If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed I went to Lisbon for a few days last week. It was my first time in Portugal and I don't know what I expected, but what I got was so much more. We stayed at The Independente, an audacious hotel (with adjoining hostel) that perfectly encapsulates the city's spirit.
Vibrant, eclectic and super cool, the hotel made me feel like I was living in a Wes Anderson film. From the outside, the building was pretty indistinguishable from lots of others in the city, but elegant nonetheless. On the inside, bright pink and turquoise walls and a multi-coloured chandelier made me realise this was not going to be like anywhere we'd stayed before.
We took the cute, original lift up to our room - we were staying in a deluxe room which had great views over the square in front of the hotel and over Lisbon - but more on that later.
Our room was a real mix of original, Portuguese character and quirky details that made the room memorable compared to so many nondescript hotel rooms around the world. Original shutters open onto the balcony and antique pieces of furniture sit nicely amongst the hotel creature comforts, king size bed, TV (not that we watched any TV while on holiday) and spacious bathroom. The bathroom was pretty unusual, the neon lights gave the room an update on old world charm.
Breakfast is served every morning from the third floor (complete with rooftop terrace), which doubles up as The Insólito restaurant and bar in the evening. It's one of the best views I've ever had while eating breakfast (which happened to be delicious). The lady working 'front of house' during breakfast (I didn't catch her name) was an absolute delight, so friendly and fun - mirroring the atmosphere of the hotel itself.
The location is perfect if you want to enjoy Lisbon's nightlife (which, by the way, is absolutely MENTAL). Our flight didn't land until late and after meeting our friends for a quick drink before going checking in, we walked back to the hotel through the Bairro Alto district. Bearing in mind it was about 2am on a Thursday night/Friday morning in late October, there were people EVERYWHERE. I presumed there was some kind of festival on, but no, every night in Lisbon is an opportunity to party, drinking strawberry daiquiris in the cobbled streets. The Independente is a perfect base to enjoy all of that.
The real win for the Independente though is it's bohemian take on boutique hotel - it doesn't pretend to be a grown-up luxury hotel, it's full of character but also full of comfort.