These Light-Drenched Lisbon Apartments Let You Live Like a Local
Vacation made ultra-comfortable.
Published Mar 9, 2019 11:00 AM
Lisbon’s Baixa House is not quite an Airbnb and it’s homier than a hotel. So what is it? Located in the heart of Lisbon’s central Baixa district, sandwiched between the Alfama and Chiado neighborhoods, Baixa House is a block of 13 full-service apartment rentals available for short- and long-term stays. Trust us—you’ll want to extend your vacation as long as possible to stay here.
Inside, there’s no signage and no lobby. Simply buzz in and you’ll meet Baixa House’s attentive staff on the grand, winding staircase, who will greet you with a warm, Portuguese welcome. (Say olá to Anabela for me.) Immediately, you’ll feel at home. Perhaps too at home—a little “Should we just live here?” at home.
Here’s why: Instead of just a normal room with a bed and a bathroom, Baixa House boasts both fully furnished apartments and all the cleaning benefits of a hotel. Think a full kitchen, in-unit laundry, a refrigerator stocked every day with breakfast goodies (like fresh-squeezed juice, fruit, yogurt, homemade jam, and pastries), and daily cleanings. It’s just like home, if your home had 18th-century windows and someone to make your bed and leave fresh bread for you to enjoy.
So where did this lovely, light-drenched haven come from? Let’s take it back—way back—to 1775, when an earthquake destroyed much of Lisbon. This five-story Pombalino building was constructed a couple years later, following that devastation. Before Baixa House owner Jesús Moraime, a well-known landscape architect took over in 2007, the building was partially abandoned, with just three of the apartments occupied by families. Four years and many, many permits later, Baixa House opened for business.
A fundamental part of the construction plan was to preserve as many of the original features as possible. Everything Moraime could keep, he did: original tiles, windows, wide-planked floors, ceilings, and shutters. The decor, meanwhile, is so distinctively Portuguese, as Moraime spent years scouring local flea markets (specifically Feira da Ladra—add that to your “must visit in Lisbon” list) and local shops to design each apartment with one-of-a-kind Portuguese goods. Look for all the local treasures in each room, from the vintage furniture to custom rugs from Lanificios Alentejanos to green cabbage crockery.
Given Moraime’s primary career as a landscape architect, each of the 13 apartments is named after one of Lisbon’s gardens. The garden theme is sweetly subtle, with a photo of the namesake garden shot by Moraime and floral wallpaper, but it’s truly brought to life with freshly cut flowers in each room.
Each morning of our stay, my travel partner and I would map out our day’s stops over bites of the fresh baguette left out for us, fado on the stereo, and the stack of recommendations from the Baixa House team and former dwellers. It made for a carefree visit—like we lived there already, in our sun-drenched apartment with new neighbors to tell us where to get the best pastel de nata. On my way out of Lisbon, I dragged my feet down Baixa House’s grand staircase, begrudgingly handed the keys back to Anabela, said obrigada, and immediately started plotting my return.
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