20 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Quirky good value hotel with great gardens
"Having read previous reviews we were prepared for the "down sides" to this hotel. For us there weren't any apart from the really quite bad shower in the bathroom!! Taxi from the airport cost Â£20. Metro back was Â£3. We had a small, basic room in the Tower with a 4 poster bed and a chandelier I could quite easily have taken home.My husband liked the balconies for smoking. The decor everywhere was marvelous-breakfast was a treat for the senses. We liked the walk back each day from the quayside and did not feel the area was scary-ok perhaps a bit shabby but a couple of reasonable restaurants nearby too. We visited the Port Houses and particularly enjoyed the Taylors restaurant on site. Sitting on the quayside watching the river life with a drink was a very pleasing way to pass some time (the weather was fab)"
- Travel date: 8th March 2009
castelo santa catarina
"we stayed in this hotel after seeing the reviews, and were very happy with our choice. the hotel is a fantastic old building and with magnificent gardens, with extra rooms built later (smaller and cheaper) and a private chapel, in the grounds. I chose the most expensive room for our romantic weekend, but since it was not high season the room was very cheap for the quality. ( it was annonced in the room as 150 euros per night, but we paid 73euros per night.) The cheaper rooms were about 50euros in low season, and probably not as charming as the suite. the rooms in the extensions looked small but I didn't see inside. ours was the Baroque suite, it is a huge room, full of antiques, with sitting room and very spacious bathroom, on the 2nd floor. There were 2 other rooms on our floor. on the 3rd floor there are 4 rooms, and on the 4th floor, in the 'tower' there is one suite divided into two bedrooms, good for 2 couples or a family of 4. (although not as spacious or luscious as our suite!) the breakfast was included, and was definitely adequate, with drinks, croissants, bread, ham, cheese, yogurts and some fruit; eggs could be paid for separately. The dining room and adjacent rooms were fabulous, all filled with antiques, statues, parquet floors and huge old mirrors. The staff was very helpful and friendly. the only negative point is the walk into town, although the hotel is in the Santa Catarina road, it is at the far north end, and takes a 10-15 min walk to get to the shops. these in turn are north of the tourist areas, so walking from the hotel to the river is quite a way. there is however a metro stop about 4mins walk of the hotel so this is very helpful. definitely a place to recommend for romantics or antique lovers, and although we were a bit disappointed with the town itself, the hotel made our stay a success."
- Travel date: 2nd December 2008
A fascinating building with a past, loads of atmosphere.
"We stayed here last week and it was a unique experience. The hotel was a private house built about 1895 and was fascinating. Our bedroom, complete with crystal chandelier and antique bed in the shape of a shell was very clean and comfortable. The dining room was also furnished to the original period and was a joy to behold, and the breakfast plentiful. We had the pleasure of meeting the owner who gave us a tour of the gardens and the chapel and sacristy, beautiful stained glass windows and completely unspoilt. He had been married there and is passionate about the hotel, as it is a listed building trying to get permission to have a lift installed. We enjoyed beautiful weather, and found the walk into town interesting, lots of old fashioned shops etc., and near to the Majestic Cafe, also a wonderful old fashioned cafe, pity about the coffee! We were lucky with the weather and took full advantage of the hop on hop off buses. Be warned lots of places close for lunch."
- Travel date: 12th October 2008
my girlfriend made me leave
"We were shown a garden room at 70 euros which was dimly lit, (they hadn't bothered to open the window shutters) with noticable damp in bathroom and bedroom which made for rather a sorry ambiance. It became instantly transparent that the girlfriend was not going to put up with it. The young man on reception offered me a room up in the tower, which had a decent, clean bathroom and good view over the city. It was curious that he had not shown us this room at the outset. It was markedly better, but I noticed on the room info was charged at 110 euro (which would feel like being short-changed). To their credit the rate remained the same. This hotel is a bit out of the way in an unlovely part of town. The saviour is that Porto's gleaming new metro runs to a square 5 mins north. There are as good value places to stay down in the centre (we found), allowing to save on time and taxis. The girlfriend never got over the initial shock and the feeling that the hotel needed some love (and investment), wasn't particularly well located for the price and felt like it had been shut up all winter... so we only stayed one night. The tiled external areas are charming and so long as the room is in the main building, you could do a lot worse. This place could be made to be lovely and quirky, although in the driving rain (in May!) it was the disadvantages that prevailed, fairly or unfairly."
