The Independente: Budget Travel Meets Luxury In Lisbon, Portugal
In January, I found myself in Lisbon for a second visit, as I loved it so much a few years back when I spent a couple of days there with my one-and-only airline travel companion, Jimmy. To say that I have been blessed with good travel buddies is an understatement.
- Emily keeps me safe and grounded. I make her be more adventurous.
- Jesse was up for anything and just knows how to travel. He never stresses.
Jesse and I at some Volcano in Guatemala
- Jimmy loves a good cappuccino and great discussions. He also laughs when I get grouchy, lightening the energy of any space that he steps into.
Jimmy double fisting cappuccinos in Paris
This trip to Lisbon brought with it traveling with Jackie, an international cabin crew member for a very prestigious airline who I had happened to meet during a flight that she was working from Hong Kong to Los Angeles more than two years ago. She ended coming to Portugal with me based on a text, “Hey girl! When will you be in Lisbon?” And that’s what I love about travel— you never know what will happen and who you will meet along the way.
This experience in Lisbon was even better than my last, because now, I think like a blogger. I look for stories, search out the best things to do and the best things to see, and have a better eye for photography. I also have developed a liking for the unique and the special. I am drawn more to independent and boutique style hotels rather than large chains. In Lisbon, I searched out a hotel or hostel that was near Barrio Alto, where the night comes alive in the very narrowed streets near the center of the city. Barrio Alto is so much fun.
Due to my need for chic and unique, I stumbled upon The Independente, a luxury hostel and boutique hotel located across from an idyllic park. Jackie and my room had shuttered windows that opened over the park. There was a downstairs bar and restaurant that serveed up craft cocktails, and an upstairs restaurant with a terrace where breakfast was served every morning.
The Indpendente, which is owned by four brothers, has been touted all over the world as one of the premier hostels and boutique hotel concepts, with many other properties in Europe and The Middle-East taking note of how well the entrepreneurs have created, designed, and marketed the property. The Independente is not just a place for tourists, but locals love the experience choosing to dine at The Decadente, The Insolito, or lounge in the first floor bar in the evenings. For a full-course dinner for both Jackie and I, including drinks and dessert, the tab was less than 50 euro, an impossible number to keep below if the location had been Barcelona, Paris, or Copenhagen. Lisbon lets a budget traveller experience a bit more luxury for a reasonable price, beauty still included.
The Independente also includes a few quirks that I think make it all the better. In the building that houses the suites, the stairs wind around, not in uniform fashion from floor-to-floor, but in their own way. This building must have once been an old and fancy home, with no intent of becoming a hotel, adding to the appeal. There is an elevator in the building. It is small– feeling vintage with doors and a latch that must be closed manually. The elevator and the downstairs old-school phone entertained Jackie and I for quite a bit of time.
Although, I loved the little pieces that added personality to the place, I have yet to understand why dolls are hanging in the third or fourth floor bathroom.
The Independente served as an ideal base for venturing into the city and surrounding areas. Trips for Pastis, the popular local sweet tasting specialty was on our agenda, as well as the discovery of a chocolate shop that made Jackie feel like she was living out her dream of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and swimming in cocoa bliss.
I liked Torre de Belem and Sintra, the castles in the clouds which are located about thirty-minutes by train or cable car from Lisbon’s city center. Lisbon is a place that feels manageable as far as size, making it a very good option for a weekend getaway and a very relaxing option for a week trip. It’s budget friendly letting a backpacker live a bit more luxuriously. And it’s safe.
To Book The Independente for you next holiday, click here.
I also had a meeting with the CEO of SkyPro Shoes, The Lisbon headquatered company that specializes in Cabin Crew and Flight Crew shoes. To purchase SkyPro Shoes, please click here.
For any other inquiries regarding my experience in Lisbon, please email me at kara [at] theflightattendantlife [dot] com.