GatVoices #1

At the Gatrooms hotels in Lisbon and Berlin, we think of our teams as superhumans working hard to offer our guests the perfect hotel experience. This task can sometimes be challenging, but they always nail it in the end. In order to reveal what goes into creating “the perfect stay at Gatrooms hotels”, we have created a forum for our staff to describe their everyday life at work.

The day my world turned dark
by João Martins

It’s in adversity that we show the world what kind of person we truly are. This phrase has been repeated and shared so many times that it has become a cliché. But clichés are only clichés because they’re true (up to a point).

This rang very true to me last year, on a day that can only be described as #$””! hell but that taught me that I was capable of going through all of it and making it to the other side.

For those who don’t know me, I work in Sales & Marketing at Gat Rossio. Among the many things I do, I supervise events from start to end to make sure all our clients’ needs are met. That was what I was doing with a series of workshops on SEO, Google Adwords and Analytics being led by two of the most talented professionals I have ever met. If I hadn’t been working, I would have gladly paid to take part and grow as a professional.

The workshops had been going on for a couple of weekends, but that day, as I arrived at the hotel at 7:30 in the morning, I saw from the outside that all the lights were off. The first #$%=? of the day escaped my lips and that wonderfully terrible word would continue to accompany me throughout the day.

Apparently, an electrical issue had occurred late the night before, and the hotel had lost everything, and I mean EVERYTHING: no electricity, no water, no phones, no Wi-Fi. The little power we were somehow able to produce with backup generators was directed towards the breakfast room. Guests walked the hallways in eerie calm using phones to light their way. What struck me was the silence: no background music, no machines whirring, no talking. Nothing.

And in the midst of it all, my greatest concern was the fact that in two hours’ time I would have to have a tech-based workshop up and running, with no power available. My colleagues had been working overtime since 03:00 to try and get things working.

So, I did what any rational person would do in this situation:  I RAN!

Well…not quite. First, I went to speak with the organizers to advise them of the situation and assure them that I was going to make it work. Then I ran.

I ran into the streets, visiting the surrounding hotels in the area to see if they had any space available, how much it would cost, and so on. I was chasing solutions.

I found one at International Design Hotel; their team were my salvation, particularly David and the maintenance team, who helped me set everything up. I was a sweaty, cursing, adrenaline-fueled mess but I was moving forward.

Once my solution was ready, I ran back, hoping against all hope that my clients and their students would be open to the idea and that the issue had been resolved so that everything could return to the original plan.

Fortunately, my clients are some of the best people I have ever met. Seriously, if I had been in their shoes, I would not have been as calm! They were happy with the solution, and enjoying the change of pace, I walked with them to the hotel and talked with some of them, turning the walk into a tour. When they were settled, I kept watch to make sure everything was working as planned. Two hours later a miracle took place: the hotel was fixed and all was well with the world.

Even better, although the clients liked the new space, they considered my hotel their headquarters and said they would prefer to return there after lunch.

And return we did. As they settled in and I entered into a more relaxed state of mind, I could only be in awe of the day, of myself, and of these fantastic people that had helped me set up alternatives and that didn’t explode in righteous anger at their day being ruined by something outside of anyone’s control.

The only control I had over that day was over myself and how I handled and reacted to events, and I’m proud to say I did quite alright.

So, don’t despair when life comes at you with a total blackout. Things might not go as well as they did for me, but keep moving forward and do your best so you can end your day tired, but with your head held high. Don’t stop trying.

Healthy, conscious brunches in Lisbon

Good food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and what better than enjoy it somewhere that offers you the chance to make conscious, ethical choices? An eatery that offers high quality, fresh organic produce and backs the slow food movement by serving locally-sourced food?

We have selected 5 restaurants in Lisbon that offer vegan and vegetarian options for enjoying some of the best brunches in the city.

@thevegantravelers

Therapist

As its name suggests, beyond being an ideal venue for savouring vegan specialities, Therapist is also a centre for alternative therapies that offers workshops and training courses. Surrounded by agencies and studios, bars, restaurants, boutique stores and theatres, it exudes the same creative vibe as the rest of the LX Factory complex, where it is located.

