Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn: An apartment in Lisbon

A blink and you'd miss it door on a busy street, a dark, mysterious hallway decorated in soft pink and blue rose tiles, a steep staircase with creaking wooden steps. There would be no denying that staying in this self-catering apartment in Lisbon with six other bloggers was going to be a genuine and authentic experience.This astonishingly spacious apartment is walking distance from Lisbon's Marquis de Pombal Square, a grand, tree lined plaza leaning up hill towards a ginormous statue of the first Portuguese Marquis, who sits atop and watches the traffic beep and shuffle around one of the city's most vibrant (read busy and noisy) roundabout.

Thankfully, the apartment is far enough away for the car horns to be unheard, but the action and energy of this area can still be felt like little pulses of electricity from the moment you walk out the door to explore. This is something that hotel, hostel and guest house accommodation just doesn't deliver; that instant acceptance and integration. We bloggers like this and so we made the apartment our own, laptops and cables littering every surface, discussions of SEO and social media filling the tall rafters, and we became virtually first name friends with the owners of the coffee shop around the corner.

We occupied seven bedrooms of varying sizes but each had a little charm and a lot of comfort. I was lucky enough to have one of the front bedrooms.Tall white walls and ceiling mean I can rightfully describe it as bright and airy. A double door balcony means I could see, hear and feel part of the action outside as I perched myself there attempting Juliet-on-her-balcony-style romantic thoughts. And that first night as I pulled away the cover sheets to get into bed for the first time I noticed bright orange and brown floral vintage sheets. Others would have wrinkled their noses and expressed distaste. Not this vintage-loving Birdie, I "ooh-ed" aloud and alone and wriggled under the flowers with glee.

The bathroom was modernised and clean, the kitchen was a decent size and well equipped and two reception rooms granted adequate breathing space to us all. The bathroom was modernised and clean, the kitchen was a decent size and well equipped and two reception rooms granted adequate breathing space to us all. With the apartment description stating that it can sleep up to 18 if all the double room occupants had sleeping buddies, you would have to introduce a shower schedule to avoid unnecessary arguments over the one and only bathroom but at only 47 Euros per night per person (no matter how many of you there are) then you could probably afford to not wash and buy new clothes. P.S. Lisbon is great for shopping, the main area of Chiado being a twenty minute downhill walk away.

With my extended travels now nearing the one year mark, I have grown to appreciate this "home from home" style of accommodation more and more. From our apartment in Amsterdam to the quirky flat we stayed at in Sydney I felt and still feel more connected to these places than I do the hotels we have stayed in. I try not to think too much about houses and apartments having soul or character because I worry that that will ultimately lead to me becoming "attached" and thus will stop me travelling , but it's hard not to embrace it all the same when you stay in truly authentic and charming places like this apartment in Lisbon.

Disclosure: Thanks to HouseTrip for a wonderful stay in this wonderful apartment and thank you Lisbon for being a wonderful city.

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
Find Frankie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

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