Have you stayed in Porto?

Old Feb 26th, 2022, 02:25 PM
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Have you stayed in Porto?

Hello, In September we'll be flying to Porto for three nights, then on to the Douro Valley for 4 nts at a quinta. I have never been to Porto and am conflicted about the best location to stay for a first time visit. The views of the river from several Ribeira properties look enchanting but as my knees/feet don't always cooperate for a lot of uphill hiking (or even walking) I think perhaps we should be based more in the center of town? The Intercontinental was considered for it's central location but not now with all the metro construction going on. I've also looked at Maison Albar Hotel Le Monumental Palace or The Torel Palace Porto as possibilities.
I understand that Uber can take you back up or the Funicular... but logistically, what works better...starting up top in the city and walking down or getting the river views with your hotel and then getting transport to the top? Thanks so much for your thoughts.
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Old Feb 26th, 2022, 06:38 PM
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barefootbeach,
I've stayed in Porto and on our last visit I spent time visiting several hotels that were on my wish list to see: the Maison Albar, which is a jewel box of a luxury hotel, the Palacio de las Cardosas, an IHG property, both on Aliados and the beautifully renovated, classic Infante Sagres nearby, whose interiors are gorgeous (the outside still looks unprepossessing but the inside is stunning). The Infante Sagres is on a sloping street but is lovely.

As for the ongoing construction, I just look at it as part and parcel of Porto's boom, just like the constant ongoing construction in Lisbon.
I would look closely at the most recent TA and booking.com reviews of the hotels you're considering to see what recent guests have remarked about the construction noise and email the hotels themselves about the situation around them.

I hear you about the knees!
One can't avoid the Porto climbs entirely, since the city is extremely hilly, but the Aliados area, I think, is a bit easier. Even there, one has to climb a bit, but not as much as from the river's edge. From the Ribeira (which isn't completely flat), to do the usual Porto sightseeing you'll have to climb or use uber or the buses.

I'm not a particular fan of staying next to the river in the Ribeira quarter, although it has its many fans. I just find it, or at least pre-covid, too busy, too crowded, too touristy with dining options that aren't the city's best. I suspect that when the cruise traffic and general tourist traffic comes back to the city the crowds will too. The Ribeira hotels don't quite compete in the same league as the Maison Albar, Palacio de las Cardosad and Infante Sagres.

I haven't seen the Torel Avantgarde with pool, which is a bit out of center. Here's a review by a writer whom I personally know.
https://www.travelcookeat.com/import...antgarde-porto

And from the Telegraph:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/d...ntgarde-hotel/

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 26th, 2022 at 06:41 PM.
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Old Feb 28th, 2022, 03:37 AM
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Maribel, thank you so much for your wonderful post. I really appreciate your thoughts about staying near the river so have ruled that out.
i had checked TA reviews and that's where I read of guests complaining about the construction at The Intercontinental Palacio. I also had read the Telegraph article on hotels which I find extremely helpful. I'll now take a look at Bookings reviews as you suggested .
So, I just have to make up my mind...Maison Alban and Torel Palace are neck and neck. Probably can't go wrong with either.t.
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Old Feb 28th, 2022, 09:16 AM
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barefootbeach,
I agree that you probably can't go wrong at either. Just a matter of what style or "vibe" you prefer.
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Old Feb 28th, 2022, 11:46 AM
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Frm my 2019 Portugal trip report:

Our final destination in Portugal was Porto. We had an Airbnb apartment ($418 for 4 nights) one and a half block from the waterfront. It was absolutely pristine and not someone’s apartment at other times. The rooms had no storage space. The second bedroom was an interior room with no windows to the exterior, just a 6” to 8” wide floor to ceiling window into the living area that could be opened to help air circulation (no AC).

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Old Feb 28th, 2022, 01:25 PM
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I don't like to give bad news, but today I was very happy making plans to go lunch at "Gazela", so as lazy as I am I choose to go down (instead of climbing up from where I was), so, as I was saying, I choosed to go down, cross the Ribeira tunnel, and take the funicular up.

