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“Very good hotel, excellent location”

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Pestana Vintage Porto
Ranked #9 of 108 Hotels in Porto
Reviewed 5 April 2011

The perfectly central location of this hotel and the charm of staying right in the World Heritage Site old town make this place top notch, and far outweigh the few minor drawbacks I noticed.

Located right on the riverfront in the historic Ribeira area, the hotel is surrounded by restaurants, and a short walk to most attractions, albeit generally an uphill walk to get to the attractions. In ten minutes you can be across the bridge to the area with the port cellars, or on your way up the hill, almost to the cathedral. The area's restaurants and bars are lively, packed with tourists and locals all day, and well into the evening. If you're in town to see the main sites in Porto and Gaia, I don't think you can choose a better location, both in terms of convenience and experience.

The service was excellent. All staff were friendly, professional, and eager to help. One example I appreciated occurred after I returned from a day trip to the vineyards by car, I was supposed to leave the car for the rental company to pick up the next morning. Parking being tricky in an old city, I asked the person at the desk where I might park since I had left it in a place that wasn't legal overnight. Going beyond what I would expect, he kindly offered to move it later in the evening, when parking began to clear up--all went smoothly, and it saved me a lot of hassle. All staff I spoke to were fluent in English; I also heard staff speaking to guests in French, and interacting with Spanish guests without any trouble.

I was a bit surprised that when I arrived at 17:00 my room was not quite ready. I was asked kindly to wait about 10 minutes in the bar, where I was given a glass of port. About 8 minutes later all was ready, so definitely not a big deal to me.

The room was clean and spacious. I reserved a deluxe river-view double, and was very pleased with the room I got, number 306. It faced the river in the western corner of the second of three buildings that make up the hotel. The corner location meant it had 5 doors opening out onto small balconies (3 facing the river, 2 facing west), and allowed for excellent cross breezes. From what I could tell, floors 3 and 5 had balconies with doors (the balconies are just wide enough to step out onto, but having them is still nice), while floors 2 and 4 had regular windows, without balconies. In this room, the bed was 2 wide single beds pushed together but made separately, as is often the case in European hotels.

The bathroom was nice, with pretty good lighting and a shower and bathtub (combined). Unlike in many hotel bathrooms in Europe, one could easily shower without soaking the floor or the rest of the bathroom. The good sized towels were perhaps a bit thin. One sink, with plenty of counter space, hairdryer, toilet and bidet, all in the same room as the shower/bath.

Complaints were minor. The TV was small (about 19 inch) for the size of the room, and did not swivel out for better viewing from the bed. Some of the Portuguese stations did not come in too well (a kind of double image), but the foreign stations (BBC world and CNN international in English, plus at least one in each of French, Spanish, and German) were fine. But, I wasn't there for watching TV, so this didn't really bother me. The wireless internet cost €5 per day, not outrageous, but it is a bit annoying that it can't be free. Also, it was weak to nonfunctional in my room. No iron in the room, but I didn't ask if one was available for loan.

Noise is potentially the biggest problem, something that is purely a result of the great location. The street on the river side of the hotel gets very little car traffic, but the area is a busy area for nightlife, so naturally you can hear a lot of people outside, especially late on weekend nights. On a couple of the nights I left the doors open, and it didn't bother me at all, but on Friday and Saturday nights I closed the doors when going to bed and put on the AC. With the doors closed I had no problem with the noise. I suspect that the farther west (away from the main square and restaurant area) your room is, the less noise you will have.

Overall, I would definitely go back, and strongly recommend the hotel. For me, the great location and staff far outweighed the few small drawbacks.

Related recommendations:
-Kyodai Restaurant, just around the corer, served the best sushi I've ever had, in a small, friendly setting. Reservations are pretty much a necessity. No menu, they serve what was best that day.
-Dom Tonhio Restaurant, in the line of riverfront restaurants, near the bridge, had excellent service and delicious bacalhau.
-Of the port cellars I did tours in (Taylor's, Sandeman, and Offley), Taylor's was free, including two tastings, and by far the best tour. They also had a good selection for tasting by the glass. Tasting at Graham's was quite good, with extra service (and pours) once they saw I was actually interested in the wine. Kopke does not offer tours, but has a comfortable tasting room and good selection.

Room Tip: Pay for the river side, request room with balcony.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled solo
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3  Thank srh1377
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 March 2011

The staff at the Pestana Porto was wonderful--gracious, helpful, sympathetic-- to us as we arrived slightly frazzled after having a flat tire nearby. The desk upgraded us to a beautiful riverview room, the bags were taken care of, and phone number and address of local rental car agency were all produced. The hotel is located in an old and historic section of the city, lots of atmosphere right on the Douro River, totally updated, we would love to go back.
Dinner tip: around the corner (away from the river) Postigo do Carvao. Delicious, local.
Other tip: we found the hotel by using a map; GPS would be a better idea.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank msmdupree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2011

We booked a long weekend in Porto and stayed at the Pestana hotel. Overall it was a great experience! The front desk staff were very helpful - one person in particular was exceptional (Paulo). He gave excellent dinner recommendations - Fish fix and Majara. We booked a river room and it had a spectacular view of the Douro and of the Port houses. The room was clean, spacious and bright. The breakfast selection was decent although the hot food was ok (not exceptional). That aside, overall we were very pleased and would definitely stay there again!

