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“We would love to return someday.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Golden Tulip Porto Gaia Hotel and Spa

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Golden Tulip Porto Gaia Hotel and Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Rua da Belgica, 86 | Praia de Lavadores, Vila Nova de Gaia 4400-044, Portugal (Formerly Casa Branca Beach & Golf Hotel)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 14 Hotels in Vila Nova de Gaia
Tauranga, New Zealand
Level Contributor
42 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“We would love to return someday.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2014

We are a mature couple and have been on the road for 12 months. We stayed here 6 nights.
We like the situation of the hotel - close to the coast about 5 or 6 kms out of town. It is very quiet.
The beach is rocky; within walking distance is a nice sandy beach.
We have yet to find the golf course - evidently it is a 10 minute drive away.
We have a car but on a couple of occasions we just took the No.11 or No. 12 bus into town. The buses go past the front door very regularly and for 1-60 Euro drop you into the centre of the town - why bother with driving and parking.
We drove to some out of the city sights - Porto is easy to navigate around in although we did keep out of the central older area. We also found the Portuguese drivers to be considerate.
There is tons of free parking provided by the hotel.
The two reception girls were just great - Patricia and Elizabeth (Isabel). Both were so welcoming and friendly, provided us with maps and instructions and were fun to chat to.
They were both enthusiastic with their guidance to see places of interest.
The hotel is large, fairly modern and very clean - in fact spotless.
The room was large with a sea-view balcony and was well appointed.
The bathroom was a good size with good big towels and a separate toilet.
The linen on the bed was top quality.
We thought the hotel extremely good value for money.
The WiFi in the room was a bit sketchy.
We had breakfast on one occasion but felt that it did not warrant the 10 Euro cost.
We had an evening meal in the adjoining restaurant. The food was fantastic, the service was some of the best we have experienced and the price was quite reasonable. Try it - you will be delighted.
This hotel has been a great stay; all staff were absolutely excellent.
If we return to Portugal we will definitely return here.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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138 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
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MERSEYSIDE
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2014

Great place away from all the 'hussle and bussle' of Porto and Vila Nova town centre. Good views from the balcony which is enclosed, the windows could be opened wide and were good protection during windy weather. Nice place to sit to watch the sunsets. Used the restaurant a couple times but found a 15 min walk to the Mar a Vista restaurant a better menu option. All the staff we met from cleaner to reception were polite & helpful and deserve 5 stars, many thanks to you all for helping make our stay so pleasant.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cary, North Carolina, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

We had a beautiful room with an amazing view of the Atlantic ocean. The staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome and every recommendation was spot on. As nice as the hotel was, it was nothing compared to the staff. From the management to the maids, they were all top notch

Room Tip: A south facing room has great views ... especially on the upper floors.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toulouse
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

Having read many of the comments about this hotel, I'm inclined to disagree. I had a large, clean and functional room with a closed terrasse and sea view.
The appointments were not brand new but neither were they shabby.

Free car park, friendly, competant staff. The buffet breakfast was very good and the adjoining restaurant with ocean view was of very good quality and service.

I had found a very good offer on internet for my stay at this 4 star hotel so Iwas well satisfied with the value for money this hotel offered.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Estoril
Level Contributor
33 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

My biggest regret is not checking the reviews on tripadvisor before making the booking!
It was, however, an overnight stay which arose at short notice & as this hotel was conveniently situated for my meeting and Booking.com offered a rate 35% less than the hotels rack rate.

I booked & requested a large double bed. On arrival, we found that our room (on the 2nd floor) was a twin-bedded room and judging by the rather musty odour, appeared not to have been used recently. The two single beds had been pushed together in a feeble attempt to make a double but as the individual headboards were screwed to the wall, it looked decidedly odd. I complained to reception but was told that there were no rooms available with double beds for that night as the hotel was "almost full" so it was a case of Hobson's Choice.

The furnishings in the room were clearly overdue for an upgrade and showed ample evidence of "wear & tear". The lack of any floor covering (not even a bedside mat) is, in my view, extraordinary in a so-called 4 star hotel. The en suite bathroom was miniscule and even a Manx cat would have suffered cranial damage had it been subjected to the idiomatic expression.
The view from the bedroom window (through the large enclosed balcony) was dominated by a building site and a dilapidated, disused tennis court. The beach was just visible but no sign anywhere of a golf course so quite how the hotel can describe itself as a "Beach & Golf" Hotel defies logic (they may as well claim to be an airport hotel if credulity is being extended to such a degree!).
Evening meals are not served in the hotel itself but at the Casa Branca Restaurant situated next door. A 50 metre walk- which is OK if it isn't raining or blowing a gale as it was on Saturday!
I will review the Restaurant separately as that was an experience to be recounted!