It's not running. The funicular. It was closed. Nothing there informing why or for how long, just a sentence informing "we are closed and will be for a while".

I'm so angry!

I promess I will return here as soon as I know more about this.

Last edited by HelenaFatima; Feb 28th, 2022 at 01:30 PM.
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Old Feb 28th, 2022, 03:57 PM
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Maribel, glad to hear that Infante de Sagres is still a top hotel. We rate their service and the warmth of staff among the top of all hotels we have stayed at all over the world. And their dining room was excellent too. Portuguese friends recommended it to us.
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Old Feb 28th, 2022, 04:09 PM
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HappyTrvlr,
We had the opportunity to tour the Intante de Sagres' newly remodeled interiors and they are simply stunning! The stained glass windows are gorgeous! They also have a new restaurant, Vogue Café. 70 years of being Porto's Grande Dame and still going strong! And it's a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group.
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Old Mar 1st, 2022, 09:27 AM
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guess I better take a closer look at Infante de Sagres!
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Old Mar 1st, 2022, 10:45 AM
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Just a note, the Infante Sagres does sit on a sloping, somewhat steep street.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 05:54 PM
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Maribel, Maison Albar won out. I figure I saved so much NOT going on a Douro river cruise we can splurge on a luxury hotel. Next, I need to figure out where to stay in Lisbon

HelenaFatima, hope that funicular is fixed by September. I feel your pain!
.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 06:00 PM
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If in Lisbon you want something equal in luxury to the Maison Albar, please consider the brand newly renovated Hotel Bairro Alto in Chiado
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Old Mar 3rd, 2022, 05:56 PM
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Thanks Maribel, I will look that up. What do you think of Corpo Santo? I was booked to stay there on a stopover for a Moroccan trip before Covid hit and I had to cancel. Do you like the location of that hotel? This trip, I'll only be in Lisbon for a couple of days before and after a flight to Marrakech. I wanted to at least get a feel for Morocco but didn't want an extended trip like originally planned with Covid still in the picture.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2022, 06:21 PM
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I was tempted to mention Corpo Santo on my post above, since the location in the flat Baixa area, near the Cais do Sodré is very convenient--not quite the "wow" factor of the newly re-designed Bairro Alto Hotel but extremely well reviewed, with (pre-Covid 19) lots of extras for its guests. I've dined there but not stayed there. If I wanted to stay in that area, it would be my first choice.
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Old Mar 4th, 2022, 03:43 AM
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Maribel, Which location do you prefer for convenience…sights, restaurants, shopping, atmosphere? Thanks again for letting me pick your brain!
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Old Mar 4th, 2022, 10:36 AM
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That's a hard question to answer.
The Corpo Santo location is very handy because the area is flat, and it's a straight walk to the water. There's a bus stop across the street, the tram goes by, and it's an easy walk to Cais do Sodré for taking the train to Cascais or for taking the ferry to Cacilhas. But since you'll only be in Lisbon for a few days, you probably don't intend to do either.

The hotel is also close to the Time Out Market, which many visitors enjoy, but it gets very crowded. When we can't find seats at the long communal tables, or don't want to order at a stand and then wait, we go upstairs to the Pap'Açôrda restaurant.
Another dining spot in this area I very much like is Ibo for something different, cuisine from Mozambique and for the water views.
Monte Mar, with a stand in the Time Out Market has opened a restaurant with water views nearby.

The Corpo Santo did (pre Covid) offer complimentary city walking tours for its guests and evening wine and snacks in the lobby. It gets terrific reviews for service and for value.

As for shopping and restaurants and general atmosphere I personally prefer the more "chic" Chiado neighborhood.
My favorite shops are there for browsing----Bertrand bookshop (with café), chocolate shops (for my husband), the Manteigaria pastéis de nata store, the Pastelaria Benard for coffee, the Santa Anna tile shop, the wonderful A Vida Portuguesa handicraft shop, the Sapataria do Carmo shoe store, the beautiful Paris em Lisboa linens shop, Claus Porto for perfumes, creams, the teeny tiny glove shop, Luvaria Ulisses....