The only 2 things that we would say that we did not like were the shower head and the hairdryer in the bathroom. Both were old and not pleasant.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Swiss_traveller018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2011

Like other reviewers we loved this hotel, not only for the overall standard, for the friendly staff and the fantastic location in the most picturesque historical part of Oporto. Excellent breakfasts served till 10:30 every moring; very civilised & and they were still replenishing the food just before 10:30!

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank arandomname
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2011

As others have said, a beautiful building (and Unesco heritage listed) that was converted to a luxury hotel with a very chic interior around 10 or 12 years ago, which is when I first stayed in it (it was called the Porto Carlton then). This was my fourth visit, and the hotel still has a lovely feel and very comfortable accommodation. If you can afford the premium you must specify a room facing the river, as there are some room that face the opposite way, into a narrow lane. You should also specifiy higher room numbers on whatever floor you are on, as the low numbers start on the square which is full of bars and restaurants and is noisy late into the night, especially at weekends. The materials, furnishing and fabrics of the hotel are all first class internally, and the rooms and bathrooms are very elegant and spacious. Staff are friendly and efficient and breakfast is good. Wifi (6 euros per 24 hours) is fast. Add to all of that the fact that the location is breathtaking, with amazing views of the river and the Port lodges of Villa Nova de Gaia, and really it is a great choice for both leisure and business travellers, though I think it is not a hotel for family's with kids. So a huge thumbs up, and the only downsides I can think of are minor:

1) Shower is on a fixed bracket so cannot be adjusted up or down, and is slightly low for 6 foot plus people.

2) wi-fi is fiddly because you cannot buy for three days, or pay and top up daily, but must get a brand new account each 24 hours, with new login and password.

3) the restaurant no longer opens in the evening and room service very limited - but there are many restaurants just outside and across the bridge in Villa Nova

4) occasional street noise - but hardly any if you get a room on the quayside which has very strict traffic control.

5) beautiful riverside location does mean it is steeply uphill to get to the centre of Porto

But all minor quibbles for such a lovely and characterful hotel. No hesitation in recommending the Pestana. Note that many of the restaurants on the Quay outside the door are very touristy, but d'Tohno at number 13-15 Cais da Ribeira is a very smart and very good, mainly fish restaurant with a classy upstairs dining room and great views.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled on business
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1  Thank scotsmantravelling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2011

We stayed for 5 nights. We had the best room in the hotel - it was on the 4th floor in a corner room with a terrace that wrapped around the room giving us fabulous views of the square, boardwalk, bridge (designed by the same person who designed the Eiffel Tower), river and Gaia. Room was very quiet - unless you opened the windows at night - for us part of the charm was listening to the bustling boardwalk. The bedroom had three french doors leading onto the terrace.The room was large and stylish, with two comfortable chairs, desk, TV, CD player and WIFI! The beds were very comfortable - soft linen and good pillows.Bathroom was fantastic with french doors leading out onto the terrace. Breakfast was great - included sparkling wine. They have a large dining room and two small tables on their patio, which we got everyday we stayed. Service was excellent. Every afternoon we sat outside and had a glass of port wine - delicious! Location was perfect - right on the boardwalk, which was very convenient - lots of restaurants/bars (all with great patios). I'm a vegetarian, so I was worried that I would have trouble finding food - I ate extremely well. Lots of big salads, vegetables and cheese. It was easy to get across the river to Gaia, where we went on several port wine tours. We also took a boat trip down the river to view the different bridges - beautiful views. Going into the city centre does involve climbing hills but there is a tram near the bridge that take you up a bit - so the walking wasn't too bad (may be more of a problem for people with mobility issues).

We highly recommend the Pestana Hotel - it's a little expensive but well worth the splurge!

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank 23Toronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 February 2011

Very nice hotel. Great service with very friendly and polite staff. Very comfortable room.

Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
Thank Carioca10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pestana Vintage Porto

Address: Praca da Ribeira, 1, Porto 4050-513, Portugal
Region: Portugal > Northern Portugal > Porto District > Porto
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Porto
#5 Family Hotel in Porto
#7 Romantic Hotel in Porto
#9 Luxury Hotel in Porto
Price Range: £130 - £263 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Pestana Vintage Porto 5*
Number of rooms: 109
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In one of the most prestigious areas of Porto, the Ribeira historic district you will find the Pestana Vintage Porto, constructed as a group of 18 buildings that have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Postcards always feature the hotel right in front of the Douro River, which blends in nicely with the other historic buildings in the area. We welcome you with an atmosphere that is at once vintage and contemporary, luxurious and romantic. The RIB BEEF & WINE restaurant is the place for true connoisseurs of great beef and wine. All rooms have Wi-Fi and some feature views of the Douro River, the Wine Cellars of Gaia and the D. Luís Bridge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pestana Hotel Porto
Porto Pestana Hotel

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