“A collection of cottages for 2-11, in an ancient hilltop village close to the Spanish border; self-cater or enjoy creative cuisine”
Casas do Coro grew organically, as owners Carmen and Paolo slowly restored several village houses. This gradual evolution is mirrored in the varying decorative styles.
In some houses, rooms are let on an individual basis and have a kitchenette; they share a large sitting room. In others, rooms share a common kitchen and living room: these would be the obvious choice for groups of family or friends. Casa do Coro is the only house without any kitchen facilities (although if you rent one suite in a house otherwise occupied by a group, you may not get a kitchen; ask if this is important to you). See Rates for detailed descriptions.
The interiors reflect Carmen's love of antiques and country-style. There are antique bedside table and dressers, retro bedside lamps, stunning chandeliers, chaise-longues, ottomans and ornate headboards. Vast, ridiculously comfy beds are dressed with hand-embroidered sheets and quilted throws, there are masses of framed prints.
We adored the newer pod-like units - Casa Palhal da Torre do Monte and Casa da Torre do Relógio - which have more contemporary interiors. Their glass frontages bring in the views, and they have oodles of honeymoon appeal (they also have little bunk rooms if you're bringing the kids). Hidden across the valley is an eco suite, dos Bogalhais, a gorgeous secluded cabin that's perfect for romance.
Some bedrooms have fireplaces and each of the houses, apart from Casa do Relogio, has a wood-burning stove: it can get very cold up here in winter. Bathrooms have tubs (some hydro-massage) and/showers and fragrant Damana toiletries.
It's a real treat to eat so well in such a remote corner of the country. Once the sun goes down dozens of candles are lit (candelabras inside, lanterns in the garden) and tables are dressed in thick linen cloths; the ambiance is very romantic. Dinners follow a daily changing 4-course menu and the house wines included in the price are from the Douro; all are excellent. There's also a wine list if you fancy picking out a more special bottle.
We started with homemade olive bread, followed by scrummy sauteed mushrooms with bacon and an egg yolk. Partridge and leek gratin was unusual and delicious, and there was a choice of several different homemade desserts.
The buffet breakfasts are every bit as special, and served as late as you like. There's are home-baked breads and treats (multi-grain croissants, slivers of coconut cake), beautiful fresh juices (melon and apple; carrot and orange), and delicious homemade jams (the honeyed greengage is amazing). Although you can order cooked options, we didn't bother, instead filling up on gingerbread and goji berry granolas with yoghurt and fresh mango.
Self-catering wise, the rooms and houses have a mix of kitchenettes and shared kitchens. The kitchenettes are smaller, with basic facilities - microwave, oven, stovetop, a couple of pans, a fridge and a full set of crockery. Kitchens have all this plus a dishwasher, kettle, coffee maker, and more space. Each house has a table in its living room where you can sit and eat, and you can shop for groceries in Meda, 7km away. There are a couple of restaurants in Meda, should you want a change of scene.
Casas do Coro is well set up for families, though there's not masses for them to do on-site. Parents with babies would find the kitchenettes (and microwaves) a real boon, and older kids would enjoy the pool, exploring the village and castle, and would love the interactive sections of the Côa museum.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
All rooms can accommodate extra beds and cots. See Rooms and follow the link to the detailed page for information about how many you can sleep in each cottage. Some cottages have hydro-massage baths, others have normal baths.
Baby monitors will stretch from some rooms/houses to the restaurant, but not all. Please ask for a room nearby if you plan to leave the little'un as walls are very thick, and distances are big.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
All the houses have kitchens or kitchenettes with microwaves, hobs and a fridge (if you're booking 1 room in a shared house, check you will have access to a kitchen/ette if you need one; we didn't get one when we stayed with our toddler as there was a group booking in the rest of the house, and it made life tricky). The nearest grocery shop is a short drive away in Meda; there isn't one in the village.
The pool is not heated. Bring children's DVDs with you. It's a long drive from Lisbon or Porto airports. Kids need to be well supervised, with hazards like unprotected drops (many), an unfenced pool, hot tub and open fires in winter.