A genuine hidden gem in a corner of historic Lisbon that hasn't lost its local flavor to mass tourism, Estrela Park B&B is a stylish-yet-cozy 4-bedroom guesthouse tucked away on the second floor of a handsome residential building in the beautiful Estrela neighborhood. Generally overlooked by first-time visitors to Lisbon, this well-heeled neighborhood is home to one of Lisbon's loveliest parks--Jardim de Estrela--and is mere steps from the famous Basilica de Estrela.
German owner Anna Gruber is a long-term Lisbon resident whose passion for her adopted city is evident in the wealth of insider local knowledge that she is happy to share with her guests. The stylishly-appointed apartment has four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and guests can rent a room (with shared kitchen facilities) or the entire property.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There's no elevator, and some stairs to climb--something to bear in mind if you have heavy luggage or mobility issues
Each of the four bedrooms at Estrela Park is comfortably-yet-stylishly decorated, with plenty of natural light, and a boutique feel to the decor and design. Each of the rooms has Wi-Fi and access to a shared bathroom. Alternatively, guests can rent the entire apartment--sleeping up to 8 guests. There's no A/C, but fans keep things cool in the summer months.
Be sure to book well in advance if looking to rent the entire property, particularly during holidays and the July-September high season
The two light, airy and modern bathrooms at Estrela Park are shared between four guest rooms. Towels are provided, but guests should bring their own toiletries.
Guests can relax in the chic shared living space, which has access to a small balcony--perfect for summer breakfasts and sunset drinks. The living room is decorated with flair and plenty of appealing local touches in the artworks and artsy knick-knacks, all reflecting owner Anna's personal style and her previous career working in the luxury hotel industry.
Breakfast, with lots of strong coffee and delicious fresh breads and pastries, is included in the room rate for most of the year and can be taken in the stylish, well-lit breakfast room or on the terrace. During quiet periods breakfast may be off the menu (check when booking), with the price reduced accordingly.
Breakfast isn't included when booking the entire apartment, but there's a well-equipped kitchen and lots of local spots to pick up fresh bread, pastries and other breakfast treats.
There's no bar, but guests are welcome to fix their own drinks to enjoy in their room or the shared living spaces.
Estrela Park is tucked away on a side street some 15 minutes' walk from the nearest metro (Rato), but the famous number 28 and 25 trams rattle along nearby--it's just a 2-minute walk to the tram stop. Guests with lots of luggage would be best advised to arrive by cab from the airport (it's a drive of less than 25-minutes). The surrounding streets, with their traditional tascas and grand mansion homes, are pleasant to explore on foot, and energetic guests can head downtown on foot--it's around half an hour's walk to the Baixa (downtown) and the waterfront.
Foodies will be spoiled for choice here. While gentrification and mass tourism have all but wiped out traditional tascas (informal eateries with lots of local flavor), they can still be found in this corner of the city. A good example is O Lavrador (3-minute walk), and foodies will also enjoy a visit to Campo de Ourique Market (10-15-minute walk), which is a less touristic version of the hugely popular Mercado do Ribeiro in Cais Sodre, selling all manner of local goodies at a market with food stands and kiosks that make for fun, inexpensive, lunches. For a unique dining experience, try Clube das Jornalistas (5-minute walk), whose Brazilian owner has created an eclectic menu enlivened by an equally diverse musical backdrop.
Nearby Jardim de Estrela park has several cafes and drinks stands, with the standout being the cute Jardim de Estrela cafe-bar (5-minute walk) close to the entrance. Food and drinks are served on a terrace with plenty of child-distracting features such as a replica Lisbon tram, making it a popular spot with families. After dark in the summer season brings twinkling fairy lights and DJ sets. Alternatively, head off on a bar hop around the many bars and tapas spots of nearby Santos (10-15-minute walk), a current favorite district among Lisbon hipsters.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Estrela Park B&B offers an exceptional experience for its price category. The location combines a pleasingly off-the-beaten track feel with ease of access to some lovely locales, and owner Anna is a wealth of information about sights, activities and experiences in the area. The sleek decor feels upscale, but the price is accessible even during the high season.