The Bairro Alto is one of the oldest parts of Lisbon, high up and back, a grid of narrow cobbled streets, poor housing and grand architecture with views over the city and the river Tejo. It is also an area now bristling with bars, boutiques and eateries, attracting the curious and the Bohemian. By night, the sights and sounds of this bustling maze beguile the senses. By day, piles of uncollected litter compete with building-sites, graffiti and dog-poo to dispel any glamour.
There are a few hotels in the area, of which the Casa das Janelas com Vista is one and it is presented in great minimalist, semi-industrial, contemporary style. A special mention here for Fabrine, Joao and Katarine, on reception (downstairs in the large common area used for taking breakfast and relaxing) who were extremely helpful and utterly charming at all times and to our shame spoke far better English than we spoke Portuguese.
This boutique hotel enjoys a quiet position and rooms at the back have small balconies with views SW, beyond the immediate scruffy rear aspect to the distant suspension bridge over the river. Our “Standard” room was tiny – a small single with a double bed crammed into it allowing about only 18” passing space all round. Storage was a hanging space 10” wide. Were it not for the immaculate standard of finish to everything, including the shower-room with loo and washbasin, I would have been shocked at the presumption that this was acceptable. 90 Euros a night for this degree of inconvenience was pushing it. But the bed was superbly comfortable.
Breakfast (8-10 am) was included, buffet-style, but was somewhat haphazard. We came to expect a good choice of juice, cereals, fruits, cheese, charcuterie, cakes, intermittent coffee and tepid eggs and bacon, but the Friday of our departure we arrived downstairs to a table empty of nearly everything but weak excuses from the two slow and sullen youngsters left in charge of catering that day. Bread was eventually procured, bit it was all a very sorry affair indeed and no rebate was offered on our bill for this loss of provision.
If you’re tempted to try this hotel, out of a desire for nostalgie de la boue, Portuguese-style, but in trendy comfort, book a “Superior” back room with views (nos. 3, 7 or 11) and be prepared to exercise tolerance in respect of breakfast.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Each room at Casa das Janelas com Vista is unique and has its own individual decoration: the yellow iron table, the hand-painted wardrobe, the velvet chaise longue, and the old armchair, etc. as well as bright and spacious bathrooms, perfumed with refreshing essences. Everything is tailor-made, full of charm and specially designed for you.The kitchen is an open, informal place and a meeting point in which to start the day with breakfast around a large table. The living room, which is next to the kitchen, is a pleasant and very bright space that also has a small terrace. You will find a place to relax, read, talk, or enjoy a good Portuguese wine along with a portuguese cheese board. The living room and the kitchen can be rented for small one-off events, presentations or parties. ... more less
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