Star Inn Porto… The travel agent who booked me for this hotel had been slightly misleading about its location. The hotel is definitely not close to Porto’s center… Nonetheless, in retrospect I’m glad I got to know the place. There are plenty of compensating factors, features to recommend this hotel. Strictly in terms of the premises, the rooms are super clean and comfortable. Let me tell you – super important the cleanliness part - bed linen, towels, and daily cleaning of the rooms – all spic and span. All rooms with aircon, and free wifi works too. And all of this at a price which is affordable, comparatively economical. Yes, once in Porto, I took the time to check out alternatives. Do not expect to find anything as clean and comfortable as the Star Inn at those prices - surely not downtown.
Now to the people side. The features of hotels are important, but the persons working there make or break the business. The individuals I ran into working at this hotel turned out patient, basically Portuguese kind (which means very friendly) and cooperative whenever called upon. I had trouble rebooking with RyanAir, for one, because not having access to a printer. In turn, Ricardo at the front-desk went out of his way to take care of matters. Thanks, Ricardo.
Now to a few shortcomings. I wasn’t quite sure about the drinkability of the tap water in my room. I called the front-desk in the middle of the night and, sure enough, the night porter told me it was not recommended to drink this water. Of course, I went thirsty until I got hold of bottled water. Showering – yes, brushing teeth – OK, but not to drink this water, only at your own risk. Under the circumstances, I asked the front-desk to henceforth make arrangements for a bottle of potable water in my room. It was done. No extra charge!
Recommendations about shopping in this remote neighborhood on the outskirts of Porto would help as well. Allow me to make a few recommendations. Leaving the hotel through the back-door, immediately across the street, there’s a pharmacy with the name Santa Lucia. A few yards around the corner is probably one of the cleanest – and best sorted – confeitarias (cafés) in Porto. The place is called “Inspiracao Mitica”… And it turned out to be an inspiration. Great place to have breakfast, lunch or early dinner (they close at 8 PM) and, again, super clean, including the bathroom, and right around the corner from Star Inn – two minutes walking distance. Importantly, too, not pricey! Yet another useful resource. Again leaving by the back-door, turning right off the hotel parking lot, heading straight for about 5 minutes, there’s a major grocery store – convenient for those days you don’t care to eat out.
Changing directions, leaving the front-door of the hotel, crossing the street, there’s a short stair case alley leading to the next road level – a busy major highway. Crossing is to be done with a lot of care, but can be done. There’s a median in the middle making things easier and safer. Kitty-cornered across this highway is one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve run into, great selection of all that’s typical about the Italian cuisine, great wine and beer selection and, just as important, a place with ambiance, character. Be sure, talk to the owner, Senhor Vasco, the architect of this interior, for his menu and wine recommendations for the day and, if so, tell ‘m upfront you’re on a budget. This frankness pays off. The bill will come out considerably less, and you’ll still wind up with a great, generous meal. Yes, the portions are large.
Finally, if and when going downtown, the most economical way to do things is to use public transportation - buses, or autocarros as they say in Portuguese. . All the buses I got to know in Porto are state-of-the-art German imports. Do not buy the one-way ticket; instead, buy the 24-hour ticket allowing one to take the bus, or metro, all day long for the price of EU 7.95. A one-way ticket will cost EU 1.85; add the return ticket and things tend to add up fast. From the hotel, be sure to take bus numbers either 301 or 304. They’ll get you right to the city center, will get you back to the hotel too!
Be sure to enjoy your stay in Porto, at the Starr Inn, and hope the present information will make your stay even more pleasurable...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel Star Inn Porto is the first low-cost design hotel in Portugal. Offering simple yet comfortable accommodation, this contemporary hotel appeals to all travellers looking for a reasonably priced hotel. The rooms are well-designed and feature lcd flat screen, power-shower and hair-dryer. The Hotel Star Inn occupies a strategic position between Oporto city centre and the airport. Offering good public transportation links, all of Oporto’s major sights and commercial centres are within easy reach. ... more less
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