We stayed at Dom Fernando for four nights as part of a mid-holiday break (we were based at Lagos in the Algarve for two weeks). Overall the hotel provides value for money - it's not particularly expensive - but it needs a deep clean (especially the carpets) and several licks of paint if only to freshen the place up. The aircon in the room was pretty noisy, and the TVs are quaintly out of date with a very limited range of channels. Still, we didn't go to Evora to watch telly; we went for the sights.
Dom Fernando's location is superb, a simple 10-minute walk into the heart of town. The Reception staff were very good too, very helpful and cheerful most of the time. The pool is large, very sunny and clean, but day-time snacks are limited to sandwiches and the bar is not always staffed if you want coffee or a soft drink. It can also be a noisy place. All the rooms are off long corridors and even when people are trying to be quiet, the reverberation is amplified. If you are a light sleeper, you might be woken up a few times. Even so, our room was serviced daily and to a good standard.
Worst of all were the breakfasts. I understand you can pay more to upgrade your first meal of the day, but why should you have to? I've stayed in youth hostels which offered better fare than this. Soggy scrambled egg and lightly cooked bacon (some of it *very* lightly cooked) comprised the warm food, with crisps, cereals, fruit and banana cake the rest. The coffee was bitter and the fruit juice tasted as if watered down. The toaster is a law suit waiting to happen. Metal grilles, fragile glass elements and - how about this! - all-metal tongs. Sooner or later someone is going to crack one of those elements and he or she will probably land in Lisbon. Sort this out, Mr Manager! Invest in a conveyor toaster and do it soon!
As for Evora, it's a delight. Beautiful churches, good museums, somewhat pricey restaurants and other sights of interest. The best meal we had was at Fanatismo on the main square. Be careful in all restaurants! When they approach you with the bread and olive entree, it isn't free and can be stupendously expensive, so check the menu before you eat it.
We took a day-trip to Lisbon by train, a 90-minute run setting off at 7.02 and costing 22 Euros each return. The station is ten minutes away from the hotel, and you walk past a Portuguese foodery called 'Alkimia' which serves magnificent hamburgers for when you come back. Lisbon is astounding, and the metro is easy to navigate. Get up to the Castle of St George and you'll have a view of the entire city; come back down by tram and you'll have an experience hard to forget. The Cathedral is also truly a work of art, and it's on the way up the hill to the Castle.
So, in sum, Dom Fernando served its purpose. We didn't go looking for luxury, and it provided good value for money. It was a good starting point for our daily excursions, but we thought it unreasonable to have to buy a decent breakfast at the first place we came to on our days out.
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- Also Known As:
- Dom Fernando Évora
- Dom Fernando Hotel Évora