“Stylish seafront haven of self-catering apartments for 2-5, just a tram ride from Porto's vibrant historic centre”
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 a gourmet breakfast delivered to your door (extra cost); 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.
- 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 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
- 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 can get busy in summer; the sea is cold and often too wavy for swimming
- A cash or credit card security deposit must be paid on arrival
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Apartments
- 5 apartments for 2-5
- Self-catering; restaurants nearby
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
There are 5 one-bedroom apartments, all beautifully and creatively decorated, all with an open-plan living-dining-kitchen area and additional sofabed(s) if required. Expect arresting artworks on pristine white walls, state-of-the-art light fittings, designer touches (we loved the invisible bookstand) and sumptuous bathrooms of grey Carrara marble and stainless steel, courtesy of Porto architect Adalberto Dias. The Sea View Apartments are amply worth the small supplement: you can watch the Atlantic waves from your dining table, and enjoy air-con at night.
Each apartment sleeps up to 4 or 5 in various combinations of kingsize, queensize and single beds - see Rates for full details. The main bedroom sits inside an ingenious raised box: 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 rolls in and out of a wall in the living room; if there are only 2 of you, it is hidden by a sofa. Genius.
The charming Miguel, who juggles this with a career as a vet, has thought of all the details: fast WiFi, high thread-count sheets, downy duvets, iron and ironing board, bucket and spade, parasol and windbreaker, beach towels, safe, and a map of his favourite local restaurants. You feel in very good hands here.
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Internet access
- Ipod dock
- Satellite TV
- Tumble dryer
- Washing machine
If you choose a B&B rate, a lovely DIY breakfast is delivered to your door at a time of your choosing. Inside your basket you’ll find everything from freshly squeezed orange juice to fresh custard tarts, homemade jams, cheese and ham, little bottles of milk and cereals. There’s great coffee, too, which you make in your nifty Portuguese-made 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.
There are several excellent eateries within walking distance. We enjoyed a perfectly good lunch right opposite, at Popular Do Foz, of grilled sardines, dourada (sea bream) and pork chops Braga-style, served by a friendly professorial chap with excellent English. It's worth booking dinner at Casa Vasco (10 mins' walk) for its winning combination of boho-chic decor, superb petiscos (mini portions) of seafood, and lo-glam vibe (jacket or heels optional; tan essential). There's also outstanding authentic sushi at Ichiban, 15 mins' walk away.
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 ever-popular O Buraco - as traditional as it gets, with plenty of roasts and the ubiquitous salt cod.
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Restaurants nearby
- Ride a mahogany-lined tram into central Porto (or take a bus if you prefer, both take 10-15 mins): visit the Torre de Clerigos (for the views) and the huge Se cathedral; cross the Dom Louis I bridge for jaw-dropping vistas over the river; wander the cobbled passages of the World Heritage Ribeira district, then enjoy a drink on the quay
- 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, continue on to the Museu do Vinho do Porto, recounting the story of the city’s famous tipple
- Marvel at modern art and quirky sculptures in the Museu de Arte Contemporanea; or admire traditional azulejos(hand-painted tiles) covering the Igreja do Carmo and São Bento train station
- 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
- 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
- Back in Foz, top up your tan on the small beach 2 mins' from the apartments; expect big Atlantic rollers and cold seas
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Live music
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Well being
- Wine tasting
Families are welcome and will appreciate the independence of staying in an apartment. It's well equipped, with plenty of cooking equipment and beach gear (bat and ball, bucket and spade, parasol and windbreaker, towels). Extra beds/baby cots can be added to all apartments; highchairs and babysitting can be provided on request (small charge).
Family friendly accommodation:
We stayed in the first-floor sea view apartment which was lovely and spacious for a family. All apartments have an enclosed bedroom (kingsize double) and an additional pull-out bed (queensize) in the living area, but none have twin beds.
Families Should Know:
The sea is too cold for comfortable swimming, and often too wavy