Surrounded by rice paddies and an umbrella pine forest, these four perfectly designed thatched-roof beach huts sit on a coastal sanctuary in a small fishing hamlet called Carrasqueira, an hour south of Lisbon. The floors are sand, even in the living room (bedrooms have concrete floors), walls are made from wattle and bullrush, and the furniture inside is pretty minimal–tables by e15, wood stumps and linen-covered sofas. And if all the sprawling natural beauty in every direction (estuary, salt pans, pristine beach, wildlife/nature sanctuary) isn’t quite compelling enough, there are bicycles and a pool to keep you active/lounging outdoors.
Guests rent the whole lot of them–and it’s $700 a day for all four. The beach hut compound sleeps eight adults. In high season (June through August), there’s a seven-night minimum. Rent it.
Located smack in the center of downtown Lisbon, Baixa House is an 18th-century building that has just been converted into 12 vacation apartments. The kicker is the way that each space has been refurbished—sensitively, beautifully and not over-polished. Those wide-plank floors have been left perfectly intact, ditto the garret-like charm of the top-floor units with slanting ceilings, and balconies in every unit mean that participating in the ultimate European pastime—watching life go by—is game on. Kitchens and baths have been modernized with marble counter tops and showers, and top-notch fixtures and appliances. The true charm, however, is found in the living areas and bedrooms. Designers have mastered a sense of under-decorated style with details that make the apartments feel like you’ve been handed the keys to a friend’s home. Books, art and colorful accent walls are all balanced by white-white walls and understated new and vintage furnishings. The service is also spot-on: Units are cleaned everyday and replenished with breakfast supplies daily. And maybe our favorite, perfectly un-preachy detail of all: TVs are available in all units, but only on request. Don’t ask and you won’t receive!
Most units sleep up to four or six people. One unit, the top-floor Ultramar, sleeps up to nine. Located in the middle of downtown Lisbon, the apartment is a 5-minute walk to the Praça do Comercio, the Figueira and the Rossio, a bus and tram hub with many shops and cafes. Units start at $140 a night with a minimum two-night stay. Rent it here.
Designed by French designer Sam Baron, the seven-room A Favorita inhabits an old Portuguese house and draws on local inspiration for an old-meets-new aesthetic that feels really fresh. It’s simple without feeling the least bit spare, and the decor–a subdued mix of vintage and modern furnishings–is effortlessly stylish in that come-easy, laid-back European way. But that doesn’t mean details aren’t attended to: a white medallion hangs above a bed; perfectly placed pottery; dangling dried branches; and vibrant linen throw tossed over a wicker love seat. The just-right white walls show-off some really cool, non-obtrusive site-specific art, like a series of ethereal tableware-like ceramics blossoming from the wall and little penciled murals at table-height in the bite-sized restaurant.