I originally booked the Sheraton Porto for three nights using points, but when I reorganized the trip and decided on two nights in Porto instead, I explored the available options through American Express Travel. I had a $200 credit to use toward a hotel either in the Fine Hotels & Resorts group or The Hotel Collection group. In the end, I settled on an Amex Hotel Collection option, the Boeira Garden Hotel, a Hilton Curio property, over the Intercontinental. The Intercontinental booking would have come with more benefits through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, but the room rate was more than twice as much and the hotel charged for parking. The Boeira Garden is also in Vila Nova de Gaia, across the river from Porto, in a much easier to access neighborhood and has free parking. Since I would be driving in and out, it made sense to factor this into my decision.
Another important factor was Hilton Diamond benefits. As a top-tier Hilton elite, I would already qualify for free breakfast for two and a potential upgrade, along with bonus points. Most third-party bookings don’t allow for elite benefits, but Amex Travel does allow you to put in your member number and double-dip on the benefits.
We arrived at the hotel around 10:00am after driving 45 minutes from Amarante. It was very easy to find the hotel as it was very close to the A44 highway. We parked in the hotel’s garage in one of the spots reserved for Hilton Diamond members.
Our room was available, even that early. I was thanked for being a Diamond member and told we were being double upgraded to a 1 bedroom suite because of both the Diamond status and Amex Hotel Collection program. We were given some information about the property and walked to the elevator in the other building where we could access our room.
The property has a historic old building by the pool that is used for events, a winery on site and some modern, utilitarian looking buildings where the lobby and rooms are located.
Our room was on the 3rd floor of another building connected to the lobby by a walkway. We were all the way at the end of the hallway. The decor was all plain wood and kind of Scandinavian looking.
We didn’t have much of a view but there was a balcony.
The weirdest thing in the room was the shower. There was a huge jacuzzi tub that was very hard to step into, even for me at 5’11”. The rainfall shower head was in the middle of the tub.
We were given a welcome amenity of some port and chocolates.
The hotel also offered us a free port tasting, but we never got around to it. I think we managed to drink enough port during our time in Porto anyway.
Breakfast was probably the weakest offering of the three hotels where we had it included in Portugal. The buffet included the usual hot and cold items, but there was no indication of the ability to order anything else, including coffee drinks. There were no pasteis de nata on the buffet either.
The first morning there was also a large tour group arriving right when breakfast opened at 7:30am. The second morning was quiet.
We ate dinner at the hotel the second night as we were exhausted from walking around Porto for two days and we (mostly me) wanted to watch the Champions League Final on TV. The food and drinks were very reasonable, so much so that we didn’t even use up our full $100 credit.
On our second day there, I spent some time at the pool. There was a fashion show being prepped for that evening on the other side of the pool, so it was interesting watching the preparation.
For some reason there were also several Lamborghinis at the hotel as it appeared there was some sort of dealer meeting going on.
Overall, I was happy with the decision to stay at this hotel. We got free parking and did not have to drive into Porto. We paid about $100 per night after the Amex hotel credit was applied and received a $100 food and beverage credit plus free breakfast which just about covered the cost completely. An upgrade without even asking is always nice and the staff (as everywhere in Portugal) were friendly and helpful.
That being said, I’m not sure I would recommend this property unless you both 1) have a car you want to park while in Porto and 2) have the Amex hotel credit to use. There are plenty of nice hotel options on the Porto side which will save you a bit of time when you explore the city.
Next up: Driving South from Porto
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