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Castelo de Santa Catarina 3.0

Porto, Porto District, Northern Portugal

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Local-feeling Porto neighborhood, five-minute walk to Marques Metro station
  • 15-minute walk to main Via Catarina shopping area
  • Late 19th-century castle with period furnishings and Baroque details
  • Beautiful grounds with patio, garden, and historic chapel
  • Elegant Grand Suite available in turret with impressive city views
  • Traditional and modern rooms with flat-screen TVs and sharp bathrooms
  • Free breakfast buffet includes hot dishes, fresh fruit, and cakes
  • Drinks available for purchase throughout the day
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
  • Free parking

Cons

  • Rooms in the castle may look dated and lack air-conditioning
  • No full restaurant or bar on-site
  • Wi-Fi is spotty

Bottom Line

Castelo de Santa Catarina is a historic mid-range hotel that's a five-minute walk from the Marques Metro station, north of Porto's historic core. This boutique property has 25 rooms divided into charming castle units with lovely tiled bathrooms, or sleek and modern rooms in the hotel's annex. A free breakfast buffet with a mix of hot and cold dishes is served, but no other meals are offered. The lovely grounds include a picturesque garden and a 19th-century chapel, though there aren’t a lot of additional amenities on-site and the historic core of the city isn't within walking distance. Wi-Fi can also be spotty in some rooms. The HF Ipanema Park in the Ouro area has a small rooftop pool, restaurant, and bar at similar rates, but it's farther from the city center. 

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Scene

Former private castle with classic details and a bit of romance

Originally built as a private chapel and castle in 1887, the property housing Castelo De Santa Catarina retains much of its original charm. Beyond its green metal gate, the hotel has a beautiful garden with manicured paths and palm trees as well as a patio with white wrought iron furniture where guests can relax. Inside the colorful tile-covered walls of the castle, the building has an antique feel with an ornate, wooden front desk and a parlor-like lobby featuring period pieces like a large chandelier, heavy wallpaper, oil paintings, and chairs covered in red and gold jacquard fabric. The breakfast room is similarly decorated with carved wooden doorways and columns, patterned flooring, and decorative recessed ceilings, while white table linens and candelabras give the dining space an elegant feel. A majority of the guests are couples, so most breakfast tables have only two table seating. There is also a separate, sleek building housing the Garden Rooms, with a streamlined exterior that was obviously built much later than the castle and is a stark contrast to the rest of the property. Without a proper restaurant or bar, the atmosphere here is predictably quiet, and the attractive grounds and period details make this a romantic choice for those who don't mind being outside of Port's historic core.

Location

Local-feeling neighborhood outside of central Porto, a five-minute walk from Marques Metro

Castelo de Santa Catarina is located in a mixed commercial-residential area outside of the historic core of Porto. The neighborhood has a distinctly local vibe, with corner stores and local businesses lining the main streets, and there are shops, bars, and restaurants in the tightly-packed buildings lining the busy Rua da Santa Catarina. The main Via Catarina shopping area, though, will take 15 minutes to reach on foot. Most travelers will need some form of transportation to reach the city's historic core. It’s a four-minute walk to the Marques Metro station. Porto Cathedral is around a 20-minute trip on the metro, and the cafes and cobbled streets of the UNESCO World Heritage-protected Ribeira district are around a 30-minute ride away on the metro (or about the same time on foot, downhill). Attractions like Clerigos Tower, Infante D. Henrique Square, Bolsa Palace, and Monument Church of St. Francis can all be reached in around a 30-minute ride on the metro as well. It’s less than a 30-minute trip on the metro to Dragao Stadium, the second-largest soccer stadium in Portugal. Expect a 15-minute drive or 45-minute ride on the metro to Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport. 

Rooms

Charming old-world castle rooms and sleek, modern annex rooms

The 25 rooms at Castelo de Santa Catarina vary drastically. Some Castle Rooms have an antique feel, with charming period furnishings like decorative wallpaper, chandeliers, darling wooden headboards, colorful bedding, and vintage black-and-white illustrations in gold frames. Other Castle Rooms have more of a modern look with wooden floors, light blue walls, and a mix of contemporary and antique furnishings. Still others will strike some travelers as dated, and the room that we visited even looked a bit austere. A Grand Suite is available on the fourth floor in a turret with impressive city views. While the room is outfitted with antique furnishings, the bathroom in the Grand Suite is modern, with walls in muted shades, a basin sink, and a shower with body jets that guests rave about. Otherwise, bathrooms in Castle Rooms have shower/tub combinations or stand-up showers, and the one we saw had stunning traditional tilework that made it something truly special.

Modern Garden Rooms are available in a separate annex building, and these rooms are a sharp contrast to the castle rooms. Decor includes white walls, light wood laminate floors, and huge windows, some offering views of the castle and garden. Brown velvety headboards and simple wooden furnishings with clean lines add to the contemporary feel. Bathrooms in the Garden Rooms are streamlined and smallish, with walk-in rainfall showers and not much space around the sinks. The colorful tiling is a nice touch, offering a welcome pop of color amid all of the natural earth tones.

All rooms have wall-mounted flat-screen TVs, electric kettles for coffee and tea, and free Wi-Fi, but no safes. Rooms in the modern annex have air-conditioning, but those in the castle do not. Additionally, it's worth nothing that some guests find the castle rooms to be a bit on the small side, and the room we visited was definitely compact.

Features

Free breakfast buffet, garden with outdoor patio and chapel, and free parking

There aren’t a lot of amenities at Castelo de Santa Catarina, but the hotel serves a breakfast buffet that’s included in room rates. The dining room has an elegant, antique feel, and offerings include hot dishes, cold cuts, cheeses, fresh fruits, cereals, cakes, and coffee. There’s no bar on-site, but drinks are available for purchase in the reception area. The parlor-like lobby and outdoor patio offer seats where guests can enjoy their drinks, and they are quite spectacular venues for kicking back with a book. The hotel's historic chapel in the garden is open to visitors and a feature not found at many three-pearl hotels. The hotel's front desk can arrange tours and activities in Porto and the surrounding region. Free parking is available, and Wi-Fi is free throughout, though it can be spotty in some guest rooms. 

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Address

Rua de Santa Catarina 1347, Porto, Northern Portugal 4000-457, Portugal

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