Hotel: Pestana Palacio do Freixo, also known as the Pousada do Porto.
Address: Estrada Nacional 108, 4300, Campanha, Porto, Porto e Norte, Portugal (about 4km from the centre of Porto).
I stayed at the Palacio for one night at the beginning of April, 2016. Run by Pestana Hotels, the Palacio is classified as a national monument, and is also a member of Portugal’s national association of pousadas.
Reception: The check-in process was very smooth. As soon as I entered the lobby, I was ushered to a comfortable chair in front of the reception desk in a chamber next to the Moorish lobby. Although the formalities took only a few minutes, I was served a small glass of port. The young man who had first greeted me at the door also showed me to my room. This was a nice touch and probably necessary because the layout of the Palacio is complicated.
Room: There are 5 classes of rooms. All of the guest rooms are in a converted industrial building that was built by some entrepreneurially-minded 19th century owners of the Palacio. It is connected to the palace building by a 2-storey extension.
I booked a “Classic” room. Although this is the most modest class of room, it was quite spacious, large enough to have a sofa and a chaise longue in addition to the large and comfortable bed.
I appreciated the reading light next to the chaise. It amazes me how many hotels neglect to provide one anywhere in the room!
The bathroom contained partitioned sink, toilet, and shower areas. The water pressure was excellent. All the necessary toiletries were provided, and everything was sparklingly clean.
The room had a view of the Douro River. Since the Palacio sits within its own spacious grounds, there is no audible street noise at night.
Facilities: The public rooms are in the Nasoni-designed historic palace (see the previous post for details). There is a restaurant, of course, but I didn’t eat in it except for breakfast. I did have a nightcap in the chic bar. Unsurprisingly, you can get some top-notch port. There is also an outdoor bar, but it was closed due to rain on the night that I stayed.
There is a comfortable lounge next to the bar.
The breakfast buffet was lavish. It was laid out in a large room overlooking the river. I selected a table under the turret that you see in the photo below.
Every type of hot and cold breakfast food was provided. Eggs are made to order and delivered to your table, but I particularly enjoyed the array of cold meat, fish, savouries and fruit.
I had a cheese and sparkling wine course because it was there and I could. There was also a delectable assortment of baked goods on offer.
The facilities also include a spa, an outdoor pool (closed in early April, of course), and a heated indoor pool, in which I took a dip in early evening. The water was heated to a comfortable temperature. There is a large lounging area and a Finnish-style sauna and shower area next to the pool. There were no attendants on duty, but a stack of towels was placed conspicuously. I could have wished for some brighter lighting in the pool area after the sun went down.
Service: Excellent. The staff was uniformly courteous and attentive. The young man who showed me to my room greeted me by name whenever we crossed paths for the rest of my stay. The same young man also organized my taxi to the train station when I left.
Location: About 4 km from the very centre of Porto, so perhaps not ideal for those wishing to explore the historic core intensively. The Palacio provides several daily shuttles to the Ribeira area. The location is very convenient to Campanha Station for trains to Lisbon; my taxi ride there took barely 5 minutes.
Grounds: There is a small but charming Italianate parterre next to the river. There is also a landscaped and forested hill behind the motor court with a walking trail. The hill affords a fine view of the Palacio, the bridge, and the river.
Price: Internet rates from 122EUR/night were available on the hotel’s own website as of 16/09/2016. I secured a slightly cheaper rate for my Classic Room in early April by booking through my frequent flier club’s reservation service.
Recommended: Absolutely. I would love to stay again.
Have you stayed at the Palacio? If so, please share your experience in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
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