We popped into The Yeatman for a cup of tea - and ended up having afternoon tea, a massage, a facial and a gastronomic meal. The full works!
We were staying across the river in Porto in a delightful B&B but had previously read about The Yeatman and were determined to take a look. So, on our final day in Porto, after a long walk in the morning, we caught the hop on hop off bus over to Gaia and walked down to The Yeatman.
It's not in the most salubrious of areas, well, the route we took to it wasn't....but once you're in the hotel environs, it's an absolute pleasure.
Despite being wet and somewhat bedraggled, the receptionist didn't bat an eyelid and we walked to the lounge where we ordered afternoon tea. For the first time in a week, we were given tea in the good old-fashioned English way. Cold milk, teapot, tea, beautiful crockery. For some reason, despite the Anglo-Portuguese relationship which has lasted well over 300 years, most places in Porto seem to serve tea with hot milk and have no idea what you're talking about when you ask for ordinary breakfast tea and everybody ends up getting totally confused. Luckily The Yeatman knew what we were after. Oh we Brits and our bloody tea!
Anyway, enough of tea!
The hotel is beautifully designed, fabulous interior decoration and, for a hotel, has one of the best city views I've ever seen. It's on the opposite side of the river to Porto and looks over the entire city. On a hot day, I'm sure it would be absolutely fantastic to drink a port cocktail on the terrace, watching the lights of the city slowly come on in the evening. Alas, it was raining while we were there so we missed this opportunity. To me, it's very much a summer hotel, very light, fresh decor and I suspect that during the grey winter months, it may well feel a little chilly, in both temperature and decor but I could be wrong.
Our afternoon tea was very pleasant, with plenty of little cakes and warm scones, with local tomato jam and other conserves. We then decided to treat ourselves further and booked a massage and facial respectively - to be followed by dinner.
The Caudalie Spa was a real treat although the treatments were a slightly more expensive than I would normally spend....approximately £105euros per treatment. From what I can gather, if you have a treatment, then you're entitled to use the spa facilities. Unfortunately we didn't have swimming costumes so we weren't able to make use of the gorgeous indoor pool - with yet another spectacular view of the city. The treatments, we both agreed, were fabulous, lovely heated beds, excellent therapists and clean and well-equipped changing rooms. The only thing they should change are the stools in the changing rooms - they're far too low and you can just about see the top of your head in the mirror!
After the treatments, we chilled out in the relaxation area and then, after getting dressed, moved back upstairs and sat in the library.
Dinner was an absolute sensation. You have to read the menu properly though. You can choose from a couple of tasting menus (well over 100euros) or choose 2 or 3 courses instead (approx 60+ euros) - which is what we chose but not what we ended up getting! Inbetween courses, we were offered little 'greetings', otherwise known as amuse bouches - and they were fantastic. There was far too much to describe to you but everything was beautifully presented and tasted absolutely amazing. Sea urchin, lobster, duck. You name it, we had it - frequently in an entirely unrecogniseable form - but all of it, a sensation. The waiters were very sweet and even though we were being relative cheapskates, were very kind and treated us beautifully. It did, at times, feel like you were eating in a library because they spoke very quietly which meant the guests were quiet too - but once the restaurant started to fill up, it started to get a bit of atmosphere and things improved. By the way, I'd forgotten my glasses so couldn't read the small print in the menu.....but this wasn't a problem, the head waiter presented me with....a pair of glasses! Now that's good service!
Finally after our gastronic experience, we rolled out of the hotel and into a taxi. I would have preferred to have walked off the meal but we weren't sure about the area, both in terms of distance and safety, so took the easy option instead.
All in all, it was a fab experience and I'm sure that if we'd stayed at the hotel, we would have enjoyed the entire experience. I guess the only thing against it is that it's not in Porto itself so you can't just pop out to the shops or down to The Ribeira by the river. It also looks like it's a fairly steep climb up to the hotel and I suspect that you'd have to get a taxi on a regular basis - but I could be wrong. I reckon it's a perfect 'retreat' hotel, somewhere to stay to relax entirely and enjoy the spa.
The other thing I would kill would be the 'muzak' - the usual 'lift' music that's added to rooms to add atmosphere. No need for it. Kill it please!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Yeatman is a 5* luxury wine hotel on the clifftop to the Historic Port Wine Cellars District, opening in June 2010. Featuring 14 suites and 68 rooms, all including a terrace and a private garden with panoramic views over the Douro River and the Unesco World Heritage Site of Ribeira in Porto. It boasts a Enogastronomic restaurant, a Port wine bar, 11 meeting and event rooms, a Wine Spa, outdoor and indoor panoramic swimming pools, gymnasium, kid’s club and gardens. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Yeatman Hotel Vila Nova De Gaia
- The Yeatman Portugal/Vila Nova De Gaia