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maitaitom Oct 12th, 2019 03:19 PM

Douro Valley - Quinta de la Rosa vs. Quinta do Pego
Both look wonderful and rates are comparable - Only differences are Pego has twin beds (think they are side by side, although by the end the trip Tracy wouldn't mind being away from me) and says it has a "bath" while Rosa has double beds and "shower." If you've visited either or both, could you tell me which you liked best. Thanks. By the way, we will have a car.

Maribel Oct 12th, 2019 04:00 PM

I know both, Tom.
Both are fully functioning vineyards and both offer winery tours. Both have a/c and both are privately owned. Quinta do Pego has a slightly higher rating on Booking--9.6 ("exceptional")
I've stayed several times at the 10-room Quinta do Pego during and after harvest season (yes, the beds are 2 twins put together to make a queen). The marble bathroom has a tub/shower combo and comes with bathrobes, slippers and nice toiletries but that annoying wall mounted hairdryer.

Pros to Quinta do Pego:
Absolutely unbeatable, fantastic, incredible, spectacular views from every room (!!!) some of the best views of all the lodgings in the Cima Corgo (the prettiest section of the Douro where the most prestigious wineries sit). And nice vineyard walks. And did I mention million dollar views?
Also truly fantastic wines, ports and olive oil. We love their Gran Reserva.
Most rooms have a sit out terrace
The infinity pool, but thermal heated so not warm enough for me in early November. My friend, the polar bear, enjoyed it.
Welcome decanter of port in one's room plus in room coffee/tea making facilities
When the Danish owners are in residence, the inn runs very smoothly and set evening dinners are memorable when their chef is there.
Lovely breakfasts included in the room rate, taken in the formal dining room complete with unlimited Nespresso, eggs, meats, cheeses and pastéis de nata.
Garage parking
Attentive service
They own a wine bar, Foz da Tavora, down at the river's edge
Small and intimate, like staying in someone's private manor (it used to be a private home). No weddings.

The switchback, narrow, one lane driveway (a short distance) up to the inn freaked out our friend who insisted on being our driver on our last visit. My husband has no problem with it at all, but he's never met a narrow, one land winding road he can't conquer (and he wasn't allowed to drive). There is a stoplight at the beginning of the driveway to let one know if there will be a car coming down, but on our last visit the light wasn't working (they were waiting for a part to arrive from Denmark). Hopefully the light is working now. But it's not that far, and it's part of the adventure of staying up on the terraced hills of the Douro (and will make for an entertaining anecdote in your wonderful trip reports).

Our last dinner (one must book the morning of), when the Danes weren't in residence, left a great deal to be desired, mediocre at best. So we either ate our main meal at lunch while touring and just had sandwiches and wine at night or we had the desk staff order a taxi to take us down to Pinhão for dinner. They have a couple of taxi drivers on speed dial. Ours was a lady.

We're headed back to the Douro in a few weeks and did consider the Quinta de la Rosa. It sits lower, slightly above the river and much closer to Pinhão (just a few minutes by car and an easy drive down the two lane road). We decided to splurge a bit on the Vintage House instead but have a reservation at the Quinta de la Rosa's new-ish Cozinha da Clara with fine river views and outdoor terrace.
If we decide some day to stay at the Quinta de la Rosa (and we probably will), we would book one of the 5 rooms in their newly acquired Quinta Amarela with its own pool, terrace and sitting room. But individual rooms aren't always available since it can be booked as a whole house rental.

Hope this helps you to decide.

Maribel Oct 12th, 2019 05:58 PM

Just to add:
The main reason we haven't stayed at Quinta de la Rosa is that one can't reserve a specific room, just a category, and I believe some rooms don't have sit out terraces or full on river views. There are lots of steps to reach some rooms, but this is clearly indicated on the booking page. Whereas at Quinta do Pego all rooms (save one) have sit out terraces and the inn does have an elevator. All rooms are accessed from inside the inn, and steps are minimal. Most all the Quinta do Pego rooms, save one, I think, are identical in decor and size.

And speaking of spectacular views...
If you’d like to drive up to the valley’s most amazing viewpoints or “miradouros”, I can highly recommend a few:

1. Miradouro São Leonardo de Galafura on the right bank
To enjoy this panorama, drive up from Régua and beyond the village of Estrada on the N313-2 and N313-1. It’s the highest and most breathtaking of all the river valley’s viewpoints! At the top sits a little chapel and a few picnic tables. It’s not a far drive northeast from the town of Régua, maybe 30 min., just uphill! It sits just beyond the Restaurante São Leonardo.

2. The Miradouro of São Salvador do Mundo, on the left bank
It sits southeast of Pinhão and near the village of São Jão de Pesqueira. Take the N222 eastwards from Pinhão to get there, then the N222-3. There are a few small chapels there and benches for a picnic. But it would be a longer, 40-minute drive from Pinhão.

