Lisbon, Portugal

When travelling through foreign lands, it can be rare to experience local hospitality that is both truly authentic yet highly elevated. It's something we are constantly searching for in our travels. That blend of realness and luxury is a potent one that, when executed correctly, is truly intoxicating. But even more than this, it’s the blend of old and new that creates a remarkable travel experience - one in which history is met with a cultural relevance that enables us to deeply connect with a location.

Santa Clara 1728 is the embodiment of this fine balance, all heritage elegance and familiar warmth. Perched atop one of Lisbon's 7 hills, the guest house is top of our list for a Portuguese sojourn. Housed in an 18th Century building, the property was purchased by hotelier João Rodrigues. Charmed by its setting in one of Lisbon’s most idyllic squares in the old cultural quarter of the city, Rodrigues set about creating a residence that could be both family home and boutique hotel.

Updated by local Lisbon architect Manuel Aires Mateus, the structure retains its dignified history but is laden with sleek, contemporary design elements. With furnishings by designer Antonio Citterio, the house is defined by its graceful use of stone and timber, elements that are softened with plump bedding and gauzy white curtains. Peppered with modern, sculptural trimmings and glossy white tiles, the home is imbued with the distinctively soft Lisbon light that filters through elegant windows.

Light has been sensitively used throughout 6 guest suites to highlight the muted, neutral interior palette. Downstairs, limestone stairs are illuminated by Davide Groppi’s ‘Simbiosi’ lights. Upstairs, light fittings create golden warmth, lending intimacy to the luxuriously large rooms. But perhaps the best display of lighting is in the dining room, where pendant lights hang low over a timber dining table where local wine and food is served on modern stoneware alongside coarse linens.

It’s in the hearth of the dining room that guests are are encouraged to converge and experience the pace and evolving nature of the house as though it were theirs. An intimacy that is only possible because of the emphasis placed on comfort. No detail has been spared in the effort to ensure guests are embraced by the home’s welcoming, pared back luxury.

With close proximity to some of Lisbon’s most beautiful palaces and parks, and views of the Tagus River, Santa Clara 1728 is the place to experience all the nuances of Lisbon in the knowledge that the memory of Portugal’s capital, and indeed the house itself, will linger long after the reluctant return to reality.