Casulo Loft, Porto, Portugal

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Space: Absolutely gorgeous, fourth-floor, kinfolk style apartment in a renovated building, with quirky furniture, lighting, rugs and accessories.

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The owner Anna Casulo is a fabric artist who makes and sells macramé plant hangers and woven wall art that you can purchase through her website.  The apartment showcases a number of her handcrafted macramé pieces, as well a rattan chair, bamboo racks that are handy for hanging towels or socks, folk-print rugs, a faux sheep-skin throw, and potted plants, which all come together to create a cool, minimalist, boho-chic pad that’s perfect for solo travellers or couples.

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The apartment has high ceilings, two generous windows, and a white, cuboid volume that contains the bathroom, a kitchenette on one side, discreet closets, and a lofted bedroom. This sleeping loft, which looks down to the living area, can be accessed via alternating, split-thread stairs (what they call “clown stairs” in Portugal).

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The sofa in the living room can be transformed into an extra bed, and the dining able doubles up as an efficient work area too.

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Amenities: The apartment comes with a kitchen equipped with electric hobs, an oven, microwave, fridge, an espresso machine, teapot, kettle, and plenty of simple yet stylish cutlery, utensils and dinnerware. One set of towels was provided for my weeklong stay. There is also a portable fan, which is useful if you stay here in the warmer months.

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Location: Casulo Loft is located near Trindade, and an easy 10-15 minute walk to the historical downtown area, near shops, restaurants, and most of the main attractions. It is a two-minute walk to the Trinadade metro station, where you can catch a train that will get you to the airport in just 30-minutes.

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Though the apartment is within walking distance to the main tourist zones of Clerigos Square and Ribeira, it is still far enough away from them, that you feel like you are living in a local neighbourhood.

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Service: Edu and Silvia, friends of Ana who help her manage the property, were genuinely warm, and hospitable. My flight was delayed, so I arrived later than expected, and they were happy to meet me near the station, and walk me to the flat. They really took their time showing me the map of the city, and gave me lots of terrific suggestions for places to visit, and dine at. And they even had a complimentary egg tart, and a miniature bottle of port wine for me.

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Downside: I always appreciate genuine wood floors, but (minor issue) the parquet was not laid tightly enough, so there are little gaps between the slats, which can irritate the soles of your feet. If you aren’t as neurotic as me, this is really no biggie! There is a nice rain shower, but the held shower was not working (I’m guessing it was rigged so guests wouldn’t get the bathroom floors wet when using the open shower tray). The seagulls and pigeons seem to enjoy hanging around the roof of the abandoned building across from the living room windows, and this made me antsy about opening the windows, thought after a few days, I was enjoying the company of one particular gull, who showed up every morning and evening.

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Because of its somewhat downtown location, expect a small to moderate amount of noise from traffic, and people on the streets outside. There isn’t an elevator, so you’ll need to be fit enough to walk up four flights of stairs.

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Upside: The décor is truly unique, and the layout of the space worked wonderfully for a solo traveller like myself. There is ample closet space, where you can store you luggage and clothes, so the living area remains clutter-free. The bed was very comfortable, and the hanging plants, macramé weavings, bamboo ladders, and simple but stylish furniture and accent pieces really made this place special. The location couldn’t be more convenient. There are a number of cafes and grocers nearby, as well as a supermarket and a pharmacy that are less than a three-minute walk from the apartment. 

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Room rate at time of booking: Available through Airbnb from US$98 per night, inclusive of cleaning and service fees.

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Address: Casulo Loft. Travessa das Liceiras, 4 3ªH, Porto, Portugal

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