Some of my favorite restaurants are also there---Cantinho do Avillez, Bairro do Avillez, A Taberna da Rua das Flores, Aqui Á Peixe,Tágide, Lisboa à Noite

I would choose whichever appeals to you the most. You can't go wrong with either. The rates at the Bairro Alto can be very steep.

Last edited by Maribel; Mar 4th, 2022 at 10:40 AM.
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Old Mar 16th, 2022, 03:02 PM
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Maribel, if you're still online...another question for you about Lisbon hotels.
I booked Bairro Alto Hotel for three nights....then hopefully we fly to Marrakech and return to Lisbon for 2 nights before flying home.
I'd like to stay in an area of town different from the first hotel, and hopefully, less expensive. Where would you suggest? There seems like such an abundance of great hotels to choose from I was thinking around Ave. Liberdad...or Principe Real, but perhaps the latter is too out of the way? Or, stay at the river? Corpo Santo appears to be close to Bairro Alto Hotel so probably wouldn't choose that but then we'd be close to the Timeout Market. Hope you're still reading!
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Old Mar 17th, 2022, 12:10 AM
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I'm in Lisbon now and staying right off the Avenida da Liberdade. This area is so totally different from Chiado, Baixa and Principe Real (the later a bit too out of the way). The avenue was modeled after the Champs Elysées, is leafy, impressive looking with pavers in beautiful swirling patterns, statues, kiosks where one can sit and enjoy refreshments (on Sunday we saw a group there dancing to Caribbean tunes, like the swing groups that.dance on Sundays on the Paseo del Prado in Madrid), benches where one can take a break from walking, now each decimated to a female Fado singer....the avenue is lined with international boutiques (but I don't shop them) housed in beautiful fin de siècle buildings and has no fast food joints, street vendors or souvenir shops. It reminds me a bit of Paris's Saint Germain.

I know the hotels on the Avenida, from the expensive Valverde to the Marriott Autograph Fontecruz (dark and contemporary on the inside), to the Tivoli with its SEEN roof top terrace (it does take cruise groups),to the the contemporary Sofitel and NH Collection to the Heritage Avenida.
The latter, a member of the small and very well run boutique Heritage group, is the one I would choose, as it sits at the beginning of the Avenida, where it's FLAT and just a quick walk from Rossio, where the trains depart for Sintra.

The Heritage Avenida Liberdade also has a small indoor pool, inviting lobby and the exterior is covered with those colorful Portuguese tiles. But here I would choose a superior room as the classic rooms run small. In addition the Heritage group offers senior discounts for those 50+ with free breakfast and free admission to 4 (used to be 10) Lisbon museums, including the wonderful Gulbenkian Foundation.

We're staying now in. another member of the Heritage group, the Art Deco Britânia, but it's further up, about halfway up the Avenue, so we have a bit of a climb. The Heritage Avenida, again, is at the bottom. The whole area around Rossio changes in character right above the Hard Rock and looks more like Paris' 6th arrondissement.

The Time Out market on Sunday was an absolute zoo, just packed to the rafters, people searching for a place to sit, kind of a victim of its own success, so I wouldn't choose a hotel according to its proximity to the market.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Maribel; Mar 17th, 2022 at 12:57 AM.
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Old Mar 17th, 2022, 05:56 AM
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Maribel, you truly are an amazing source of quality information! I'm so lucky you are on this site...like having a "boots on the ground" personal travel advisor!

I did give Valverde a quick look but will check out the others. I had thought I shouldn't stay that close to Rosso, associating train stations with not that great of areas. The avenue sounds lovely so that will be the area to stay in. I too don''t shop at ultra design stores but they are fun for window shopping. Since we really only have one full day there, perhaps a walk and the Gulbenkian will be enough. Thank you again!
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Old Mar 17th, 2022, 06:56 AM
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Hi again Maribel....do you have an opinion on Altis Avenida? It gets great reviews and has a rooftop bar/breakfast area that looks great.
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