I love to travel. I enjoy hitting the streets in a new city and going out, walking, discovering, soaking up the atmosphere in a new city. Porto is a beautifully romantic destination: lots of old architecture, cobbled streets, restaurants, coffee shops, all laid out on the hills overlooking the Douro River.
The city is not very large so walking from anywhere to everywhere else is absolutely recommended. But, after spending all day out and about enjoying such beauties, why would I want to go back to a “modern” characterless hotel and break the spell? For me, the place where I choose to sleep is equally important as the destination I choose to visit. I want to be able to hold on to that magical feeling of being back in time, to another place, another era; I want to take the stories I heard duringthe day with bed to me at night. So I look for more than a hotel: I look for the closest thing I can find to a local authentic home and in this case I chose the Mercador Guest House.
This excellent boutique hotel is located 10 min away from the city centre, in the historical part of Porto, Miguel Bombarda Street. I won’t go into the details of describing the technical details of this accommodation: suffice it to say it has everything you would expect from a 4** Hotel. I will say this though: it is the closest you can get to an actual local home, since it has only 8 rooms and is located in a XIX century old building. The sophisticated décor is very well maintained, with wooden floors and elaborate tapestries. It looks and feels old colonial Porto, while everything in the building is very well maintained.
Needless to say, the staff was super friendly, Maria even taking the time to explain (in a delightful, slow English with Portuguese accent) the story of the oil paintings and ceiling painting in her amazingly beautiful office. The final words go out to the breakfast: absolutely delicious, with two different omelettes, fresh fruit, and great coffee. I especially enjoyed serving it in the courtyard (don’t forget to ask the staff about the story behind the palm trees planted by the owner!).