Budget Rooms are small and Standard Rooms are a bit bland
Some rooms pick up interior and exterior noise
Fee for parking
Opened in 1880, Grande Hotel Do Porto is a 19th-century hotel with a rich past hosting notable guests. The mid-range property sits on busy Rua de Santa Catarina, near plenty of restaurants and shops, and a 15-minute walk from Ribeira Square. There’s a gorgeous restaurant where a free breakfast buffet is served, and the hotel also has a handsome lounge bar. Suites are vintage-chic and spacious, but many of the other 94 rooms are simple, and budget rooms are especially small. All include air-conditioning and minibars. A small fitness center and elegant meeting spaces are nice extras, but there's a fee for parking. For a historic property with a smaller scale and frequently fresher rooms, check out Castelo de Santa Catarina. Rates will be cheaper, but it's farther from the city center.
Grande Hotel Do Porto has a storied history of hosting balls, banquets, and a number of notable guests like the Dalai Lama and the Russian physicist, Alexander Stepanovich Popov. Much of the decor still echoes its former grand appeal, like in the pale-green lobby with its crimson circular sofa, or the especially opulent D. Pedro II Restaurant is named for a prior emperor of Brazil who previously stayed at the hotel and has carved ceilings, lavish chandeliers, and velvety red chairs. Guests are a mix of leisure travelers who take advantage of the elegant common spaces, including the handsome Windsor Bar, named for former guest Prince Edward who later became the Duke of Windsor. Black leather-pin tucked couches line the wood-paneled walls in the bar, while a curved chenille jacquard couch offers an intimate, cozy space for guests to enjoy a drink. The Colunas Lounge is a living-room like area with marble columns, heavy wallpaper, paintings in gilded frames, and plush seating in colorful fabrics. Guests can gather on the couches for conversation, while a long, wooden table with huge floral centerpieces provides a fancy spot to access the free Wi-Fi. We spotted plenty of people typing away on their laptops when we visited.
On Porto's busy shopping street near plenty of restaurants, 15-minute walk to Ribeira District
Grande Hotel Do Porto has an excellent location on a pedestrian-only portion of the Rua de Santa Catarina, the main artery in downtown Porto and the city's main shopping drag. There are plenty of restaurants, shops, and cafes in the area, and it’s a three-minute walk to Bolhao Metro Station and an eight-minute walk to the city’s main train station, Sao Bento, where there's also a metro station. The UNESCO World Heritage-protected Ribeira Square is a 15-minute walk away, and several of the city’s main attractions are within walking distance, including Clerigos Tower (11 minutes), Bolsa Palace (18 minutes), and Monument Church of St. Francis (19 minutes). Parking is available for a fee in a small garage, and reservations are recommended. For soccer fans, it’s a 10-minute drive to the Estadio do Dragao, the second-largest soccer stadium in Portugal, and for music fans, it's a 10-minute drive to Casa da Musica, a notable concert hall. Expect a 25-minute drive to the Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport, which can be reached by metro in less than 40 minutes.
Variety of rooms with
minibars, flat-screen TVs, and air-conditioning
There are a few room options at Grande Hotel do Porto, including the small budget rooms that start at 130 square feet (12 square meters), which is tiny even by European standards. In these rooms, floral wallpaper and brown carpeting add a bit of character to the otherwise plain spaces, with just enough room for a bed and desk. Standard rooms are larger, and start at 170 square feet (16 square meters), with all of the same amenities, but a spartan modern feel, white furnishings and brown accent walls. Suites are quite large by comparison, starting at 380 square feet (35 square meters), and are worth it for those with the cash to spare. They have a lot more style, with living room areas that feature chic furnishings like vintage-inspired tripod nautical searchlights, leather chairs, and antique posters and photographs from Portuguese artists hanging on the walls. All rooms have classic bathrooms with marble tiling and shower/tub combinations. Suite bathrooms are especially spacious, but all categories lack much bathroom counter space. Standard features include LCD TVs with satellite channels, air-conditioning, safes, minibars, and free Wi-Fi. Rooms facing the busy street -- not surprisingly -- are subject to a bit of outside noise.
breakfast buffet, restaurant and bar, and small fitness center
There are a number of features here that put this hotel a step above many other city-center historic hotels in Porto. The hotel has a beautiful restaurant serving Portuguese and international cuisine in the evening, and a free breakfast buffet is provided in the mornings, including fresh fruit, cereals, croissants, and a couple hot items like scrambled eggs, beans, and sausages. There’s a cozy bar on-site and a lounge with plenty of seating, The hotel has a small fitness center with a treadmill, stationary bike, an elliptical machine, and a vibrating platform. Massages are available in a small wellness room, and the hotel has a rooftop terrace with charming vintage streetlights and views of neighboring rooftops. Three meeting rooms are available for private events, and the hotel has vending machines with snacks. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, but parking comes at a fee.
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