One never knows what to expect when landing in a new country, especially when your trip starts long before sunrise (hello, fatigue), but judging from the initial planning stages, the bar had been set high. It was my first time in Porto and I needed central accommodation to easily make my way around throughout my 4-day stay. The rain forecasted also meant a cozy atmosphere would win extra points in making my decision. I was referred to Oporto City Flats, which offered exactly that.
Offering six buildings around Porto from which you can choose – a great mixture of both traditional and modern properties – I went for the Un-Almada House 2.1 which besides the unbeatable location (two minute walk to Porto São Bento Railway Station, the famed Lellos Library, and a slew of Porto’s best restaurants and bars), it came with design as whimsical as my desires. The minimal-chic white décor came to life against the colorful, geometrical patterns, in a creative way I hadn’t seen before; all while keeping with tradition, on the historical Rua do Almada.
Dating from the eighteenth century, where the bourgeoisie of Porto once lived, the street on which I would spend the next few days was where iron trade was once taking place. It was great to discover historical details of a bygone era – wagon rails used to carry heavy goods, granite floor slabs and the typical wrought iron balconies, the first thing I noticed on arriving to my destination. I loved waking up every morning, and going out on one such balcony from my apartment, observing the goings-on of the street down below and taking in the music from the nearby Praça da Liberdade.
Check-in at the Un-Almada Apartments was easy, and hassle free. Following a direct 40 minutes metro ride from the airport, I arrived much too early to immediately check-in (9AM), so I left my bag in safe hands at the reception next door, and went exploring. I was offered an alternative apartment, even bigger than my initial request. While I stuck with my first choice, I was pleasantly surprised at the courtesy of the service, to accommodate my early flight arrival, and an early check-in. I was lucky the sun made an appearance at the right time, therefore in between arrival and official check-in, I was able to take in the best boutiques surrounding my accommodation, have a coffee and Portuguese pastry, marvel at the stunning azulejos in the adjacent cathedrals and have a leisurely alfresco lunch, of bacalhau goodness. Within two hours, I had checked off most of the major sites, took note where everything is, and reconfirmed I am in the best location in town.
Another bonus to the Un-Almada House was the proximity to the Workshop Pop Up down the street, a concept store where amidst fashion wear, décor and kitchen wear, Portuguese cooking and wine workshops take place. Let’s just say it’s the ideal hangout for foodie bloggers and writers, to steal a trick or two from the Portuguese chefs.
As days went by, I endured quite a few bouts of rain, which made it all the more pleasant to shelter inside. The generous 65 square meters self-catering studio made for a great loft like space, complete with a fully equipped kitchen. It made me feel more like a local, and less as a tourist. Don’t we all aim for that?! Although fully booked, I never heard any noise or accompanying disturbances. The privacy factor was in full effect, and entering the building via a private code was as quick as could be. I was able to sneak in some work in between, and go in and out in a matter of seconds. While Porto has certainly seen a rise in accommodation offerings due to its increasing popularity as Portugal’s second largest city, in both hotel and apartment lodging, I found the Oporto City Flats the best value for price, not to mention the prime location. I can’t recommend it enough.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Oporto City Flats, however all opinions are mine. Special thanks to Rita and Rita for being so wonderful