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“Rediscover the Joy of Staying in a Hotel”

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Castelo de Santa Catarina
Ranked #13 of 168 Porto B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 December 2011

We have spent the last three months travelling on an extended working trip. We have stayed in more than a dozen hotels '' fancy, budget, tourist-focused and intensively business oriented. Finally, in Porto, Portugal, we found a place that reminded us of the old joys of staying uin a nice hotel. Do you remember when there was a sense of mystery and excitement about stopping in at a new hotel, when visiting a place you had never been before. In this day and age, we have surrendered our sense of adventure for a basic desire for conformity. Most hotels are very much the same, with no distinguishign characteristics and very little charm. The only things that they really offer - beyond increments of luxury based on price -- are th adventages and disadventages of location.

Then, thanks to the formidable combination of Tripadvisor and Booking.com, we found Castelo de Sanata Catarina. What an unmitigated joy this place was. It is quirky, original, fascinating and fun. The rooms were comfortable, the service solid, the location reasonable and the price remarkable. Our ten year old daughter walked around in a sense of wonderment, exploring each room, running around outside in the garden, marvelling at the bewitching combination of kitzch, culture and creativity.

Other reviews will give you the downside -- no elevator in the castle, a less than exciting neighbourhood (five minutes from downtown Porto) and a few other small matters. One of our rooms had trouble with the heat. These are small things.

We had fun - and when was the last time that you visited a hotel and found simple pleasure in exploring the property? We would go back in a flash - and we intend to - and we hope that other travelers will step out of the ordinary a little and give this unique and quaint location a try.

Room Tip: Ask for the garden -- easier to get around, but just as intriguing as the castle.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled on business
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6  Thank Ken C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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187 - 193 of 638 reviews

Reviewed 3 August 2011

Quite a lot has been said about this strange hotel already. And we suppose it really is a peculiar place - no lifts, narrow stairs, freakish interior (who is behing the idea of the two of you looking into your separate mirrors when sitting on the small sofa?) and very squieky beds.
But it has ambience. The staff is cool/reserved, but efficient, and they warm up: Have an outside smoke with the the receptionist in the morning, and he will tell you interesting things about Porto, including detailed driving descriptions. And of the port-tasting business down at the river. And about the pousadas up in the Douro district. And he will look at you and say: "You may reserve your last night here, but if you change your mind, please call me", because he knows that the two nights here are in sharp contrast with the luxury and service you shall experience in the pousadas.
And he will hand you the card of the hotel, with his signature on it, and wish you Godspeed on your journey in Portugal - he has had you as his guest for a night or two, and he expects no more: Boa viagem!
We will remember this place, for its central location and beautiful gardens - and its strangeness!

Room Tip: We had the Tower Suite. No terrace. Yawning, hard beds. Good view and fresh air. A bit overstuffed...
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank DrammenAndy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2011

This was our last stop on a 2wk trip of camping (so as you can imagine my standards are not very high) and decided to stay in a hotel for the last 3days.

We booked this hotel over the phone and were offered a garden room with an "extra large bed", ensuite etc. We were very disappointed with the room. While it was clean it was not in any decorated to the standard they advertise on their web page. The bed was not what I would consider extra large. The wall paper was hanging off in places - the bathroom door was not hung properly got jammed on the floor everytime you opened and closed it. The bathroom was not in anyway decorated and in fact looked like it could have been all pulled out and replaced. There was no sign in our room that we were staying in a "Castelo"!!

The "Castelo" itself however may have been beautiful decorated, and if the breakfast room is anything to go by, I would imagine the rooms in the Castelo itself are very charming. The breakfast room was beautiful as were the gardens. The cleaning and reception staff were very pleasant and helptful.

We found Porto to be a lovely city with loads to see both in the city and around it - lovely restaurants (Pull & Bear for an extra treat - a bit out of the city and expensive but we thought it was well worth the trip), We would definitely visit there again.

Would we stay again - maybe in the Castelo itself but not without seeing the room first!

