Ever since this hotel was on the Conde Nast Hotlist I have been looking at the website of this hotel and dreaming to stay there. The glowing 5 star reviews made me all the more keen, but finally when I had the opportunity I have to say I am disappointed. I will start with the positives...
The rooms - we stayed in a privilege room - very nice, good size and pretty decor. Love the fixtures and fitting and bed comfortable. Beautifully don't bathroom and big windows. Free wifi and bottled water in minibar a huge plus. Can't in any way fault the rooms. Good value for price (if judging on room only as we paid less than 200 euros a night).
Breakfast - delicious pastries and gorgeous setting. Fresh squeezed juices and great buffet of food. Love the decor of room - gets it right.
Concierge - they are very friendly and will book whatever place you tell them. However when asked for advice they are not particularly helpful - for example when I asked them what the best driving route was in the douro valley they looked at me with a blank face. Didn't know anything about a fantastic place we went for dinner in porto called cafeina. Also never heard of historico by papaboa for lunch in guinmaraes which many publications have written on (including the New York Times). Have no real suggestions of what cities in area are worth seeing and which are not.
Location- I guess from website I was expecting a gorgeous long drive in with manicured lawns and beautiful floral gardens to go walking around. This doesn't really exist, hotel is close to road and although fairly pretty nothing gorgeous. Hotel is in middle of nowhere with no great places for dinner around and town is very poor and rather depressed. No cute shops or fun things in walking distance. You are really remote. (See comments about dinner for one reason this is a problem).
The spa - as my husband commented this is a crime that someone built something so ugly next to such an impressive palace. It is dark, low ceilings, few windows and 1970s minimalist yet built in 2010? Indoor pool is hideous, outdoor pool marginally better, and hallways depressing. Gym equipment new but room is depressing and far too hot (needs air conditioning cranked up). I wanted to go to gym but was too depressing to walk into area so skipped.
The dinner - an unmitigated disaster. Food was so dated and served in a room that was like a ballroom but with only 4 tables taken so was cavernous and void of atmosphere. It would be nice for a wedding or conference but you need at least 100 people in there for any sort of buzz. My husband had the fois gras and veal which were both terrible and I am a vegetarian so had the asparagus risotto which was hard and very un-tasty. The chocolate fondant for dessert is excellent. They need a smaller more intimate room for size of hotel with a menu that resembles 2013 and not dinner at your grandmothers in 1985.
Hallways to rooms - the red carpet does not match and is ugly. Makes hallways look dark and dated.
I am sorry to give this hotel such a poor review. The one thing I can't judge it for is its golf course and maybe if you were a big golfer this would change the experience (though I saw the golf course and as a non-golfer I did not think it looked like anything special (no dramatic scenery etc)). Hotel looks as if its half done up (rooms and breakfast rooms) and then they didn't have budget to complete (hallways, bar area and dinner area). I thought it was going to be a very special place and it really fell short of expectations.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Long-revered as a spa retreat among Europe's elite - who came to benefit from the famed mineral waters of Vidago - Vidago Palace is a legend reborn.First opened in 1910, Vidago Palace was created to provide its discerning clientele with rooms and facilities fit for a king. One hundred years later, after extensive restoration and renovations, the newly decorated Vidago Palace invites today’s traveller to be captivated by its Belle Epoque charm, championship golf course, state-of-the-art spa and 5 star hotel services.Surrounded by natural beauty, Vidago Palace is an outstanding luxury hotel in Portugal, the prefect venue for weddings and events and a proud member of Leading Hotels of the World.Among the most famous historic luxury hotels in Portugal, Vidago Palace is magnificent yet inviting, combining the grandeur of a palace with the warmth of a country home.Surrounded by mountains and 250 acres of mature woods and parkland, Vidago Palace enjoys a tranquil setting – perfect for a relaxing and restorative stay. The pure country air and lush grounds, artfully dotted with ornate mineral-water pavilions, provide visitors with a welcome tonic to the trials of modern life.Inside, the grand staircase, high ceilings, large reception rooms and sweeping views lend themselves to Vidago Palace’s magical atmosphere.A showcase for traditional craftsmanship, Vidago Palace is resplendent with hand-loomed rugs, elaborate tiling and hand-painted wall-coverings – all designed to respect and enhance the building’s illustrious past.The interior architects Jose Pedro Lopes Vieira and Diogo Rosa Là, in collaboration with renowned architect Alvaro Siza Vieira and with the support of the Palace’s owners, UNICER, worked diligently to recapture and surpass Vidago Palace’s splendour. ... more less
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