Pensão Amor – The Madam’s Lodge

It is one of the most vibrant spaces in the city of Lisbon and is distinguished by its boldness and irreverence in a daring style that seduces and intrigues us at every turn. This is Pensão Amor, The Madam’s Lodge, which invites us to inhabit the rooms of the 60’s harlots and discover the never-revealed secrets of this former brothel in Cais do Sodré.

60 years after Salazar banned prostitution, a new space has emerged in Lisbon, free from taboos and proud of its identity. Pensão Amor opened in 2011 as one of the most original bars in the city and this year it gained new life with the opening of Madam’s Lodge, a hotel that combines the history of this bohemian center with the lives of the harlots who inhabited it.

The Cais do Sodré area has always been famous for the sailors who disembarked here looking for fun and for the bars named after European capitals. The Pink Street, now famous for tourists and Instagramers, was once a street where secrets, passions, prostitution and various artists shared a common love for a vibrant nightlife.

Madame, the hostess of all “clients” (aka guests), handles everything in a mysterious way. We arrive at the lobby, where they serve a welcome drink, which is the starting point for an adventure that is intended to be uninhibited. A bed with a view of the stars, a private sauna and a swing. This is the Mulata Room, whose history is available via a QR Code. I don’t want to share too much to maintain the secret and the surprise effect, but I can say that this whole scenario fascinates me because the lives of these women are also a story of struggle and feminine power that has been established over the years and that today comes to us in this immersive and personal way.

Each room is carefully decorated with personal objects, old photographs, surprising documents, mysterious messages and many other small details that reveal what life was like around here in the 60s. Roger Mor, creative director of this hotel project, explained to us that “this is an experience inspired by real events as a way of paying homage to the history and lives of the women who lived in this former brothel”. Everyone knows a little about the history of this area of Lisbon, but very little is known about these specific women. 

Pensão Amor, whose staircase features paintings by Nuno Saraiva in an allusion to the insatiable divas, regains the bold life it had in the past, although now in an adaptation to the 21st century, with visitors from all over the world who continue to head to Cais do Sodré to discover this emblematic area of Lisbon, which excels in art and love. Madame says goodbye to us, virtually, and there is love in the air and the promise of a next visit for a new experience.

By Carla Branco


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