A glut of hotel openings has made Lisbon a thriving travel destination, with foreigners flocking to the Portuguese capital in droves. The newest opening, The Late Birds, is an all-male gay guest house faultlessly located on a quiet alley in buzzy Bairro Alto.
The heritage, 18th-century building was reimagined by Portuguese architect Pedro Domingos, who carved out 12 rooms, including three suites and a series of cosy public spaces that all look out to the lush pool courtyard in the back. Using simple, natural materials such as lioz stone, stucco and wood, the intimate guesthouse’s stark, uncluttered foundation come with large windows that not only bring in a ton of light but also frame some of Lisbon’s most iconic sights, including the Tagus River and the city’s dramatic red-roof architecture.
To decorate the space, custom pieces by local designer Marco Sousa Santos were brought in. Sculptural figures including the eye-catching Shell Chair in blonde wood that are found in some private rooms and the bulbous wood chandeliers that hang over the ground-floor bar are at once subtle and striking. To complement these newer items, owners Carlos Ruivo and Sónia Santiago incorporated antiques they’ve collected over the years such as an African totem purchased from an auction in Paris, a World War I propeller from a shop in Brussels, and steampunk-looking lamps crafted from found materials by Lisbon-based manufacturer Salão — giving every room a lovely lived-in feel.