Warning: There are a lot of photos!
For disclosure purposes, I was invited by Hilton to stay for two nights, including a dinner and spa treatment, for free. I was kindly shown around the hotel facilities by the Sales Director who was also able to provide me the factsheet to help me with some of the details of this review. The opinions in this review remain my own. Most of the photos were taken by me, but there are a couple I have had to rely on the stock image from the Hotel's website where my own came out rather poorly. These are indicated on a per-photo basis.
Awaking from the tourism hiatus of 2020-21 the city of Porto is slowly returning to its touristic grandeur and with it arrives a new Hilton in the heart of the Port wine cellars. The hotel contains 194 guest bedrooms, including Junior Suites, Duplex Suites, Duplex Deluxe Suites Suites, Executive Rooms, Deluxe Rooms and Guest Rooms. Some have balconies that face the riverside, and others have access to a large internal terrace.
The Hilton Porto Gaia This represents only the second Hilton Hotels and Resorts branded property, the other being Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort and Spa located in the Algarve. This latest €40million development is situated in Port wine cellar district of Vila Nova da Gaia, on the southern bank of the River Douro that runs through Porto. The hotel was opened for business on 20th September 2021, and I stayed just a few days later. Officially Portugal was still under some Covid restrictions which have since lifted so my experience will likely be slightly different to anyone else who visits at a later date.
The hotel is approximately 20 minutes drive from Porto airport. While it is technically possible to arrive by metro (closest station: Jardim do Morro) I would strongly suggest using road transport. I arrived by car.
The hotel has a lovely, introspective décor, taking inspiration from natural browns, greens and greys. In the original CGI renders I had feared it may be too dark, but there is plenty of natural light throughout all the public areas which gives me the vibe of walking through forestry. At night these colours grow moodier as the lighting is dimmed down.
The reception is well-lit and spacious, with a sit-down Guest Relations desk to the left as you enter, and a waiting area to the other side.
Inside the hotel
The corridors around the hotel area have good signage, and fantastic artistry adorning the walls. I am told that the green carpet represents the shape of the River Douro meandering its way through the Porto landscape.
As per the Hilton CleanStay regulations, after the rooms have been cleaned and sanitised by housekeeping, the doors are sealed with a security seal. We stayed in Room 224 and our seal was intact on arrival.
Our room was a King Deluxe Room with River View type, and goodness what a view we had from our balcony! The balcony area was pretty large (from memory around 8m x 2m) and it stretches across two rooms, but it is split with a privacy screen halfway. Each half has two seats and a coffee table provided.
Back to the room. There are the standard amenities you would expect: Coffee machine, kettle, minibar fridge (ours was empty throughout the stay).
We were also presented with a lovely pastry and a delightfully cute bottle of port wine inside the room.
The bathroom is very spacious, and with two sinks makes it great for couples who need their own space
The Executive Floor has 3 lounge areas which connect to each other, and a different vibe within each section. The first is the standard Executive Lounge…
The second is this small secluded seating area with just 4 tables but can probably accommodate around 10-12 people
And lastly there is the panoramic bar which was still (officially) unopened during my stay, but functioned as an extension of the Executive Lounge until the full fittings of the bar come to be.
And the rather epic view out of the corner seat…
As we're only halfway through the review, I thought I would give my views on the parts of the hotel covered so far. I love the river view from the room and the panoramic bar.
The location of the hotel is a bit tricky if you plan to use public transport get there from the airport or Campanhã train station (the terminus station for trains from Lisbon). But it using taxi or Uber, it's certainly a swift ride. Just moments away from the front door of the hotel is the riverside and a large food court, and if you want the scenic way along the riverside, there is even a cable car which takes you to just beside the top deck of the bridge.
The room I stayed in was great – there is actually very little to fault. If I had to pick on something maybe it was a lack of a bath tub, given the showering area was pretty large and there was apparently space to include a bidet. However, with there being a spa area in the basement, the absence of a bath tub did not feel like a loss.
There were many styles of rooms which I was invited in to look at, though I believe the official photos from the Hotel's website are far better than what I took, so I would advise looking at those instead.
In part 2 of the review I cover the gym, spa and the epic amount of food I consumed during my stay.
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