Housed in a refurbished 19th-century building in the sleepy Graça quarter, Dona Graça Apartments draws travellers with its airy, minimalist studios decked out with touches that are oh-so Lisbon. After an afternoon of exploring, take shelter from the heat in the orange tree-filled private garden or submerge yourself in the delightfully inviting pool.
There are eight apartments to choose from, including Comfort Studios which overlook the hotel's garden and pool. For those in need of more space, try the Family Suite which also benefits from private access to the central garden. Taking cue from minimalist Scandanavian interiors, the bedrooms balance whitewashed walls with luxurious touches. The en-suite bathroom is light and airy, featuring a wonderfully deep tub and botanical features, as well as an adjoining wet room finished with Moorish tiles. Dona Graça is tucked away on a quiet street in the older part of the city, far from the noise of Barrio Alto, so you are guaranteed a deep and peaceful sleep.
What's for breakfast?
Reminiscent of early childhood Christmases and brimming stockings at the foot of the bed, a breakfast hamper awaits guests outside their room each morning, filled with deliciously buttery croissants, homemade spreads, pasteis de nata, crunchy granola, yoghurt and - the best part - freshly squeezed orange juice, straight from the garden.
How about lunch and dinner?
Each apartment is houses an open-plan limestone and wood kitchen, adjoined to the living room. This gives guests the freedom to whip something up and make the most of their home away from home. The Plano Restaurante, led by chef Vitor Adão, officially opened at the start of October and is open every evening for dinner. This indoor restaurant takes a similar format to live-show cooking over an open flame and grill-based cuisine, while serving a carefully curated selection of Portuguese wines. There was a soft launch in August during which Vitor hosted supper clubs in the private garden for both guests and visitors from across Lisbon.
Is there a bar?
There are some lovely little wine shops nearby, at which you can stock up on vinho verde for a refreshing sundowner in the garden. Alternatively, the neighbourhood of Mouraria is a short walk away and a great area to go out for drinks, with lots of interesting little bars.
Dona Graça has a central garden with a sleek swimming pool where guests can enjoy a much needed dip and some respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. During the day the hotel is remarkably quiet, with people going out to explore the city, so you may be lucky enough to enjoy the pool to yourself.
Things I should know…
Attentive staff can recommend an array of spots for exploring as well as eating. Equipped with this knowledge, prepare to be immersed in Portugusese culture and cuisine.
Within a short walk I can find…
… no-frills local restaurants for a well-deserved lunch or dinner after a long day of sightseeing - just ask the manager, Antonio, to make you a reservation at one of his recommended spots. Make your way to Miradouro da Graça, an exceptional viewpoint with vistas stretching across the city to the other side of the river.