When I decided to treat Pumpkin (and of course myself!) to a long weekend in Porto as a wedding anniversary celebration and I started putting some feelers out as to which hotel the travel community would recommend, the one name that kept recurring time and again was the Hotel Teatro. Repetitive soundbites included “quirky” and “funky” and it seems the elusive Mr and Mrs Smith also agreed.
The city breaks that Pumpkin and I go on are typically jam-packed affairs, racking up some impressive mileage (I’m talking on foot not mid-air) and rarely leaving time to lounge around in hotels so truth be told, for most of my short-haul city breaks, I tend not to get too preoccupied with hotels. But on this occasion with so many comments coming my way about Hotel Teatro, curiosity took over and I couldn’t help but investigate.
Those who are regular readers will know that I am increasingly metamorphosing into a last-minute traveller. You may recall the impromptu weekend in Oslo and a similar one in Budapest just a month earlier. If one insists on booking everything with such impulsive, haphazard aplomb, one can’t expect to click their fingers and get what they want.
Unsurprisingly, when I looked up Hotel Teatro with only two weeks to go, my mouse clicking away for weekend dates, it was fully booked no matter which sites I scoured. Moving onto Plan B, I searched furiously for alternative properties but after reading about the novelty of this well-located and unique boutique, nowhere else caught my eye quite the same way, especially once I heard that Porto is cosy enough a city to be able enjoy the hotel without compromising on exploring.
Fast forward another week and I had made no progress. In a bizarre turn of events, whilst I was in the midst of sifting through reviews, I noticed that availability for Hotel Teatro had appeared online. Assuming it was a mistake, I checked both on the hotel website and other booking sites and sure enough, it was true.
Of course, when the only room left happens to be a suite, well what’s a girl to do?! 😀
Hotel Teatro, Porto
This was how Pumpkin and I found ourselves in Porto’s theatre district, navigating towards Hotel Teatro, a property built on the same ground where one of Porto’s old and most renowned theatres once stood. We stepped curiously through the weighty opaque doors, adorned with metallic scribbles and found oureslves in a seductive, dimly lit and gold-tinted lobby, that drew clear parallels to my own previous theatre visits.
Having arrived in Porto at the peachy time of 9am, we only intended to offload our baggage (literal not emotional!) We had no expectations of being able to check in so early so we were delighted to find out that the room was ready and waiting for us.
Prior to that though, I couldn’t resist a snoop around the lobby level, where the theatre paraphernalia was incorporated tastefully within the furnishings and decor.
Old theatre costumes were suspended from hangers, from hessian rustic tones to regal velvety textures.
And even the stool for using the computer in the lobby would have you feeling like you were a crew member in a stage production.
Suites at Hotel Teatro
A member of staff accompanied us to our suite with a walk down a long corridor, illuminated by theatrical stage lights.
The suite was indulgently spacious for a centrally located European city hotel and divided into a living area and bathroom on one side and the bedroom area on the other, partitioned by the large television unit.
In a first for me, I observed that the TV could actually be rotated, enabling guests to watch it either whilst reclining in bed or from the sofa, which one gets the distinct impression was designed for two snugglers.
When we first arrived, we like many others around the world, spent a bit of time watching the news about the tragic passing of Muhammad Ali.
Later though, for some reason, it was proving more long-winded than it should have been to use simple functions on the remote control, such as changing the channel (although we were having too much fun reliving our youth by singing along to VH1 classics to worry about channel flickng!)
This romantic hotel is one of the Design Hotel Collection and a wanderlust inspiring design hotels hardback book was laid out on the coffee table to draw in my eyes magnetically, just in case I wasn’t already obsessed enough with travelling.
I tuned the pages zealously and did so with a fresh cup of Nespresso. The room allows guests one free pod each for the stay but the remainder are chargeable . Ordinary teas and instant coffee are free of charge but I think if I was a coffee drinker, I’d feel a little shortchanged by only being given one free Nespresso cartridge.
The bed was one of those ones that seriously interferes with sightseeing plans by being so darn comfortable but we exercised some self discipline by having a quick shower and leaving the premises.
Hotel Teatro is clearly targeted at romancing couples and if you’re a little shy, you may need to make use of the shutter by the bathtub and shower…otherwise, the only thing that separates the living area from the bathroom area is a transparent screen.
And where you would usually expect to find doors, don’t be alarmed if you find ceiling to floor curtains instead – this is the theatre after all! There’s a curtain call even for using the bathroom. Everything about this place is theatrical.
Those of you who are gym nuts will be reassured to know they do have a fitness centre on site but no spa. If however, a spot of room service and a massage call out to you, the hotel do have an in-room spa menu.
An Anniversary Surprise at Hotel Teatro
We hadn’t realised that Hotel Teatro provide a turndown service for guests, which is why we weren’t expecting our room to look any different after we came back from our brief stint at the bar.
We, like most guests who stay at Hotel Teatro, had been given a voucher at check in for a complimentary glass of Port each at the bar (otherwise known as double Port for Pumpkin!)
Cashing it in and throwing in a smoked salmon salad, a gin cocktail and a luxury tea blend for good measure, we found a dusky corner of the bar adjacent to a large TV screen that displays old black and white films.
Had we known that a surprise bottle of bubbly and celebratory gift-boxed chocolate brownie were awaiting us as an anniversary treat back in the room, we might not have bothered ordering any bar food, though I did feel virtuous for about 4 minutes before tucking into the brownie.
Touched by the effort the staff at Hotel Teatro had made to help us celebrate, we were even more surprised to come back the following night to find a surprise bottle of Port with some tasty chocolate accompanying it. The timing couldn’t have been any funnier since we had spent the entire day in the wine region of Douro valley Port tasting.
As Pumpkin did the honourable (ahem) thing on our Douro trip by drinking my Port all day, I think even he wasn’t sure if he would manage one final serving pre-bed.
But, of course he found a way somehow 😀
When we first arrived at the hotel, a little part of me wondered if I had made the right choice, as in my opinion, it isn’t the prettiest building externally but this Porto boutique hotel is a great lesson in not judging a book by its cover.
For our celebratory occasion, staying in a suite at Hotel Teatro proved to be such a worthwhile investment, both from the practical perspective of its central location, room size, helpful service and amenities but also because of its innovative concept and sensual vibe.
Have you ever stayed at a funky boutique hotel?