Every second person you chat to, endless influencers on Instagram, they’re all doing it: snapping the blue and white tiles, gorging on pasteis de nata and, above all, bragging about their trips to Portugal. The Iberian country has never been more en vogue and offers historical charm and top culinary culture (as well as an alluring Golden Visa programme for South Africans — where a €350K investment in property earns a residency permit for an entire family). Along with its renewed popularity and an influx of visitors comes a fresh crop of cool hotels. We spent a week trying out those in different Lisbon and Porto neighbourhoods. We recommend:
1. THE GRAND OPTION: Torel 1884
Torel 1884 offers a whistle-stop tour of the world. Divided by floors into Africa, The Americas, and Asia, the elegant rooms each invite exploration of a different theme — from tea and porcelain to tobacco and silk. The hotel has been beautifully fitted out with bespoke finishes, objects, and local artistry and craft wherever possible. Once a bank, the nearly 150-year-old building has the grandeur to match its years, with spacious common areas on the landings and original tiled floors. Its beautiful Bartolomeu Bistro & Wine restaurant is a work of art in itself, and the wine “cellar” — originally the bank’s vault — houses a wide selection with a focus on small local producers.
2. THE LITTLE GEM: Gran Cruz House
Overlooking the river in one of the buzziest areas of Porto, Gran Cruz House is a nod to the rich — you guessed it — port heritage of the area. Each room is named after a type of port, for example, Tawny, Reserve, White, Ruby, Vintage. It’s compact but beautifully finished and has a homelike feel, courtesy of its petite size. The stylish restaurant’s knowledgeable staff are particularly clued up on the wine and port fronts.
• From the February edition of Wanted 2020.