Hostel or Upscale Hotel: Which Kind of Traveler Are You?

Just along Rua Garrett in the heart of the Chiado district of Lisbon that borders the winding streets of the Bairro Alto, lies the comfort of three unique boutique hotels and hostels, each with their own distinct offerings.

The View from Rua do Carmo, just around the corner from all 3 properties

These trolleys are woven throughout the Chiado District and Bairro Alto, where the hills are extremely steep.

I stayed first at Shiado Hostel on Rua Anchieta, a quiet street off of Rua Garrett.  Shiado is perched on the 5th floor, and behind its thick wooden door is a sunny and modern-vintage mix with a free breakfast, free internet and a friendly staff.  I got a private room for only $52 USD/night, so if you don’t mind sharing an extremely clean bathroom and are traveling on a budget, this boutique hostel is definitely for you.  My room looked out upon the red-tiled roofs and the quiet Rua Anchieta, with church bells ringing and a fresh breeze blowing in and ruffling the curtains in the morning.

Shiado’s comfy and chic living space for travelers to mix, mingle and relax

Lovely Anthropologie-style decor

The quite incredible view from the women’s bathroom at the Shiado hostel- what a backyard!

My pleasantly comfortable room at Shiado… and still very affordable to have the private room all to myself!

The unreal view from my bedroom window at Shiado.

Table decor– I absolutely loved the artistic flair of this place.

I stayed next at the Lisbon Poets Hostel that sits atop one of Lisbon’s most famous cafés, A Brasileira.  I walked down Rua Garrett through the tables and yellow umbrellas and

The outdoor tables at A Brasileira

rounded the corner to get from Shiado to the Lisbon Poets Hostel.  The Poets Hostel is rather new and also extremely clean, also offering a free breakfast and internet and an extremely comfortable accommodation.  Although there are not bathrooms in each room, each bathroom on the floor has its own shower so you have complete privacy, and for $46/night USD for a private room, I would definitely recommend staying here as well.  Something that makes the Lisbon Poets Hostel unique is the staff.  Their staff is younger in age, in their 20’s and 30’s, and everyday they offer a different free activity, which I found so refreshing.  One day it was a night tour of Fadu music to local insider spots and

Enjoying a view on the complimentary walking tour from Lisbon Poets Hostel- our guide was a lovely Portuguese gal named Joanne.

bars around the city, the next day it was a free 5-hour walking tour of the city to see some viewpoints and areas that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about, and the following day it was a tour of different beaches in Lisbon.  The beautiful thing about staying in hostels, I have found (and especially at this  age), is that I get to meet other travelers from around the world, one of my favorite aspects of traveling.  On this walking tour, I made friends from Colombia, Brazil, Australia and Germany (as well as a couple of fellow Americans), and especially when traveling solo, this is of huge benefit.  Lisbon is known to have some of the nicest hostels in all of Europe.

My simple, yet lovely, room at Lisbon Poets Hostel.

Chiado Square, where both hostels and the Bairro Alto Hotel border.

Finally, if you’re looking for a more curated place of accommodation, check out the Bairro Alto Hotel, located just a few steps away off of Rua Garrett in Chiado Square, a 19th century building that first opened as a hotel before being re-done seven years ago to its current splendor.

The beautiful Bairro Alto Hotel in the heart of Chiado – the most trendy district in Lisbon amongst some of the best shopping, cafes, galleries, nightlife and museums.

Bairro Alto, Lisboa

Simple but elegant, the Bairro Alto hotel offers the ultimate comfort when traveling.  Each of the rooms encompassed in its four floors has a different, rich color on its walls, with

I loved the Tiffany blue on the walls of this floor.

each room’s layout and décor being unique.  The bar and lounge becomes an evening hotspot, and this hotel, like the other hostels, is in one of the best areas of Lisbon, easily accessible to amazing nightlife and to all of the best parts of the city.  Normally $400/night, you can book a room on for only $270/night, offering quite a substantial discount.  The benefit of the Bairro Alto Hotel: sheer luxury in its gorgeous rooms,

The living room of this breathtaking Bairro Alto Hotel suite.

and a quiet, peaceful sleep.  For me, it’s a trade-off: sometimes hostels can get a bit too rowdy, with people coming in at all hours of the morning from the local bars.  But with a place like the Bairro Alto Hotel where the average guest is in their 40’s and 50’s, meeting friends of a similar age is more challenging.  It’s up to you to decide which kind of accommodation best suites you and your type of travel.  The most important thing is to get out there and enjoy.  Carpe Diem!

The bathroom was so dreamy…

All around, I would give Bairro Alto Hotel 5 stars!

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