When I booked my flight to Porto in April, I wasn't convinced I would either see the sun or find much of interest - and thankfully I was very very wrong thanks to the fantastic hotels in Porto!
Undiscovered Portugal in the Douro Valley
Only a two hour flight from London, the Douro Valley is easy for a weekend and well worth visiting whilst it is still "undiscovered". My first stop was at the Yeatman, a new hotel in the city of Porto which overlooks the historic town - the view from every single room is stunning. Everything about the hotel centres around wine and port, from the bed built into a huge port barrel, to the decanter shaped swimming pool. Every week they focus on a different wine, which they promote throughout. The bedrooms are huge and the spa is fantastic. Our next stop was the recently refurbished Vidago Palace north of Porto.
Vidago palace, north of Porto
On arrival you're met by a very pink and completely overwhelming fairy tale palace. As you walk into the hotel lobby the sweeping staircase is striking and the restaurant in the beautiful ballroom made me feel like I had just stepped out of a film (and it was fantastic). It's very easy to hide away from everyone in the spacious grounds surrounding the hotel and the small village of Vidago is only a short walk away. The rooms are classical and spacious, with free standing baths and crisp white linen but there are still plenty of mod cons hidden away.
Aquapura in the heart of the Douro Valley
The following night we checked in to the Aquapura, in the heart of the Douro Valley and wow was it different. The hotel looks like an old farmhouse with beautiful terraces, but inside it's not what you imagine! The furniture is modern and everything about the hotel has been thoroughly thought through. Each room either faces towards the valleys with vines perfectly lining the hills or towards the river. The bathrooms are huge and the beds are incredibly comfortable. In the communal areas, there are plenty of coffee table books and board games, it's very easy to forget what time of day it is - a sign of true relaxation.
I learnt two things...
During my time in the Northern part of Portugal I learnt two things - the recently built and refurbished hotels around Porto and in the Douro Valley are fantastic and well worth a visit and the sun certainly does shine in April!