I don't want to bad-mouth this place too much; it just turned out to be the least appealing of the five hotels we stayed at during our mini-tour of northern and central Portugal.
We had intended to stay for two nights in Braga, using that as a base for day trips out (including to Amarante); however, driving into Braga on a Friday afternoon we simply couldn't find anywhere to park up even for a short time, and even though we spotted the residencial we had earmarked, there was no way we could get anywhere near it in the car, so after a frustrating drive around the incredibly busy city centre we decided to cut our losses and head on to Amarante straight away.
Amarante is one of the hilliest places I've ever driven in, and again, it took some time to find the small and hidden away central parking area so that we could then do a bit of hotel-searching on foot (again, after a hairy time spent scooting up and down the hills during school turning-out time).
The Navarras isn't all that obvious to spot, even though it does have a sign on its roof. You enter via an anonymous doorway along a sort of raised walkway just above street level. Reception staff were very pleasant (and the chap whom we took to be the manager is quite a character). Having secured a room we then had to decide where to park (there's no parking attached to the hotel itself) - the choice is basically on the street outside (overnight only, or you have to pay thereafter), or in a close-by multi-storey , which we opted for (7.10 euros a night).
The room was a bit 'tired' and dingy (as were the corridors), albeit clean enough. We were at the back of the building, so it was reasonably quiet - apart from a cockerel which started crowing early morning. There was a balcony, but not much of a view from it. That apart, there wasn't anything we could actually complain about - the whole place just needed a good renovation.
Breakfast is in a vast ballroom-type room; it was okay, but unmemorable.
We checked out the following morning, as it was an uninspiring place and we fancied being back on the coast for our last two nights. Maybe the other 'main' hotel in the town would have been better, but accommodation isn't Amarante's strong point, which is a shame, as it's a pretty place and there are a fair number of restaurants to choose from.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The hotel provides free exclusive access to the Tâmega Clube (located at 10 minutes from the hotel) we offer an array of attractions : Outdoor Water Park (open from 24/05/13 until 22/09/13), Indoor Water Park with its wave pool, the Gym Advanced Training Academy, Tennis Training Academy, Football Training Academy (September 2013), Golf Training Academy Located in the historic center of the Amarante, the 58 rooms with Wi-Fi, including air conditioning, flat-screen TV with cable channels and a private bathroom with bath or shower with selected amenities.A breakfast buffet is served freshly prepared every day on the top floor of the hotelThe hotel is located within walking distance to numerous restaurants, bars, nightlife, shops and cafes. The historic sites and museums, such as the Church of São Gonçalo Cardoso Souza and the museum.The Mini-Market Hotel is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offers a variety of soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, wines and light snacks at the reception. ... more less
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