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Vila Rodrigues: Live Like A Local In Lisbon

In a vibrant neighbourhood, popular with creatives who flock to the trendy cafés, cute restaurants, and vintage boutiques, Vila Rodrigues is a home-from-home experience in the Portuguese capital

The 20-minute drive from Humberto Delgado airport to Vila Rodrigues is nothing short of an adventure, down steep, winding roads before pulling up at discreet wrought-iron gates in Intendente, one of the oldest and most historic areas of Lisbon

Entering Vila Rodrigues, however, is akin to stepping into a secluded sanctuary; only those in the know are privilege to a secret address. This is the perfect place for a real taste of Portuguese culture.

The Vibe

Owner-designer duo Francesca Saporano and Sam Coltart lovingly renovated and restored this 19th century ‘vila’ – once the home of trade workers. The stunning result is Vila Rodrigues, which quietly opened to guests in June 2023. From stylish stand-alone dwellings to duplex apartments, each with a sleek, minimalist style and charming Portuguese touches, Saporano and Coltart have created beautifully spacious apartments with a home-from-home vibe. 

The Rooms

Vila Rodrigues has 11 boutique apartments and houses inside a gated community, ranging from a charming one-bed attic to a spacious three-bedroom. There’s a chic, Belgian aesthetic across the properties which are tastefully decorated with muted tones and textures. Expect a warm welcome on arrival by reception manager Bruno, who’s on hand for any queries or requests; useful in lieu of a hotel concierge.

We stayed in the spacious Casa Mercador, a self-contained one-bedroom located on the lower level of the complex. Thanks to high-vaulted ceilings (with sky lights allowing the sunshine to pour in) it was light and airy inside, and came with an intimate private patio for outdoor relaxation. Boasting an impressive, fully-furnished kitchen, a huge bathroom stocked with Ginseng-infused vegan toiletries brand Prija, and a small cosy bedroom with king-sized bed and cloud-like pillows, it proved the perfect sleep sanctuary in the city.

The Food + Drink

The apartments are self-catered, but you’ll find a range of Tetley tea, Brazilian coffee, sparkling water, as well as a complimentary bottle of a delicious local Portuguese rosé wine on check in. A QR code inside the apartment holds the key to the owners’ recommendations of where to eat and drink in Lisbon – and there’s an impressive list of breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Lisbon is a foodie haven, and Café Dede’s, just a 10-minute drive away, is a brunch game-changer with a wonderfully diverse menu; the perfect local haunt. 

The Little Extras

All apartments come with the latest mod cons, such as air conditioning, a smart TV with streaming services, plus washing machine, dishwasher and a coffee machine. Each property has its own private entrance, accessed using a passcode unique to each guest.

The To-Do List

Lisbon has the charm of a quaint seaside town with big city energy, and all the best things to do are a short stroll or drive from Vila Rodrigues. Whether it’s cocktails in bohemian Bairro Alto or a walk along the stunning coastline, the Portuguese capital has it all. Don’t miss the iconic Time Out Market Lisbon, a dining mecca, where the best of the city’s food is all under one roof – and Manteigaria is a must for Portugal’s famous custard tart, the Pasteis de Nata. Rossio Square – a short stroll from Vila Rodrigues and famed for its fountains and architecture – is great for people watching, but nature lovers should head to Edward VII Park named after the British monarch who visited in 1903. It ascends one of the city’s many hills and boasts excellent views from the top. 

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