They say that travel cures your wanderlust. Not for me! Once I start traveling, I don’t to stop. Case in point; though I’m currently soaking up all the sun and surf I can get in Maui (more on Stories if you want deet on my trip), I now desperately want to book my next trip to Portugal. It’s actually been on my travel wishlist for quite some time now, but after my fave roving reporter Megan McCarty returned with rave reviews and stunning photos, now I’m really read to hop another plane. Maybe Thanksgiving in Portugal would be nice! I’m not a huge turkey fan anyway. Anywho, keep reading to discover the place to stay in Lisbon.
Seems like everyone is going to Portugal these days.
And for good reason. The wine is cheap, the beaches are wow-worthy and don’t even get me started on the pastel de nata.
Despite Portugal, and capital city Lisbon in particular, being the locale du jour lately, there’s still a welcome grit to the country. Old women leer from above, their elbows hanging out of their second, third, fourth story apartments – the original neighborhood watch committee. Laundry, strung from windows, waves in the wind. The hills are steep and the cobblestone streets are not for the faint-of-rolling-an-ankle.
To feel like a local in the beautiful, buzzing city, book a stay at Baixa House. It’s not quite a hotel, but not an Airbnb either. It’s more than a bed and breakfast and definitely more than enough to convince you to pack up your life and live in Lisbon forever.
So what is it? Baixa House is a block of 13 full-service apartment rentals in the center of Lisbon’s historic Baixa (downtown) district, tucked between the Alfama and Chiado neighborhoods. It’s a home far, far away from home – a home in which someone else makes your bed. A full kitchen? Check. Laundry? Yep. Daily cleanings? The best. Fresh bread is hung on your apartment door each morning, while the fridge is stocked daily with breakfast goodies such as fresh squeezed juice, cheese, butter, yogurt and jam.
Like most things in life, it’s all about the details: fresh cut flowers brightening each room, fado music in the stereo system, a kitchen stocked with all the essentials. The gracious and knowledgeable staff go so above and way beyond to make you feel at home too. It feels like you’re visiting a friend’s place, a friend who has a beautiful, sun-soaked apartment and who is happy to call that restaurant you’re considering and who sneaks in during the day to wash your dishes. They know hospitality at Baixa House, which begins before you even arrive, with key tips on how to get a cab from the airport. (Note: nab one at the arrivals entrance, not the departures exit. There’s no line and the drivers tend to be more friendly.) Or if you’re arriving by car, Baixa House will advise you on the closest and most secure parking spots.
So what’s the story behind this wonderful place, so unassuming with no signage, no lobby? Take it back to the 18th century; the five-story Pombalino building was constructed in 1775 after an earthquake devastated much of Lisbon. What is now Baixa House is owned by landscape architect Jesus Moraime, who carefully restored the building to conserve as much history as possible. You’ll see this from floor (wide, wooden planks) to ceiling (beautiful original beams) and everything in between (doors, windows, tiles).
Each unit is named after a garden in the city, and includes a photograph of the garden by Moraime, while the decor is so distinctly Portuguese, since Moraime spent years scouring area flea markets for furnishings that were just right. And they are just right, from the vintage furniture to custom rugs and green cabbage crockery, all locally sourced. It feels like home. Well done, Baixa House. You’re a beauty.
What a place, what a city, what a country. Now, when can I move in?
For all of Megan’s adventures, CLICK HERE.
photography c/o Baxia House and by megan mccarty