Boutique Apartments Porto

Porto, Douro & Minho, Portugal Book from

Stylish seafront haven of self-catering apartments for 2-5, just a tram ride from Porto's vibrant historic centre
The taster of port wine that greets you on arrival pays homage to this city, the capital of port-making - and a visit to its ancient port lodges on the banks of the Douro is a must while you're here. But staying in the World Heritage-listed historic heart can be exhausting and noisy. These apartments on the dramatic Atlantic-lashed seafront where the Douro meets the ocean, a quick tram or taxi ride from the centre, are the perfect solution. Here you can have your port and drink it - to the soothing sound of the breakers.

Housed in a 19th-century seafront mansion in the elegant Foz district, the 5 boutique apartments have been artfully designed by José Carlos Cruz, one of Portugal's foremost architectural firms, with creative furnishings to match. If the eye-catching art on the walls takes your fancy, you can buy it - each apartment showcases up-and-coming Portuguese artists. Start your day with the gourmet breakfast delivered to your door; end it by cooking up a storm in your well-equipped kitchen or sampling Porto's restaurants, of which there are masses. Each apartment sleeps 2 in its main bedroom, but ingenious rollaway beds mean there's space for up to 5. Perfect for young couples, friends, families and design-lovers seeking independence and style while imbibing the faded glory of this wondrous city.

Highs

  • Contemporary cool at its best; the apartments are all different, but each is stylish, spotless and brimming with design surprises
  • Smell the sea and sleep to the sound of Atlantic breakers, knowing that historic downtown Porto is within easy reach
  • Excellent value for money (prices shown are based on 2 people, but additional guests are only a bit extra) and rates include breakfast, self-catering basics and daily cleaning
  • Foz do Douro is a really buzzy district with interesting independent shops, restaurants and grocery stores
  • An on-call concierge service by owner Miguel, to help you plan your days

Lows

  • You’re not right in the centre, but it’s quieter here, you have the sound of the sea, and it’s only a 10-minute bus or tram ride from central Porto
  • No formal reception. But Miguel is available at the press of a mobile phone button
  • The beach in front of the apartments is not the cleanest and gets very busy in summer, but it’s not far to reach quieter, pristine ones
  • A cash or credit card security deposit must be paid on arrival

Best time to go

Come in March, April and May before it gets really hot, in September if you’re interested in seeing the grape harvest (well worth it), or in October for late summer sun. July and August have fantastic weather, but they are the high season with a lot of tourists. You may wish to time your trip to coincide with one of Porto’s many festivals, the most famous of which is the colourful Festa de São Joao (St John’s Festival) on 24 June.

Our top tips

  • Take good walking shoes for all those steep cobbled streets and hills in Porto - there are a lot
  • Don’t miss Livraria Lello, a bookshop housed in a fabulous Art Deco building on the Rua das Carmelitas - it looks more gentlemen’s club than bookshop
  • Great for...

    Beach
    Cheap & Chic
    City Style
    Family
    Honeymoon
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Apartments
    • 5 apartments for 2-5
    • Self-catering (breakfast included; restaurants nearby)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Daily Maid Service
    • Towels & Bedlinen
    • Concierge Service
    • Bicycles Available
    Room: Sea View

    Rooms

    There are 5 One-Bedroom Apartments, all beautifully and creatively decorated with sea or city views. There are some standard features (pristine white walls, state-of-the-art light fittings, grey Carrara marble and stainless steel bathrooms by Porto architect Adalberto Dias), but each has its particular character. The works by Portuguese artists on the walls (notes provided) for instance, as well as the layout and the views. Our favourite were the Sea View apartments - you can watch the Atlantic waves from your dining table, and you get air con - but the City Views are slightly cheaper.

    Prices shown are for 2, but each apartment sleeps up to 5 in various combinations of kingsize, queensize and single beds - see Rates for full details. All have 1 bedroom, on a mezzanine floor or in an ingenious boxed-in bedroom. Shut the doors during the day and you’d think the space was just a cupboard, but throw them open at night to let air in while you sleep. The second double bed, should you require it, rolls in and out of a wall in the living room. If there are only 2 of you, it is hidden by a sofa. We thought this was a design masterpiece, and also liked the swing-door style of the bathrooms.

