In the Casa Antigas (Manor & Stately Homes) category of the Solares de Portugal, Paco de Sao Cipriano is situated a few miles outside the city of Guimaraes. The directions provided enabled us to find it without difficulty. We stayed for two nights.
From the main road, an electronically operated gate leads up a 200 metre track to the main entrance, where a further key-coded automatic gate allows access to the hotel. An old family home, it is tastefully and sympathetically presented, with a recent installation of central heating. We were warmly welcomed and given a choice of rooms, all attractively decorated with stylish furnishings including a four-poster bed.
After our long drive, we asked to eat at the hotel that evening. However when we went downstairs, there was - no doubt due to a misunderstanding, or communication breakdown - no sign of life. Instead we drove to neighbouring Polvoreira and the lively Cafe Rio which the housekeeper had recommended on arrival. Although it was a Friday and the restaurant was busy, we were quickly seated and had a pleasant and reasonably priced dinner.
A perfectly adequate breakfast is included in the price and served in the hotel's main dining area. Sao Cipriano also provides some attractive public spaces including an outside balcony, an old chapel, and a library / games room with comfortable seating and a log fire. There are local walks, and the location is convenient for visiting the sights of Guimaraes and Braga.
We left on a Sunday morning with church bells tolling across the adjacent farmland. The overall impression was of a place of great peace and tranquillity.
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