In the old city, just yards from the Museum of Ancient Art, is an aristocratic townhouse, 19th-century home of the novelist Eça de Queirós. It’s the perfect place to lay your head when in Lisbon and from the moment you are greeted by smiling Palmira you feel like an honoured guest. To one side of the reception are a handsome fireplace, a piano and comfortable chairs, and marble-topped tables for breakfast in winter. Summer breakfasts – and candlelit aperitifs – are enjoyed on a cobbled patio where a fountain gurgles and bougainvillea runs riot. Inside, a grand old spiral staircase lined with Bordalo Pinheiro cartoons takes you up to bedrooms comfortable and quietly charming. Expect Portuguese repro beds, smart curtains, pale carpets, pastel colours, dressing gowns and towels embroidered with the JV logo. (And instead of a ‘do not disturb’ sign there’s a hand-embroidered pillow that says ‘shhh!’). Some rooms have impressive views of the river Tejo – book early if you want one. A delectable small hotel, enlarged to include a cosy library on the top floor with an honesty bar and a lovely convivial feel.