    All apartments have a living area and kitchen for self-catering. Gadgetry includes satellite TV, an iPod dock and free WiFi. Spoiling toiletries in the shower bathrooms are by Claus Porto, an old Porto company that uses 100% vegetal ingredients to make soaps, shampoos and so on, all in beautiful packaging. If you like them, you can buy more in town.

    Features include:

    • Central heating
    • Coffee maker
    • Coffee tea making
    • Cots Available
    • Dishwasher
    • Dvd player
    • Extra beds
    • Fridge
    • Full kitchen
    • Hairdryer
    • Hob stove
    • Internet access
    • Ipod dock
    • Iron
    • Microwave
    • Oven
    • Satellite tv
    • Toaster
    • Toiletries
    • Tumble dryer
    • Washing machine
    • WiFi

    Eating

    Breakfast is delivered to your door at the time you request (between 9-10am). Inside your basket you’ll find everything from freshly squeezed orange juice to fresh bread and pastries with homemade jams, plus cheese, ham, little bottles of milk and cereals. There’s great coffee, too, which you make in your espresso machine.

    The apartment kitchens are compact but cleverly designed, some concealed behind concertina-style doors. You'll find a hob, an oven, useful cooking equipment, a fridge and a dishwasher, and all the basics are provided (oil, salt, pepper, washing-up liquid etc). As a thank you for booking through i-escape, you'll also receive a welcome basket of tea, coffee, fruit, flowers and a delicious cake. There are grocery stores nearby for everything else. We loved the selection of deliberately mismatched antique plates and teacups.

    For restaurants you’re spoiled for choice; Miguel will advise according to your budget and tastes. Our local favourite was Cepa Peixe, a chic eatery across the street from the apartments which specialises in fresh fish. If you want something cheap and totally traditional (including tripe, for which Porto is famous!) head for A Capoeira. Or for seafront chic and fusion food try Shis, on Ourigo beach nearby - sit on the terrace if it’s sunny.

    Downtown there’s a wide selection of restaurants to suit all pockets. The place to go if money is no object is DOP, a swanky eatery inside the Palacio das Artes building in Ribeira, whose chefs give a modern twist to traditional Portuguese fare. For something more modest try Rogerio do Redondo, or for low budget and as traditional as it gets (with plenty of roasts and the ubiquitous salt cod), head for the ever-popular O Buraco.

    Features include:

    • Breakfast
    • Coffee maker
    • Coffee tea making
    • Fridge
    • Full kitchen
    • Hob stove
    • Microwave
    • Oven
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Toaster
    Eating: City
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Ride an ancient mahogany-lined tram to the centre and take in Porto’s historic sites, from the Torre de Clerigos (for the views) to Se cathedral and the many churches. Alternatively Miguel can arrange for you to join an organised tour
    • Wander the cobbled passages of Porto’s World Heritage-listed Ribeira district, then enjoy a drink on the quay and watch the boats
    • Walk across the Dom Louis I bridge for a bird’s eye view of the city
    • Tour the cellars and taste the port at one of the historic lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia, on the opposite bank of the Douro. We liked Graham’s and Taylor’s but there are many to choose from. If you get hooked on port, continue on to the Museu do Vinho do Porto, recounting the story of the city’s famous tipple
    • Marvel at the modern art at the nearby Museu de Arte Contemporanea and admire the quirky sculptures in its 18-hectare park
    • Go to a bar to hear fado, Portugal’s mellifluous answer to the blues
    • Stretch your legs and get a dose of sea air by following the Maritime Board Walk to the 50-hectare Parque da Cidade (City Park), which leads down to a wonderful sandy beach
    • Enjoy the azulejos (hand-painted tiles) covering the Igreja do Carmo and inside São Bento train station
    • Take a boat or train down the Douro valley and stop off for lunch and a tasting at one of the vineyards growing grapes for port. If it’s harvest time, watch the port wine-makers plying their ancient art
    • Spoil yourself with a massage, life-change consultation or hatha yoga session in the privacy of your apartment - Miguel will arrange

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Cycling
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse-riding
    • Live music
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Private guided tours
    • Shopping / markets
    • Well being
    • Wine tasting
    • Yoga

    Kids

    Families are welcome and will appreciate the independence of staying in an apartment. Extra beds/baby cots can be added to all apartments; toys, highchairs and babysitting can be provided on request (small charge).

    Best for:

    All ages

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

    Kid Friendly: city

    Our guests' ratings...

    10/
    Rooms
    9/
    Food
    10/
    Service
    10/
    Value
    10/
    Overall

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