Independente Hostel & Suites – Lisbon, Portugal

The Independente Hostel & Suites in Lisbon will shift your perspective when it comes to hospitality geared towards the budget-traveler. A modern concept revolutionized by the property’s three brothers, this “boutique hostel” is a far cry from the typical militaristic bunks, bland food and generic amenities.

Situated on a downtown square close to Chiado, a hip shopping district, this 11-room, four-suite hostel is a late 19th century mansion, the former residence of a Swiss ambassador, and still resonates with its historic beauty. Black-and-white inlaid marble floors, lofty stone archways, wrought-iron staircases and molded plaster ceilings with intricate medallions greet guests. Lobby walls painted a bold fuschia-red pop against the neutral backdrop.

What I find most intriguing about this haute hostel is the eclectic mix of furnishings and decor, and how when paired with the classic bones of the building, creates a cosmopolitan allure. For instance in the rooms, reclaimed wood posts interestingly take on various mid-century furnishings and flea-market finds. This design pattern is seen throughout the property and lends a casual, sometimes quirky energy to this modern hostel. Pressed particle board was used to construct all of the bunks, which exudes an industrial dash against the traditional tile flooring. Just loving how the eye gets such visual play in these spaces!

Ceilings are voluminous and dorm rooms are spacious each with their own lounge, allowing for comfortable interaction or privacy. The four suites offer queen beds and balconies with stunning views of the Tagus River below. Painted walls stencils on each floor uniquely designate room numbers and directions to other areas of the hostel.

Downstairs The Decadente, the hostel’s onsite restaurant, features chefs serving up  locally-sourced modern Portuguese cuisine. Both hotel guests and visitors from the neighborhood are welcomed here with glass stemware and silver place settings set at the communal tables and bar. A main lounge contains mod sofas and chairs in regal reds and blues, which not only reflect the vastly majestic interiors, but provide a vivid burst against the original wood floors, creating a warm, relaxing ambiance.

The Independente epitomizes the economic travel evolution. It is stylish, secure and modern, and with such an inviting vibe, it certainly puts the “host” in hostel.

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