I had seen little evidence of the hotel being as "almost full" as claimed by the receptionist - we passed 2 other couples in the lobby and saw a family of Spanish tourists on the same floor as us and there were barely a dozen cars in the car park and the restaurant certainly wasn't overbooked for a Saturday night.
Sadly, it was only after we had retired to bed that the presence of the other occupants became significantly apparent.
There is mention in the hotel facilities listing on booking.com that the rooms are sound-proofed - which is possibly true from external sounds but certainly not applicable to internal noise! The plumbing system is extremely noisy and the neighbours' showers could be heard above the sound of my Ipod as I tried to sleep! At about 11:30 PM - after cleansing their bodies, our neighbours then began the traditional Portuguese pastime of furniture dragging. Anybody who lives or has lived in an apartment in Portugal is familiar with this activity but I have yet to meet anybody who can explain it's origins or purpose. It is not that common in hotels but when there are no carpets on the floors, the temptation is obviously too much for some people!
Fortunately, it lasted less than an hour so some sleep was possible.

The breakfast was a typical Portuguese buffet - although I was rather surprised to note the sign over the hot foods indicating extra charges applicable to egg-eaters.
All in all, an experience not to be repeated.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vigo
Level Contributor
106 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

I stayed in this Hotel a few times.

This is not a typical 4-star Hotel. Instead, it is a small, family-run Hotel with a unique location, in the beachfront and with great sea views from almost all rooms (especially the ones facing south). If you like walking or cycling in the beach front (or the river front) you will love this Hotel, since it is ideally located. It is also less than 5 minutes drive to the Gaia and Porto historic center, through the scenic river front. For business travelers the location is less practical, though, since it is far from the main highways or the airport.

Rooms are reasonably large, with nice balconies. Furniture is remarkably classic and well maintained. Soundproofing in OK, but on windy nights you may notice some noise from the waves (which is an advantage for many!).

Breakfast has good quality but not an exceptionally large selection. The breakfast room has nice views but is not very large, which might be a problem when the Hotel is full. The restaurant has very good quality.

The indoor heated swimming pool is relatively large, for such a small Hotel, and has nice garden views.

Service is professional and efficient.

TV channels selection is acceptable but not great.

I did not use the (paid) wireless internet or the business support services.

Overall this is a good Hotel if you are looking for a relaxing location at beachfront but still very close to Porto and Gaia historic areas.

The prices are slightly on the high side, considering typical 4-star prices at Porto. I think the beachfront location and the nice indoor pool justify the extra cost when I have enough time to enjoy it. However, when traveling on business and with less free time I tend to choose more modern and more practical Hotels.

Room Tip: South-facing rooms have sunny balconies with great views.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
47 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

Located right near the beach, rooms were okay. But some of the front staff lacked motivation and were quite unhelpful. Not friendly and not unfriendly - just indifferent! The hotel also advertised free tapas during happy hour, the staff on duty at the bar, hesitatingly brought them for us after numerous unnecessary phonecalls to verify etc. Would hesitate to stay here again, would opt to stay someplace smaller, but with friendlier & helpful staff.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Golden Tulip Porto Gaia Hotel and Spa

Address: Rua da Belgica, 86 | Praia de Lavadores, Vila Nova de Gaia 4400-044, Portugal (Formerly Casa Branca Beach & Golf Hotel)
Location: Portugal > Northern Portugal > Porto District > Vila Nova de Gaia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Spa Hotel in Vila Nova de Gaia
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Vila Nova de Gaia
#7 Luxury Hotel in Vila Nova de Gaia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Golden Tulip Porto Gaia Hotel and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 57
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located at Praia de Lavadores, next to Douro's and only 10 minutes from Oporto's Historical City Centre, Golden Tulip Porto Gaia Hotel & SPA offers an absolutely amazing view, starting with its 57 rooms, all decorated with quality and comfort so you can daily enjoy the splendor and magnificence of the Atlantic Ocean. Equipped with a large variety of facilities and services, such as 57 rooms, the "Casa Branca Restaurant", the Baccus Bar, the Alvarez Bar, Health Club with indoor heated pool, sauna, gym, Jacuzzi and Turkish bath, Golden Sense SPA with relaxing and beauty rituals, 6 meeting and banqueting rooms, Wi-Fi Internet, Room Service, Laundry Service, parking facilities, insuring all the quality and accuracy in details that qualifies our taste for welcoming and providing you an unforgettable stay. Let yourself be enthralled by the delicious local gastronomy at "Casa Branca Restaurant", where the traditional flavours mix with the most famous regional wines. In perfect harmony with nature, Golden Tulip Porto Gaia Hotel & SPA it's strategically located 6km from Oporto City Centre, 50 km from Aveiro, 50 km from Braga and just 20 km away from the International Oporto Airport. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Branca Beach And Golf Hotel
Casa Branca Beach Hotel
Hotel Casa Branca Beach
Golden Tulip Porto Gaia Hotel And Spa Portugal/Vila Nova De Gaia

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