In 2009 we left Copenhagen with a business plan for a small hotel which we had been working on since our return from a year-around-the-world in 2001.
We had no experience at all in the hotel business.
But after staying in around 2,000 hotels we knew what we liked. Like Helga’s Foley in Kandy, Sri Lanka, Xavier’s place in Chulamani in Bolivia, Chez Silvie in Yangon, Myanmar and a few other cozy gems that had found their ways to our favorite-places-to-stay-around-the-world list because of their charm, ambiance and the basic services that we find relevant. And most important because of all the fantastic people we have met there.
The charm from these places combined with the most important conveniences from the Five stars hotels we’ve stayed in during our business travels was – and still is – what we want to create. And with a small kitchen where long-term traveling food lovers like ourselves can cook their meals when they get inspired by the food at the marked.
But don’t expect a bide in the bathroom, TV, mini fridges, laundry service and similar services that generate the points you need to get Stars in the Portuguese Hotel Category System.
We have many of the ‘star’ services, just ask for them. But that doesn’t count.
Neither do our optical fast fiber internet connection that gives our guest access to their preferred streaming services, all the sockets we have for their mobile gadgets, our common kitchen, our special made 100% cotton bed linen, down duvet, or our home-made bread.
When we arrived in Kathmandu we thought about calling our place Tings Guest House. But the Ministry of Tourism only allowed foreigners to run hotels. We knew that people eventually would call us Tings so we didn’t care.
When we asked industry people in Lisbon for their advice they all said forget about Hotel License – too complicated, too much bureaucracy. Instead they recommended us to get a Hostel or an Alojamento Local (AL) license which are easy and fast to get.
Hostels were out of the question – we hate sleeping in bunkbeds surrounded by farting and snoring people. And since AL only allows for 9 rooms and we didn’t want cheat by making 2 separate entrances, getting a hotel license was our only solution – so that’s why we are a hotel.
To get stars you need specific facilities and as many of the official tourist office’s services as possible… The problem here is that the whole star system is absolutely useless because the ratings varies from country to country.
In the US commercial companies are behind the star system, in Australia it’s run by The Australian Auto Club, in the UK it’s the Automobile Association and in Europe its The European Hotel stars Union, who runs the system.
But Portugal is only ‘observer’ of that and sets their own rules. Nepal is so chaotic that you just give yourself your own stars, so don’t bother LOL.
Nothings wrong with that if it wasn’t for the services you need to get the stars. They are ridiculous.
Many of them either belong to the past or are irrelevant or both. In our case a lift was a MUST to get more than one star because our house is more than 2 levels. BUT we didn’t want a lift because our house is historical in a protected area, and the layout doesn’t allow for it. But as we are located on Lisbon’s highest hill we thought: If our guests can make it to the top – we expect that they can manage the last 2 – 3 floors to their rooms – and we help with their luggage
So that’s why Tings Lisbon only have one star.
And we love our star!
Thomas & Annette