Room Tip: Avoid the garden rooms
  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank AnnsAdvice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2011

The "Castelo de Santa Catarina" was a good suprise on our 10-days trip to Portugal. Have read the mixed reviews from site site, I was a bit worried about what we would find once we got there, but I was very happy with the hotel.

The Castelo is located a bit far from the center, but easily reachable from the airport by metro. Just remember the get off at "Marques" station and you will just have to walk down a couple of blocks. It is a 10-15 minutes walk to the river-front, but it is a nice walk it the weather is fine.

The Castle is great, very beautiful and well-kept. The interior is amazingly decorated, in a very unique style. The experience of living in a real castle is great and definitly worth it!

We had a room inside the castle and it was also great. The furniture was antique and lovely. It was very clean and the bathroom was also great, with a relaxing bath and shower. Despite beeing an old bulding decorated in a old-style, the room had satelite TV and the heating worked without problems.

The breakfast was delicious and in a buffet style. The local sweets were great and you should not miss it!

The service was personal and warm, and we had no complaints at all. The hotel also offers free wifi internet on the rooms, which was great and very helpful.

Considering the price we paid (EU$ 56) for a double room, I believe the Castelo de Santa Catarina is great value for money, and a very unique experience, that can help making a visit to Porto, a unforgetable experience. We definetly recommend it.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank luizniquet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 November 2010

Stayed on the 3rd floor of the castelo. There is no elevator but the exercise was good. Bed was big and comfy. Very corky room and hotel. Needed a comforter/blanket and room makeover. Breakfast was yummy. If your looking for a updated hotel this is not for you! Very eccentric staff members.
Close to all transportation and on a main street Rua de Santa Catarina. If you need to rent a car there is a Hertz 2 blocks away. Also, a 10min walk to all the shopping you want. There is a trek to the waterfront but all transportation is close by. Taxis in Portugal are reasonable. Neighborhood seemed sketchy at night but it is fine and we felt safe.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mekongdrinker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 October 2010

The castelo is amazing and we had such a great moment. The location is a little bit outside the old city but easily accessible from metro station.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Kador_from85to75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 October 2010

The reviews on the Castelo were good, and in some ways were borne out. The structure IS amazing, very beautiful, peaceful, quiet and good value for somewhere just outside the centre of Porto. And it is quite a trek down to Porto, although far worse coming back uphill! However, good exercise .....

Had we been fortunate to have been able to book a room in the tower of the Castelo, my review might have been different. However, we were booked instead into a 'garden room'. This was, in effect, one of perhaps 6 similar rooms carved out of either an old stable block, or purpose-built terrace of small rooms built onto the back wall of the courtyard.

The rooms were dark, damp and oppressive. Even though cool at night, it was necessary to have the air conditioning on to get a breeze through. The rooms were clean and comfortable, beds and linen likewise, but the bathrooms needed a complete overhaul. Mould on the tiles, cracked tiles, discoloured grouting, scale on the taps - it didn't encourage anyone to actually want to get into the shower. And when we did, the water came out a pale brown.

Breakfast is taken in the most beautiful room in the main Castelo, and was a selection of breads, cheeses, hams and fruit,a nd perfectly acceptable. The staff were tolerably friendly - some more so than others - but had managed to cancel one of my three nights booking by mistake, which meant a change of room. The water was still brown.

Parking is limited to the narrow entry to the hotel from the main street. which can be a little tricky at times. Having said all the above, the Castelo itself is so unique that you can almost forgive its shortcomings. However, a cash injection for the bathrooms would be a good idea.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Farseer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Castelo de Santa Catarina

Address: Rua de Santa Catarina 1347, Porto 4000-457, Portugal
Region: Portugal > Northern Portugal > Porto District > Porto
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 168 B&Bs / Inns in Porto
Price Range: $94 - $157 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Castelo de Santa Catarina 3*
Number of rooms: 25
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Castelo De Santa Catarina Hotel Porto
Castelo De Santa Catarina Porto
Castelo Santa Catarina

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