In Lisbon, at rua Borges Carneiro nº38, on the ground floor, away from the confusion of hotels and boarding houses, its common to glance at the ornate ceilings, the frescoes that decorate the walls of the rooms, the disabled tubes of gas lamps, like relics from the past, and wonder whether one is seeing a guesthouse or a family home of incomparable beauty. And that's how Tiago Dias and Pedro Leão, owners of House of São Bento, like visitors to look at their establishment.
Tiago had contact with the area of tourism from an early age and, because of the increasing attractiveness of the city of Lisbon, proposed to Pedro to create their own business, something that had a unique identity that went beyond the simple definition of bed and meal. When they found, on Rua Borges Carneiro, a recovered building, almost 100 years old, that exuded personality and history, they immediately decided that this was the ideal space.
From idealization to concretization, however, there has been a long way to go. Tiago still remembers those early days that required an enormous effort to have everything immaculately presented, in which the bathrooms were cleaned after each shower, where the work seemed neverending, since the guesthouse counted only on the efforts of the two entrepreneurs. Nowadays, the House of São Bento already has a dedicated and professional staff, leaving Tiago and Pedro to do what they know best: to offer a pleasant and incomparable experience. The establishment is defined by a certain easiness, a familiar environment that the common areas provide, but also by the mutual respect between staff and clients, or among the customers themselves, that the house inspires.
The rooms have names of portuguese cities - Chaves, Batalha, Alcobaça for example - and of regions - Sagres, Minho, Lagos ... - and invite, therefore, the discovery of our country’s history. The exception will be the bedroom 'Dina', which pays homage to a pianist, a former tenant of the building and whose piano could no longer leave the room without dismantling it or breaking a window. None of the options seemed ideal and Dina's daughter decided to donate the piano to the guesthouse and immortalize her mother's name in one of her bedrooms. The piano itself continues its musical journey through the ability of some customers who fill the guesthouse with heavenly melodies. This is not, however, the only homage they have set out to do. The frescos present in the rooms of the House of São Bento, painted in the 50s and 60s by a painter of dual nationality (Portuguese / Italian) were also eternalized through photographs by the painter's pupils, years later.
All this beauty and sense of community contributes to the appeal of the guesthouse. Tourists of various nationalities - french, belgians, english, north-americans and brazilians - pass through its doors to discover Lisbon. Internal tourism is also growing, especially during events.
The name that reflects the geographic position of the business, São Bento is also easily referenced for those seeking the hospitality provided by Tiago and Pedro. If you want to visit this friendly guesthouse, remember that the mythical tram 28 stops right outside the door, as well as buses. A real cherry on top of the cake.