Close to the INL, Bom Jesus do Monte, and the University of Minho
Modern, spacious rooms have flat-screen TVs, safes, and bidets
Positively reviewed restaurant serving international and Portuguese cuisine
Outdoor pool with loungers, separate kiddy pool, and nearby bar
Spa with water circuit, indoor pool, and treatment rooms
Fitness center with variety of cardio and strength-training machines
Well-equipped to handle large groups (popular stopover for tour groups)
Wi-Fi is free and available throughout the property
Free outdoor parking, or garage parking for a fee
10-minute drive outside the city center
Views from the rooms aren't particularly inspiring
Lack of privacy in the bathrooms due to glass partition design
Fees to use the gym and spa
Kid-friendly facilities are limited
The upscale Melia Braga Hotel & Spa is one of the top-rated properties in Braga, thanks to its sleek design, spacious and modern rooms, and variety of amenities for both business and leisure travelers. Its location, in a residential area, is close to the Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory and the University of Minho, but it's a 10-minute drive to the city center. The 182 serene rooms have showers and separate tubs, robes, and minibars, but some have poor views. An outdoor pool, well-equipped spa with an indoor pool and treatment rooms, and both buffet and a la carte dining are available. On the downside, there's a fee for gym use, and glass doors in the bathrooms lack privacy. This is an excellent pick for travelers who don't mind the removed location, but those wanting a central setting should look elsewhere.
Modern, sleek hotel with relaxed setting outside city center
Modern and sleek, the Melia Braga Hotel & Spa draws businesspeople, vacationers, and large tour groups, including soccer teams. However, the design of the hotel is a little out of context, given the location on the outskirts of town: it occupies a massive tower block in the middle of low-rise commercial outlets, and with no particular charm on the exterior (it is, after all, part of the Melia chain). While it's particularly well-equipped for large groups, some rooms are geared for romance, such as those with freestanding tubs near beds. Additionally, although there are limited kid-friendly facilities, families still make up a large percentage here. The vibe remains relaxed, however. Interiors are much warmer than the exterior, but they still evoke a chain feel. Nevertheless, this remains one of the top properties in all of Braga for those who don't mind not being within walking distance of downtown.
Located on the outskirts of town, near the INL and university
Positioned close to the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) at a 10-minute walk away, and the University of Minho (less than a 10-minute drive away), the hotel is a good choice for those visiting on INL business or visiting friends and family at the university. However, its location isn't a reason to pick the property if you're interested in sightseeing, as it's located on the outskirts of Braga, in a residential area that has a McDonald's nearby and not much else.
The city center is about a 10-minute drive from the property. The Braga cathedral is the oldest in Portugal and is just eight minutes away by car, but the rest of the city is steeped in medieval and Renaissance architecture, so it's worth strolling around and taking in the sights. It's also close to the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary (around a 10-minute drive) and the Peneda-Gerês National Park (about 45 minutes by car). Porto's airport is about 40 minutes by car.
The hotel has 182 rooms, including suites (with kitchenettes) and the Presidential Suite spread across three VIP floors. Done in gray and beige furnishings with pops of lime green in velvet bed throws, the rooms can't quite shake the chain-style decor, though they're certainly modern and well-done. Upgraded or not, all rooms are spacious for their room type and offer views of the city, which are quite unremarkable, or of Bom Jesus do Monte. Standard amenities consist of air-conditioning, LCD satellite TVs, safes, and minibars, plus desks and seating areas. Bathrooms have rainfall showers and separate bathtubs, plus hairdryers, magnifying mirrors, toiletries, and robes. Some suites have curtains that separate the sleeping areas from freestanding tubs. Note that some guests have complained that the frosted-glass partitions containing the toilets and tubs can be lacking when it comes to privacy.
The typical four-pearl amenities are all accounted for here, though those geared toward kids are limited. An outdoor pool is lovely has a separate kiddy pool and ample surrounding loungers. During the summer, the hotel organizes fitness classes like hydro-gymnastics in the water. Next to the pool is a garden bar, serving snacks, light meals, and cocktails. There's also another bar inside that offers light meals and cocktails, as well as live music on Fridays. El Olivo restaurant offers excellent modern Portuguese and international food, though it's geared more toward the buffet options than the a la carte menu.
An 8,600-square-foot spa offers massages, beauty treatments, and Vichy shower, as well as a sauna, Turkish bath, indoor pool, and hot tub. There's also a gym with a good range of equipment. Surprisingly, access to it isn't included in the room rate.
One of the hotel's floors is host to seven meeting and conference rooms. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property and is mostly reliable. Parking is available on-site for free, or in a garage for a low per-day rate.
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