The building has been restored following the purest architectonical tradition of the nearby “Pombalino” buildings. Noteworthy are the main street level entrance, whose wooden door – topped by details reminiscent of little waves – dates from the 18th century. From this period also are the stonework arch and the worn out and polished white marble steps which awakens one’s imagination as to who has climbed those steps back then…
Villa Baixa comprises 14 apartments over 5 floors. Tiles, soft colours, and beautifully sunny windows set into the remains of the building’s original stonework are features shared by all apartments.
They all have a kitchenette equipped with a fridge, microwave, electric hob, kettle, toaster and lovely chinaware from the renowned Vista Alegre porcelain factory which, from the 19th century, was used by the Portuguese Royal Family at their residence Palácio Nacional da Ajuda. All bathrooms are spacious and covered in marble. Living rooms include comfortable sofa beds and multi-channel flat screen Tv. Air conditioning, double glazed windows and a safe complete the offer from this cool and very well situated building.
Villa Baixa is situated in the heart of downtown Lisbon (Baixa Pombalina), the fashionable and best place to go shopping from mid-19th century to the 1970s. Still considered the heart of the city, downtown Lisbon is nowadays an area of rehabilitated buildings, much retail, street life, patisseries with the unmissable “pastéis de nata” (custard tarts) and authentic good restaurants.
Like any downtown, Lisbon’s “Baixa” radiates towards other significant tourist attractions such as old Alfama, a quarter of intertwined streets where high walls hide palaces from the old aristocracy and typical taverns invite you to listen to traditional Fado and drink wine by candle light. This is the Fado quarter par excellence, considered the oldest quarter in Lisbon going back to the times of Arab occupation, back in the 8th century of the Christian Era. Strangely enough, Alfama was little affected by the devastating earthquake of 1755, allowing it to maintain a unique charm born of tradition, impressive monuments and superb views over the Tagus (as well as its several belvederes, the views from São Vicente de Fora Convent’s top terrace on a sunny clear day, will remain forever in your mind…)
Not far from Villa Baixa, ca 100 metres, you can hop on the famous #28 tram which traverses a good part of old Lisbon. Its last stop is not far from Casa-Museu Fernando Pessoa (the house where Fernando Pessoa lived, now a museum), the perfect place to discover a little of the poet’s life and work. He belongs to Portugal’s pantheon of literature, and regarded as one of the world’s greatest literary figures ever.
In walking distance from Villa Baixa, one finds the pedestrianized Rua Augusta (August Street) which terminates at a triumphal arch – to be visited! - opening on to the breathtaking Praça do Comércio (previously called “Terreiro do Paço”, meaning “the king’s palace grounds”), considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world. It gained particular relevance after 1385 when the Portuguese court moved from Coimbra to Lisbon, turning it into the kingdom’s capital for the first time.
Next to Villa Baixa is also the beautiful Rossio, an architecturally balanced square surrounded by Pombalino buildings, the National Theatre and the rehabilitated Rossio train station which links Lisbon to the small town with which Lord Byron fell in love in the early 19th century: Sintra.
Also within walking distance towards the South, one finds Cais do Sodré train station which connects Lisbon with Cascais. This 30-min trip along the so-called “Portuguese Riviera” offers beautiful views of the Tagus river and its incredibly wide estuary, ending at the former fishing village of Cascais, where the king and the Portuguese royal family used to spend their summers. Cais do Sodré is also a hotspot for nightlife with many bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
Lisbon is a true babel: of light and colour, of decadent and modern buildings, of traditional taverns and sophisticated restaurants, of greyish “sad” stores where one can still find clothes nobody wears (Rua dos Fanqueiros) and those of sophisticated Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon’s luxury axis, which house some of the world’s most highly regarded fashion designers. A babel different from any other European city and the capital of a country which is proud of its ancient roots (stretching back to the Neolithic Age), its history and its adventurous and courageous people who reached the four corners of the world in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Visit Lisbon. Stay at Villa Baixa and surrender to the charm of this city.