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5* Hotel InterContinental Porto – Palácio das Cardosas
With its unbeatable setting in a historic palace, InterContinental Porto – Palacio das Cardosas hotel boasts beautifully restored interiors. The hotel overlooks Liberdade Square and is a few minutes’ walk from São Bento station and Lello’s bookshop. Many of the city’s main attractions are nearby, such as the Clérigos Tower. You can take a boat ride along the River Douro or visit one of the city’s famous port wine cellars. At night, dine in our restaurant and enjoy a cold drink in the bar.
The hotel stands prominently at the end of Porto’s main avenue, Avenida dos Aliados, and is hence in the most central part of the city. The São Bento train station is just 100 metres away and the iconic Clérigos Tower is a three-minute walk. While the lively square can be a hive of activity well into the night, soundproofed windows block out most noise.
Style & character
The hotel’s neoclassical design is spectacular. Swarovski chandeliers illuminate the bright, marbled foyer; velvet armchairs create comfortable seating areas; and a mini high street running along the building interior injects added luxe. Old pictures of Porto adorn the walls of common areas and rooms, while a rotating exhibition of contemporary artwork decorates the bar and dining area.
Service & facilities
The hotel prides itself on exceptional service and staff are willing to go the extra mile to ensure guests have an enjoyable stay. From the moment you step through the door, porters, check-in staff and a concierge team are poised to provide a seamless welcome, and room service attendants, spa therapists and waitstaff are equally obliging.
Facilities include a delightfully fragranced wellness centre where a range of massages are offered (the candle wax massage is highly recommended), as well as facial treatments and waxing services. The centre also includes a decent-sized 24-hour gym and sauna, but no pool or steam room.
Like the rest of the hotel, the spacious rooms are well presented with simple yet elegant décor, such as heavy tasselled curtains, chandelier lamps and large embroidered rugs, and the overall guest experience is well considered. For instance, TVs show a personalised welcome message, wardrobes are fitted with automatic lights and padded hangers, bathrooms include a professional hairdryer and amenities kit, and the following day’s weather report is included in the turn down service. All bathrooms include a bathtub (most have a separate shower) and beds are either twins or king-sized with a choice of eight pillows.
Food & drink
The hotel includes the classy Bar das Cardosas, which offers live music most nights of the week, and the Astória Restaurant, where we sampled a seasonal degustation with sommelier wine pairing. While flavour combinations worked better in some dishes more than others, each plate, such as boar tenderloin with wild mushrooms followed by a layered chocolate cake, demonstrated creative flair. The wines chosen to accompany each dish were excellent. Although the onsite restaurant is convenient, it’s an expensive option when compared to other dining options available in the city.