numbers as they entered, double checking that they were valid guests.

This is in stark contrast to say the Club Lounge at the Sheraton on the Park in Sydney, where the staff take the time to get to know you on day one, greet you by name, know your favorites by day two, and take care of any extra thing you need.

Setting

The Club Lounge at the Sheraton Lisboa is located on the 24th floor, with sweeping views over Lisbon.  The views are probably the highlight of the space.
Main Room.
The main room has a TV, espresso machine, tea station, and buffet along one side.

The room has small tables for 2-3, with comfortable padded chairs.

Little vases with fresh flowers adorn the tables.
Side Room.
The side room has a wall of mirrors with bench seating, with a row of tables for two with cloth arm chairs opposite.

This is also where a juicer is set up at breakfast, and a small tea station is located.

Breakfast

The breakfast spread is *much* smaller than what is in the buffet downstairs, but, the lounge is quiet and peaceful, so if you want a simple breakfast, it is a much nicer option, ambiance-wise.
Espresso Maker.
In the main room is a Nespresso machine.  The first day, I helped myself to it, as did other guests.  The next day, I was actually asked what I'd like to drink, and I said a decaf Americano, and pointed at the machine, saying I could do it.  Instead, I was escorted over to the machine to watch the guy make it, not as I like (I like a big, full coffee, so I want water in first, then the pod).  I'm not sure if we all broke the rules the first day?

But a few days later, I watched everyone making their own, and no one interfered.  I don't really understand the rules, and I've certainly been to lounges where they absolutely do not let you make your own, so I'm always cautious.
Juicer!
In the side room was a juicer, with apples, oranges, and carrots on the side.

On my last day, I finally decided to try it.  No one else was.

It was ... well, fresh juice.  I made a carrot juice.  It was what it was.
Pastries, Breads.
They had pastries, a much smaller selection than what is available in the restaurant.

Just plain croissants, chocolate croissants, apple strudel, and soft torpedo rolls in one basket, hard bread rolls in another, and bread to slice below.  A standard toaster and jams and butter were provided, no Nutella.
Smoked Salmon, Caviar and Blinis, Cut Fruit, Muesli.
They had slightly different fruit options, including some mediocre chunks of papaya.

The caviar from downstairs also made an appearance, with slightly fewer accompaniments.

No natural yogurt, but a few packaged yogurts were available in the drink fridge.
Meat, Cheese, Cereal.
And again, reduced selection.  Tomato and mozzarella salad that looked as bad as downstairs (seriously, those tomatoes!), a single type of sliced cheese, and single type of sliced meat.

Interestingly, the cereal choices were different.  Downstairs had bran sticks, corn flakes, and a chocolate cereal.  Here we had corn flakes and a raisin bran with coconut flakes

Only one type of (unlabeled) milk.

The raisin bran turned out to be basically my favorite thing out of both downstairs and upstairs breakfast.  Large flakes, good crunch.  I liked the addition of the coconut.  I had it with vanilla soy milk to sweeten it up.  Simple, but not awful.
Hot Food, Drinks.
A single chafing dish had some scrambled eggs and bacon, and was never replenished while I was there, as the lounge was not busy, and no one went for this.

For drinks there was basic orange juice, a red juice, champagne, and still water laid out, although other drinks were in the fridge.

Apples and oranges were in a bowl on the side.

Afternoon

In the afternoon, a few snacks are laid out.  Not sure when, not sure if they change, but I stopped in one afternoon to escape my crazy hot room, and was happy to find egg tarts.
Peanuts, Chips, Olives.
Plain peanuts, salty chips, and, uh, salty olives.

I had a few chips, just classic ripple potato chips.  This selection never changed.
Tomato and Mozzarella Skewers, Lemons, Melted Ice.
I wanted ice for my water since it was warm, but, this was a bucket of melted ice most days.

The little appetizer changed daily, tomato and mozzarella skewers one day, watermelon (!) skewers the next.
Pastel de Nata (Egg Tarts), Cookies.
I was pretty excited when I saw the egg tarts.  I had no expectations that they'd be good, except that I kno the hotel sells them in the restaurant for 7€, so I thought they might be decent.

And ... they were about on par with the breakfast baked goods.  The pastry crust wasn't flaky, the filling was just kinda meh.  I know the burnt top is how these tarts are supposed to be, but I really didn't care for the charred taste.  Just go to Pastéis de Belém and don't bother with anywhere else.
Apple Pastries, Cookies.
The next day featured different sweets - larger, hard cookies, and burnt apple strudel.
Assorted Fruit.
Whole fruit was available all day, for the healthy folks.  The grapes were mushy.

Happy Hour (5-7pm)

The evening brings a happy hour, with appetizers.
Canapes.
One station was spoons filled with ... stuff.  None are labelled.

From back row to front, they seemed to be:
White bread disk with ... cream cheese and a cherry on top?  It looked like egg salad at first as it was slightly yellow, but, it tasted like just cream cheese.  And, uh, a cherry?  Did not like.

Bacon wrapped date.  Crispy bacon, sweet date.  Hard to go wrong here.

Slice of a wrap, tortilla, cream cheese, carrots, cucumbers.  Mushy wrap, more cream cheese, meh.
Fruit Platter.
 The fruit platter was loaded with  melons, so I stayed away.
Tuna Sandwiches.
Finger sandwiches, with some kind of mayo based light meat product, I think tuna.  I didn't try them.
Hot Items: Meatballs, Salmon Skewers.
Around 5:15pm, hot food finally showed up.

Mini meatballs in a brown sauce (not tomato based?  I couldn't tell).  They tasted like frozen, boring mini meatballs.

The salmon skewers were very overcooked and fishy.  No glaze or sauce provided.  Did not like.
Cheese Platter.
4 types of mediocre cheese, walnuts, raisins, crackers, sliced baguette.

Not the most exciting cheese platter, no soft triple cream, no dried fruit besides raisins, no spiced nuts ... really just nothing very good.
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