3. Mirador de Casal de Loivos, on the right bank
It sits closer to Pinhão about a 15-minute drive northeast up the M585.

This is a beautiful valley!

maitaitom Oct 13th, 2019 11:20 AM

Maribel, thanks so much for your input. I will show this to the "brain trust" today, so we can make our final decision. I'm leaning toward Pego, especially with the chance of driving us into oblivion. (:

Maribel Oct 13th, 2019 01:00 PM

That's funny:)

We had room #3 that opens to the garden terrace with several seating areas (double sinks in our bath & mini bar with complimentary water/beer). Blissfully quiet. I got up early every morning to have my coffee outside, watch the steady stream of boats coming up the river and to take a short walk in the vineyards. Heaven.
We'll go back in a couple of weeks to purchase wine and will take photos of the famous switchback drive up (it's really not bad).

Maribel Oct 13th, 2019 04:02 PM

For anyone wondering what the drive is like or the atmosphere or the views from Quinta do Pego, here's a video:

maitaitom Oct 14th, 2019 05:03 PM

Maribel, that looks tough to beat. Thanks!


Maribel Oct 14th, 2019 05:48 PM

It is, indeed, tough to beat!

Just some funny (and a bit hyperbolic) quotations about Douro driving from an article in The Guardian:

"Be warned: these roads are for confident drivers only. They are intestinally curly. Climbs are crazily steep. Cliffs must be tightly hugged and other vehicles may well be kissed. Safety barriers seem anathema. Most roads are breathe-in thin. Heroic cyclists with Hoy-like thighs might enjoy the suffering these roads provide."

But not to worry...I'm sure that maitai at the wheel will rise to the challenge! :)

Sher Oct 16th, 2019 08:24 PM

Avianca Underground Museum near Aviero.

Sher Oct 17th, 2019 04:53 AM

Sorry. The correct reference is
Anadia Caves ALianca

maitaitom Oct 21st, 2019 02:42 PM

"But not to worry...I'm sure that maitai at the wheel will rise to the challenge!"

Gulp! I don't think I'll show this thread to the crew.

rialtogrl Oct 22nd, 2019 09:47 AM

Maitaitom, you probably already made your decision but just in case, I have stayed at Quinta de la Rosa several times. It is a fairly large property. It is not hard to get there - no crazy curvy twisty roads - and you can walk into Pinhão or take a taxi for five euro. I always sleep well there, but sometimes I think they are getting a bit too busy for their own good.

There are not so many private terraces but there are a few terraces scattered about for everyone's use. They also have a couple of nice "lounges" for guest use. The public lounge in the Amarela house is especially nice but the house is 300 meters from the restaurant/breakfast which is not so much of a biggie in the day, but at night it is a bit dark walking back. I would much rather stay in the main area than at Amarela house. If you can get a good price for the suites, they are pretty sweet :)

Breakfast is good and the restaurant is very good but fairly pricey in my opinion. Views are great from the dining room. You can also bring picnic stuff to the shared terraces.

maitaitom Oct 22nd, 2019 04:15 PM

Thanks Maribel and rialtogirl for your hotel suggestions and sher for the museum. We decided on Quinta do Pego and we have all taken out an extra life insurance policy if I'm behind the wheel. (:

Maribel Oct 22nd, 2019 06:03 PM

Glad you took out that extra insurance. We'll be there in a few weeks. My driver will try to straighten out the curves for you!

maitaitom Oct 22nd, 2019 06:10 PM

Send photos, and tell them we're very nice people (: We'll be there October 1 through October 4 next year.

progol Feb 4th, 2020 06:09 AM

What’s the area like at the end of April? I’m looking to stay possibly 2 nights in the area and want to get a sense if this is a good time to be there.


Maribel Feb 4th, 2020 09:28 AM

I haven't been at the end of April, just in the fall during and after the harvest, when the fall colors are stunning.
I do know that April is the beginning of the tourist season. At the end of April I would't hesitate, but I'd also expect some rain.

The time to avoid the Douro is in the height of the summer when temperatures can easily soar into the 40s and in some parts of the valley, the Upper Douro, to 45C, as our guides have all consistently told us.
They say, “nove meses de inverno, três meses de inferno”=“9 months of winter, 3 months of hell”
But our guide at Quinta do Crasto also said that it is beginning to seem more like 6/6.
We've been in mid-October when the day temperatures have been in the upper 80s.

Again, I would go at the end of April. There should be some considerable green. And lodging will be easier to book.

progol Feb 4th, 2020 09:30 AM

Thanks, Maribel, that's helpful. I will definitely book then. Even though it's less busy, some of the places are already booked up!

Maribel Feb 4th, 2020 11:05 AM

I'm not surprised that some places are already booked up, because the Douro has become so popula. There aren't that many places to stay and they are small.

In addition to the two in this thread's title, you might look at Quinta de Marrocos, Quinta do Tedo, Quinta de la Pacheca (no river views here but a pretty estate), all an easy access off the N222 and Quinta do Vallado, a 5-minute drive from Régua (not on the Douro but instead on a tributary) and Casa de São Domingos in Régua itself. Or a 10-minute drive northwest of Pinhão there's Casa do Visconde de Chanceleiros.

xyz99 Feb 5th, 2020 02:44 PM

I tried both la Rosa and Pego for Sept, and they (and a few others) were fully booked for our dates. Unfortunately, I could not re-arrange the days to fit their availability. We ended up booking at Vintage House which is more expensive, but it gets good reviews. We will miss the expansive views, but plan to visit some wineries for views and maybe easy hikes (and I hope they'll be able to organize the visits for us, and we won't have to drive).

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