“Things don’t always work out the way we want them to, but they have their own way of working out. And sometimes they work out better than we ever imagined”.
Back in March, I applied for a press trip to stay at Perfect Spot Lisbon. After a little back and forth on emails, I was offered a place and swiftly booked my flights. However, just a few hours later, Rita (one half of the couple who own the hostel) contacted me again to ask me to hold off on booking as some of the other bloggers couldn’t make the same dates. Eeek!
A few years ago, this is exactly the kind of thing that would have the potential to send me into a panic but for some reason, I just knew that things would work out exactly as they were meant to…
Fast forward a few weeks and I was in the midst of my busiest few weeks at work, one housemate was moving out and we needed to search for another one to move in, and of course, all the organising fell onto my already stressed out shoulders. I’d leave work with a racing heart, dash home either to head out again to teach a yoga class, interview potential housemates or occasionally attempt to relax by doing my own yoga practice (followed by a G&T or two!) I couldn’t have needed a break more, but was slightly worried that I would be a little in the way at the hostel without other guests around and with a newborn baby having just arrived for the owners…
Despite my stressed out state, as soon as Jon collected me from the airport, I felt instantly at ease and knew I was going to enjoy my time at the hostel. I was delighted to hear that there was another girl staying too so I’d have someone to hang out with for the next few days. Even better, Jessica was a fellow yogi, travel-addict and all round lovely girl. We hit it off instantly and set about making the most of our experience in tranquil Cascais.
The perfect spot
Cascais is a small town, just 20 minutes on a train from central Lisbon and the hostel itself is located just 5 minutes from the beach, restaurants, shops and bars of this picturesque town. It’s no wonder they came up with the name ‘Perfect Spot’. Unlike many other places I’ve stayed in, the hostel has a unique quality that makes you feel instantly at home, I can imagine it’s the kind of place that many travellers choose to stay for an extended period of time, rather than just passing through. Jon & Rita are not only the owners but rather the ‘mum & dad’ of the hostel, taking care of those who visit with their own unique welcoming touches. (Think personalised picnic baskets for breakfast and airport pickups, all as part of the package).
The ‘house’ itself is super spacious with a large modern kitchen, huge living room, dining area, and a garden with outdoor seating and a yoga platform (and complimentary mats) for those who want to take part in their own practice or the classes run by the hostel. Even in the busiest times you can still find your own nook to relax in.
Room-wise, I was lucky enough to stay in the ‘Zen’ room which would usually be reserved for couples and came with it’s own private bathroom.
It felt more like a boutique hotel room which I loved, but those wanting a more authentic hostel experience can choose to stay in one of the dorm rooms, each decorated with it’s own unique style, from the ‘adventure’ room through to the ‘skater’ room. Naturally I couldn’t resist having a nosy around the house and found that each room was bright, airy and had plenty of space for luggage – a welcome change to some of the cramped hostels I’ve come across in the past, where competing for somewhere to stash your backpack can leave you feeling a bit claustrophobic!
But it’s not just the hostel itself that makes the stay of course, it’s the overall experience and we were lucky enough to sample a taster of what is on offer…
Rita and Jon have teamed up with Surf’s Up Portugal to offer their guests surf lessons in the welcoming waves of Carcavelos beach. The instructors are super friendly and welcoming (a common characteristic of the Portuguese as far as my experience goes) and after just one morning of surfing I felt more like we were friends than student/teacher. Despite not having much experience on the board, (it’s been about 7 years since I first attempted surfing in the warmer waters of Byron Bay), I felt like I was really starting to get the hang of it after just an hour in the water, even managing to stay upright on the board for a few seconds at a time before tumbling into the ocean and paddling straight back out again to attempt the next wave.
Post surf, I took Jess to my new favourite cafe – The House of Wonders. Discovered only the day before, but good enough to warrant a second visit, the vegan / vegetarian cafe served the most delicious array of smoothies, juices and mezze platters.
But the real draw was the stunning rooftop which so closely resembled a Moroccan rooftop bar that you could be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported all the way to Marrakech. I sampled the sangria and a savoury tortilla-like concoction whilst Jess opted for a salad and smoothie combo, plus I had a chocolate brownie thrown in for good measure. Perfectly sated, we headed back to the hostel for a relaxing evening and the best night’s sleep a stressed out Londoner could ask for but not before a little trip to the hospital…