The city of Porto, set on the banks of the Douro River in Portugal, is best known as the source of port wine. In actuality, the port is produced across the river, in Vila Nova de Gaia, and it’s here that you’ll find the wine-themed Yeatman Hotel, possibly the best accommodation option for luxury travelers visiting the Porto area.
The 82 rooms at the Yeatman are decorated in shades of blue, green and yellow and each one is named after a local wine-maker, with art and other touches, like local ceramic tiles, wine bottles, and books, to match.
The rooms are spacious, with sliding glass doors that open onto patios that overlook the river, and feature leather ottomans and easy chairs, work desks, flat screen tvs, and large closets. The bathrooms are also quite roomy and have heated floors and large tubs (from which, if you open the louvred shutters, you can also take in the beautiful view). Skincare products from the hotel’s spa are included.
The 2000 square meter spa at the Yeatman continues the wine-themed luxury, offering wraps, scrubs and massages using Caudalie Vinotherapie products derived from wine, grapes, and grapeseeds. Several treatments use wine or grapes, like the merlot scrub designed to firm skin or the “pulp friction” massage which uses frozen grapes to tone and hydrate. In addition to ten treatment rooms, the spa includes a relaxation area that overlooks Porto and the river, a Vichy shower room, a sauna and Roman baths, an indoor pool and fitness center, heated stone loungers and an ice fountain.
Food is a focus at the Yeatman. The main Michelin-starred main restaurant is run by Ricardo Costa, who was named Portugal’s “Chef of the Year” in 2009, and serves a la carte and prixe fix lunch and dinners that use traditional Portuguese ingredients like suckling pig or cod in new and exciting ways. There’s also a pool bar, Dick’s Bar, and the Library Bar, which doubles as a smoking lounge (the hotel has its own humidor with cigars available for purchase). Those looking for a bit more seclusion can have dinner served on the terrace of their guest room.
The hotel hosts frequent wine tasting events for guests, and can arrange for wine tours into the surrounding Douro Valley, Minho, Dão and Bairrada wine regions.
While the Yeatman isn’t technically in Porto, it offers the best location for those interested in port-tasting. The hotel is at the top of the hill in Vila Nova de Gaia, close to several port houses. In fact, within two minutes of stepping out the door of the Yeatman, you can be at Taylor’s port house, which is right next to the hotel.
It’s only a short walk across a bridge to the Porto side, but with everything the hotel offers you may not want to spend too much time outside. Along with the great views, excellent dining options and indulgent spa, the grounds include indoor and outdoor pools, eleven meeting rooms, and a huge lawn for playing croquet. The hotel also offers all-day babysitting and entertainment for kids.
The Yeatman is eco-friendly too. Solar panels provide energy to heat the water, and low-energy lighting is used throughout the hotel. Rain is harvested to irrigate the large garden, and water is purified by a reverse osmosis system. The hotel also strives to reduce its carbon footprint by using mostly local suppliers and it uses only local plant species in its landscaping.
For a luxury experience in the hear of Portugal’s port wine center, there’s no hotel that can compare the Yeatman. And because Portugal is still a relative bargain, it’s one luxury stay that costs less than you may think. Off- and shoulder-season rates start at around 200 euros per night.
I was a guest of the Yeatman Hotel but all opinions are my own.