“From the outset we always wanted it to be a Portuguese townhouse where one could feel like a local.”
– CARMEN RENDE, CO-OWNER
You’re both Catalan, why open a guesthouse in Lisbon? How did that happen?
We love Lisbon! We’d been to Lisbon lots of times before as tourists. One day we eyed up the building which was up for sale and we saw it as a business opportunity – the building was abandoned. In the basement there was at one time a basketry workshop. We didn’t have any experience in the industry but we decided to go for it and create a guesthouse. From the outset we always wanted it to be a Portuguese townhouse where one could feel like a local. A unique place, a place to relax, but also, a social house that would offer guests the chance to share moments with other guests.
How long did it take you to get everything ready?
It took us two years to get it all ready, handpicking all the decor piece by piece, travelling and searching for the perfect object for each space and each room. We paid a lot of attention to every single detail, from the cushions to the pillows and even the bulbs. Each of the 12 rooms has a different layout and look. Everything has been carefully thought with the guests’ experience in mind.
“We handpicked all the decor - step by step, searching for the perfect object for each space and for each room.”
– CARMEN RENDE, CO-OWNER
Is there a neighbourhood gem that tourists are not usually aware of?
Apart from Príncipe Real which has lots of cool independent shops, we also really like the neighbourhoods of Santos, Estrela and Campo de Ourique – and also Jardim Botânico (Botanic Gardens) and the Gulbenkian Foundation.
We love the decoration. Where do you get your inspiration from?
The hotel design is a reflection of our own taste and it’s the result of two years collecting furniture and objects from around the world.
The concept is an eclectically designed guesthouse, showcasing original furniture, objects and paintings from different origins and backgrounds. We like to see it as a home for travellers.
What’s your favourite object in the house and where did you get it?
The scaffolding in the “living room”. It was part of the actual construction of the hotel and it was recovered for decoration purposes.
What’s your favourite hotel worldwide?
The Mercer Hotel in New York. Although it has 75 rooms it still feels like a small hotel in a big city like New York. It used to be a clock factory and it has a unique lounge with lots of character which works as both the reception desk and the bar. The staff is super attentive.
Where do you tend to go on holiday and which type of places do you usually stay in?
We like to keep it varied with a strong focus on nature and wilderness… we also enjoy urban breaks though.
Thank you very much for this interview Carmen and Natalia.
Thank you too!
Here's hoping you create new memories here in Portugal. Tag us on Instagram (we would love it if you do!) and let us know how it goes. 🤗
Joana and Sofia
© Photos by JO&SO and courtesy of Casa das Janelas com Vista.
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