Portugal is a hot destination for 2017, and now there’s even more reason to visit, as an 18th-century pile in Lisbon has been transformed into a new design-led hotel. The house is perfectly positioned on top of one of the city’s seven hills with incredible views towards the Pantheon and Tagus River, and, with only six gorgeous suites, it’s a mesmerising place for a romantic getaway.
Santa Clara 1728 isn’t the first of hotelier João Rodrigues’ triumphs – he’s worked with local architect Manuel Aires Mateus before on three other exclusive properties, including Casas na Areia, Cabanas no Rio in Comporta and Casa no Tempo.
While Mateus is known for his ultra-contemporary and spacious, streamlined interiors, he has artfully maintained the essence of the ancient building and its sense of history, which is located in the old cultural quarter of the city.
More personable than the average boutique hotel, you are invited by João Rodrigues and wife Andrea into their home, as they live on the top two floors with their children. The perfect hosts – you’ll be able to dine with them at a long communal dining table, sup on local Portuguese wine and a delicious homemade meal, which uses fresh produce often from their farm, Casa no Tempo.
While the architectural features are left to do much of the talking, the interior schemes are subtly built on a myriad of textures, including limestone, coarse linens, pale woods and neutral colour palettes in the guest rooms, while the bathrooms contain luxurious Lisbon marble.
You’ll find the very best designer names here, too, in the form of carefully selected furniture – the large beds are from B&B Italia, designed by Antonio Citterio, while the chairs and tables are iconic Danish designs from Carl Hansen. The lighting was also carefully considered, with the couple employing the expertise of Italian lighting designer Davide Groppi to feature some of his finest pieces in the property, including ‘Moon’ and ‘Symbiosi’.
The best part of all is that each suite has a view over the river Tagus below, with seats located in prime spots in front of the window, perfect for watching the sun go down with a glass of wine in hand.
The larger Santa Clara Suite, of which there are four, each cost €380 per night, while the two Tejo Suites cost €300 each per night. Prices include breakfast, coffee, tea and snacks, plus minibar.