This is our review of the InterContinental Porto hotel.
Readers with good memories (we’re talking 10th February) will remember a review of my £5 Ryanair flight to Porto. I promised to do a review of the InterContinental Porto as well, but life got in the way. Here, at last, it is.
I paid for this trip myself and the hotel did not know I would be reviewing it.
IHG’s InterContinental chain has been opening some impressive hotels in secondary European cities in recent years. Situated in converted historic buildings, the majority represent the first true luxury hotel in those cities.
Take a quick look at the websites for InterContinental Lyon, InterContinental Marseilles and InterContinental Bordeaux (InterContinental Bordeaux review here) for example. InterContinental Porto is another one for the list.
You can learn more on the InterContinental Porto website here.
Porto has been having a bit of a ‘moment’ in recent years and tourist numbers have risen sharply. Having spent two nights there, I can see why. It is a lovely city with an attractive waterfront and plenty of options to eat and drink. It also has a modern airport with a metro connection into the city. It is perfectly sized for a weekend break, or you can take a longer trip and explore the surrounding countryside and the local port houses.
I used a few of my tourist photos of Porto in this article on BA’s February sale.
One warning though: this is an incredibly hilly city. The only flat area is the main square where the hotel sits. Most of the rest of the city centre is on steep slopes. You should think twice about coming if you are not good on your feet or will be pushing a buggy. Even older children may easily become tired. It’s like a bigger version of Santorini (or Robin Hood’s Bay for our Yorkshire readers).
Where is InterContinental Porto?
In terms of position, you can’t go wrong with (to give its full name) InterContinental Porto – Palacio das Cardosas.
Set in a restored palace, albeit one more recently used as offices, it sits at one end of Liberdade Square. São Bento railway station is literally just around the corner (not that you are likely to use it) as is São Bento metro station. Directly behind the hotel, the roads slope downwards sharply on the way down to the river.
From the airport, hop on the metro and change at Trindade for the two stops to São Bento.
Here is a PR shot of the hotel entrance:
To the left you see a corridor heading down to the formal restaurant. There are also a couple of boutiques. Up a couple of steps you have a larger lobby area:
…. and the lovely bar:
Check in was interesting. I had booked a ‘Junior Suite with View’ for €247. As a member of the InterContinental Ambassador programme, I am guaranteed an upgrade. However, the hotel had no one-level upgrades available and either could not or did not want to upgrade me further. I was offered a ‘Duplex Suite’ but this is actually cheaper than a ‘Junior Suite with View’, and has no view. The staff recommended I didn’t take it.
Under the new InterContinental Ambassador rules, the hotel has to give me 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points if it cannot upgrade me. As I was on my own and did not plan to be in the hotel much, I decided to accept this. I value the points at £40 so it was effectively an additional 10% back on what I paid for the two nights.
The points posted promptly – before I checked out – but did not count towards status.
My junior suite at InterContinental Porto
The junior suites are described as being 37 square metres. I might have been marginally short changed on this, although it could just have felt small because there was too much furniture in the room.
Here are two shots of the room. These are hotel pictures. I have used them because they are of my exact room and they are better than my photos. The only difference is that the room was nowhere near as light as these pictures show it.
As you can just about see, there is a small coffee machine on the table to the right. Whilst this was a ‘genuine’ Nespresso, it was one of the cheaper ‘plasticky’ machines – I would personally have put a higher quality one into a suite. There was also a kettle, tea etc plus a minibar.
The desk overlooks Liberdade Square, although the works taking place on the statue ruined it a bit. There is also a big McDonald’s out of shot to the right which doesn’t help the atmosphere either, although it is handy for a quick snack.
The bathroom was a good size and had a bath as well as a stand-alone shower. There was only one sink, although obviously that didn’t bother me. Toiletries were the Anne Semonin brand which regular InterContinental visitors will have seen elsewhere. The room was well stocked with mouthwash, toothbrush, toothpaste and a shaving kit, amongst other goodies.
Eating at InterContinental Porto
This review is going to be weak on food coverage, I’m afraid. I didn’t visit the Astoria Restaurant on the ground floor, which specialises in Mediterranean and Portuguese cuisine (PR photo):
The only evening meal I had in the hotel was a snack in the bar on my first night.
Breakfast is served in a dedicated conservatory off the lobby:
The buffet is not the biggest you have ever seen but covers all the bases. However, the cost includes a range of cooked items: eggs (fried, poached, boiled, florentine, benedict, omelette), waffles, pancakes and porridge. The Eggs Benedict came with bacon and was a little odd, to be honest.
I should also mention that the hotel has a spa (no pool) which I didn’t visit.
InterContinental Porto is a lovely hotel in a great location. I think you need to choose your room carefully, since they are not huge, and if you want a lot of space then you will need a full suite.
Reward nights cost 50,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night. My valuation of an IHG point is 0.4p so rewards will look decent value if cash rates for standard rooms are €250 or more, which is often the case.
For a long stay, you might find the limited facilities (no pool, one bar, one restaurant) to be a bit restrictive, but for a short break it works well due to its position and the overall quality of the place. I didn’t see anywhere else during my three days in the city which looked more interesting.
If you want to be a little further out of town there are well regarded resorts including Six Senses Douro Valley (now part of IHG as well, of course) and across the river, technically still in Porto, is The Yeatman.
Get a special deal via our hotel booking partner
Our hotel booking partner, Emyr Thomas of Bon Vivant, can get you a special deal at InterContinental Porto. If you make a booking via him at Best Flexible Rate, you will receive:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Buffet breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom in the hotel restaurant
- A complimentary lunch or dinner for up to two people, once during stay, excluding beverages, taxes and gratuities in hotel restaurant
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
…… which is a decent package, especially given how smart the restaurant looked. He can also get you a similar deal on Six Senses Douro and The Yeatman. Contact Emyr via the form on this page of Head for Points. There are no booking fees and you pay at check-out as usual.
IHG Rewards update – August 2021:
Get bonus points: The current IHG Rewards promotion is ‘Triple Your Points’ – our full article is here. It runs from 15th May to 16th August. You receive double base points on your second stay and triple base points on your third and subsequent stays. You can register on this page of ihg.com.
Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards points, you can buy them here.
There is a 75% bonus when you buy IHG Rewards points by 13th August.
Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.