@obotanista

O Botanista

Simple, unprocessed homestyle food is the star of the show in this culinary paradise, which not only offers diners a mean brunch but great live music, too. Insider tip: Don’t miss the chance to try the best vegan cheese in Lisbon, Gopal Vegan Cheese, which they make right here on the premises!

@naked


Naked

Naked by name, naked by nature. This restaurant avoids any unnecessary processing to serve the cleanest, most naked food possible. Their brunch is available every day of the week and includes several homemade products, including yogurt, granola, fruit jams and juices of the day.

@Mymothersdaughters

My Mother’s Daughters

Are you looking for a slow food vegan brunch? The support given by My Mother’s Daughters to local producers and craftsmen is reflected both in their cuisine and the restaurant’s decor. This place is a small, organic, sustainable café with a huge heart.

@juicylisboa

Juicy Lisboa

This informal café serves a delicious brunch and is just a stone’s throw from Hotel Gat Rossio in the Baixa neighbourhood. We also highly recommend their famous wraps, granola bowls and, of course, their juices.

Natal at Gat Rossio

The Gat Rossio Hotel in Lisbon becomes an even more special place to be at Christmas, or Natal as it is known here. Our entrance comes alive with coloured lights, festive decorations sparkle in the hotel interior and Michael Bublé, the unquestionable king of Christmas crooning, is the star of our playlist. The team love to sing along to get in the holiday mood, and our guests feel like they never want to leave…

The city itself is also transformed during the festive season. Lisbon’s most emblematic squares are inundated with Christmas markets (find out more here: https://whereis.gatrooms.com/natal-in-lisbon-christmas-markets/) and there are plenty of seasonal activities to tempt you in the run-up to the holiday:

@dicasdelisboa

• How about seeing the Christmas lights being switched on first-hand on 24 November? The city will be lit up at 6 pm sharp, as will the 86,000 bulbs on the city Christmas tree.

@discoverwalks

• Head to Pedro IV square, more commonly known as Plaza Rossio, and enjoy the Christmas market and decorations. Don’t forget to indulge in a mouth-watering bolo rei (traditional sweet bread) from the legendary Confeitaria Nacional.

@portugalconfidential

• Enjoy ice skating to the rhythm of Christmas carols at the Wonderland Lisboa fairground while a crowd searches for gifts at the stalls selling local crafts and the air is filled with the sweet smell of hot chocolate. There will also be a rink at Praça do Comércio, so don’t miss out!

@lxfactory

• LX Factory is a fantastic ally for the colder winter days: warm up as you savour a comforting hot chocolate at Landeau Chocolate.

@cascaischristmasvillage

• Cascais Christmas Village converts the seaside town into a winter dreamland with a fairground, ice skating rink and Father Christmas even parades through the streets.
Over in Sintra, the Reino do Natal or “Christmas Kingdom” offers festive visitors a Christmas market, seasonal entertainment and historical views.

• Finally, make sure you check out the many choirs, carollers, concerts and shows that help bring Lisbon to life over the Christmas period!

Discover Lisbon in a weekend

Welcome to our 2-day guide for discovering our favourite spots in Lisbon. If you are lucky enough to have more than a weekend in the city, make sure you take a look at our travel blog: https://whereis.gatrooms.com/

Day 1

Our adventure begins as we leave the Gat Rossio hotel in Baixa to discover the neighbourhood’s emblematic squares: Praça dos Restauradores, Praça do Rossio and Praça do Comércio. Make sure you get an early start to avoid queues at the Elevador de Santa Justa (Santa Justa lift).

@lisboando

Move on to Chiado and take a stroll down Rua Garett before making a pitstop at the famous A Brasileira café for their speciality: a delicious cup of “bica”, a Portuguese espresso.

@traveldailymedia

Make time to browse the shelves at Bertrand, which they say is the oldest bookstore in the world.

@10things

Are you a brunch lover? If so, Topo Bar is the place for enjoying good food and great views.

Later, delve into Portugal’s fascinating history in Bairro Alto. Visit the Museu da Farmácia (Pharmacy Museum), the MUHNAC (National Natural History and Science Museum) or the Museu de São Roque and its sacred art.

Admire the ruins of the Nossa Senhora do Vencimento do Monte do Carmo Church.

