Apartment with View Near Graca, Lisbon, Portugal

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Space: This apartment is just enchanting beyond words, and the moment you step out on the fifth floor roof terrace, and take in the magnificent views of park below, and the castle, church, and city beyond, you just know you’ve found a real gem.

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Here, you can experience the beauty and magic of Lisbon, without even stepping out of your front door.

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Located on the fifth floor of an old, azulejo-tiled building, with just one apartment per floor, the apartment is completely private, and feels like a peaceful oasis in the midst of the city. The ceilings, which slope downwards from the centre of the space, offer variation in height, creating almost den-like, cozy nooks near the windows.

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The walls, ceilings, and wooden floors are painted white, giving the interiors a bright, clean, Mediterranean look that provides a cheerful backdrop for vintage Portuguese furniture and décor, swirly patterned, lacquered coffee and side tables, quirky lamps, colourful ceramics and vases, woven rugs, a cowhide rug, and surreal artwork. The overall effect is a very skillful orchestrated interior concept that’s artistic, yet unpretentious, and full of soul.

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The all-white kitchen is built into the middle section of one of the walls. One on side of the kitchen is the bed “room”, and a white bathroom with a cute window in front of the sink, and a shower stall with a door that closes (something I really appreciate, as I’m not a big fan of open-showers where I have to watch that the water doesn’t seep out of the shower stall).

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On the other side of the kitchen is a living lounge that consists of two parts – an alcove reading nook with a comfortable sofa that can double up as a bed, and two lounger-style chairs that can be used out on the terrace or indoors; and another little lounge area with three sleek, midcentury style, leather-upholstered black chairs, and two lacquered coffee tables. Facing the kitchen, between the living and bedroom zones, is a small dining table that can also be used as a work desk.

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From the living lounges, two French doors open out to the generous terrace, which looks out to panoramic views of a park, castle, and the city.

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Amenities: The kitchen has an integrated oven and fridge (no freezer), an electric hob with two cookers, a dishwasher, ample storage, cooking tools, dinnerware and cutlery. Near a ribbon window is a trolley with a kettle, large toaster, and espresso machine. Basics like sugar, tea, espresso capsules, oil, salt, pepper and glad wrap are available in the pantry, and a bottle of water, and white wine was waiting for me in the fridge.

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There is a firm, and super comfortable queen sized bed with a high quality duvet, and a discreet built-in closet in the bedroom. A washing machine is hidden behind a ceramic tile door that blends in with the bathroom walls, and there is also a drying rack for you to hang your laundry outdoors.

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On the very neat and modern terrace, there’s a small breakfast table with two seats, two additional chairs, and a bench.

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The apartment has plenty of novels, design, art, and travel books, and Lisbon maps and guidebooks that you can bring along with you as you explore the city. The Internet connection is good. Towels, a hairdryer, toiletries, laundry detergent, and cleaning supplies are also available in the apartment if you need them. You are also provided with a fold-away-able umbrella for the terrace if you’d like some shade while outdoors, and a picnic mat, so you can join the locals in the park below. There is also a vintage-style radio with blue-tooth pairing capabilities, and air conditioning in the kitchen-dining area, and the bedroom, so you can keep cool if you visit in summer.

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Location: Located along a hilly road that leads up to a park used mostly by locals and dog owners, the apartment is somewhat removed from the downtown hustle, and tourism traffic. A short walk up the hill, past the park will bring to you the very laid back neighbourhood of Graca. From Graca, you can walk down to one of the city’s most enchanting, labyrinth-like neighbourhoods – Alfama, which has a lovely local vibe, and plenty of old-world charm.

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Service: Susana, a friend of the apartment owner, was very friendly, kind and helpful. Because there were no guests arriving on the day I checked in and checked out, Susana very kindly allowed me to have the apartment three hours earlier than the stipulated check-in time of 3pm, and four hours later than the expected departure time of 11am. I so appreciated her flexibility, and generosity with regards to this. Susana was here to greet me, and explain everything when I arrived, and came by to say goodbye before I left.

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Downside: The apartment is located on the fifth floor in a building with no elevator, so you’ll need to climb up a pretty steep spiral staircase with your luggage to get to the apartment. If you have mobility issue, unfortunately, this gorgeous rental will not work for you.

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Upside: The view from the terrace would make a great postcard photo of Lisbon. I liked how the kitchen and closet blended in with the walls, which gave the space a very contemporary, streamlined look. The eclectic furniture items are truly unusual, and very pretty and colourful, so you feel like you are surrounded by rare, carefully curated treasures hunted down at flea markets, curio shops or art galleries. Plenty of light, and fresh air, magnificent views, and peace and quite, make this a top-notch choice for a holiday in Lisbon.

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Room rate at time of booking: Available through Airbnb from US$178 per night, inclusive of cleaning and service fees, and occupancy tax.

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Address: Apartment with View Near Graca. Calçada Do Monte 20, Lisbon, Portugal

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