@cntraveler

End your afternoon wandering through Rua do Norte and Rua da Rosa. Have a drink at the Park bar before enjoying a night of authentic fado music in Tasca do Chico.

Day 2

Your Sunday morning is for the Alfama neighbourhood. Take a walk through Castelo de São Jorge (Saint George’s Castle) and relish the fabulous views from the Santa Lucía and Jardim do Recolhimento lookout points.

@lisboando

As you make your way down Rua de São Miguel, you will come across some well-guarded secrets, such as the Miradouro das Portas do Sol lookout. Make sure you also visit the legendary Lisbon Cathedral–Sé–or the Renaissance palace, Casa dos Bicos.

@suitecasemag

Finish your whistlestop tour of the city in Mouraria, which is making a comeback thanks to its narrow streets, alternative bars and restaurants and its vast number of fado music houses.

Travel Smart in Lisbon: Chiado

@christophertriplife
Chiado is known as one of the most elegant, bohemian neighbourhoods in Lisbon. The ruins of the Convento do Carmo embody part of the area’s rich history, and the hum of its streets, such as Rua Garett–which is surrounded by countless theatres, museums and cafés–transmits its frenetic energy.
Chiado is just a short, easy ride from Praça dos Restauradores on the No.28 tram.

@Ray – www.101motivosparaviajar.com
If you need to fuel up for a busy day, A Brasileira is the perfect place for enjoying a bica.
Interesting fact: “Bica” is Lisbon slang for an espresso. Legend has it that this word came into being in this very café when its founder, Adriano Telles, put a sign on the door that said “Beba isto com açucar” (B. I. C. A) (drink this with sugar).

@PastelariaBernard – www.facebook.com/PastelariaBenard
To accompany a strong cup of coffee with a French-style croissant, make your way to Pastelaria Benard, but if a delicious, freshly baked local custard tart is what you’re craving, head over to Manteigaria.

@get10things.com
If you’re more of a brunch lover or fancy some petiscos (tapas) with great views over the city and the Santa Justa lift, Topo bar is the ideal place, both during the day and in the evening.
A visit to Chiado means opening yourself to new experiences that you couldn’t have anywhere else. Isn’t that what travelling is all about?
Let’s see if we can get your juices flowing with these two:

@visitportugal – www.visitportugal.com
Why not eat lunch at the restaurant at Palácio Chiado, a palace that dates back to 1781?

@cristinaconde – blog.bibliotech.education
Or how about sipping a coffee while you read a book at Bertrand, the oldest bookshop in the world? Fernando Pessoa was a regular here!
These are just a few of the exciting new experiences waiting for you to discover in one of the hottest areas in Lisbon.
Don’t forget to make the most of the infinite options for enjoying the city’s hectic nightlife too, such as a stop at Cinco Lounge, one of the first cocktail bars in the city, or indulging in the creations mixed at Toca da Raposa, another cosy, bijou cocktail venue.

A game of (de)construction – Art Exhibition

We are glad to present the latest art exhibition at Gat Rossio Hotel called ‘A game of deconstruction’, a series of collages by the artist Marco Laborda.

 “I like to think these collages convey the complexity of the human being. The edges, the emptiness and the constant movement we experience. We live in a state of constant alteration, which I feel inside me. Today I am not the same as yesterday, I am evolving and I am involutive in other cases” explains the author.

Laborda combines his work as creative director of Neurads with projects such as ‘Altered’, the design of the posters of the joint tour of the poet Elvira Sastre and singer Andrés Suárez or the editorial for the Neo2 magazine entitled “Down the Rabbit Hole”.

Cutting and pasting living elements, Marco has managed to produce striking stories. “The collage contains this peculiarity: you can play with the faces and modify them. I like to create incomplete figures, under construction”. This reflection has given birth to the present exhibition. “In a world with a lot of noise and distractions, art allows me to be alone, just by cutting photographs and playing with them”. Now is the time to share them.

The inauguration will take place on September 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the Hotel Gat Rossio (R. do Jardim do Regedor 27) and it will be followed by the vernissage cocktail.

The exhibition will remain in the heart of the Portuguese capital for three months.

Download the Press Release: EXPO MARCO

See the Facebook Event