- Travel date: 31st May 2008
"We booked 2 rooms - one for my mom, my 8 year-old son and myself, and another one to my aunt and her husband. It was an excellent choice. The hotel is near downtown, the internet access is free, the rooms is warm, clean and very charming, and the breakfast is very nice. We felt like home there. The owners are very nice and the cat very beautiful. We have great memories from our stay in Castelo de Santa Catarina. Highly recommended. Hope we can go back in summer or spring to have the breakfast outside. PatrÃcia, from Brasilia - Brasil"
- Travel date: 23rd April 2008
Good value, pretty property
"We stayed at Castelo Santa Catarina for one night. The hotel is not located in the tourist area, but makes for an interesting downhill walk to the waterfront. The property is very picturesque with all the exterior of the buildings being tiled and a pretty terraced garden with patio. We had kind of an odd room that was an obvious modern addition that sat in the middle of the courtyard. The interior of the room had a Motel 6 feel, nothing special. Sort of a dissappointment considering the exterior. The bathroom had over the top seventies looking tile that gave it a pretty tacky appearance. The plumbing in the bathtub was tricky, you had to figure which handle to turn. You had to step up to a very slippery tub which while fiddling with the water I slipped, fell, and cut my rear end. I wouldn't want an elderly person to have to deal with that. There is no safe in the room and the room in general felt a little, lacking security. This caused us to put our passports and documents under the bed. The next morning we drove three hours not realizing that we left the documents. When we contacted the hotel, they said to either drive up or send a cab as Fedex does not work on weekends. Ugh, but the hotel did securely pack up the documents for the driver. The front desk personnel, while cordial, I felt to be a little on the cold side. The breakfast is served upstairs in this gorgeous room which I believe is part of the original house. Breakfast consisted of ham, cheese, bread, fruit, juice and coffee. We only paid 70 euro which was a good deal, but if I was to stay in Porto again, I'd probably try to stay closer to the waterfront."
- Travel date: 28th November 2007
Disappointing, in need of some attention
"After reading several reviews in both guidebooks and on Tripadvisor, we decided to stay at the Castelo Santa Catarina but boy was that a bad decision! The hotel is located in a run down part of town and we didn't feel particularly safe staying there. The parking can be very difficult as the layout means you may have to reverse out of a long drive and through a narrow gateway onto a busy street!!! We initially booked for three nights but couldn't bring ourselves to stay for the first night we had paid for! The first room was at the top of three flights of a narrow, windy staircase in the castle turret (no lift!). The room was very small and smelt musty. The bathroom looked in desperate need of attention and wasn't as clean as we would have liked. There were cigarette butt ends on the balcony which added to our concerns about cleanliness. We asked the receptionist if we could change rooms, he was accommodating and showed us another room that was a twin bedded garden room. Well, this also smelt musty, was very dated with thread bare bed sheets and orange water coming out of the taps!! Basically, not somewhere we could stay for one night, let alone three nights!! The gardens and courtyard were okay but needed sweeping and more care and attention. The hotel could be really something special and unique but desperately needs refurbishing to bring it to standard."
- Travel date: 6th July 2007
"The Castelo is a unique place to stay in Porto, and it is on the northern end of one of the main roads in the city. It's just a few minutes on foot from a metro stop and a 30 minute walk from the river. The rooms are very small but charming - ours had an ornate wood carved bed and a beautiful bathroom with stain-glass windows. The furnishings are a bit worn and threadbare in places, but the linens were clean. The breakfast room is an amazing old room, and the breakfast was one of the largest we had in Portugal. There is a really spectacular courtyard, which is perfect for evening glasses of port or a rest in the afternoon. Our room was in the main hotel, but there were rooms in the courtyard too. One note: if you stay in the hotel, the rooms are up very narrow flights of stairs - LONG flights. If you have a handicapped or limited mobility person in your party, request low floors. The staff was friendly and helpful, and we found this to be a really good place to call home base while we toured the city and Gaia."
- Travel date: 6th May 2007
"We stayed in castelo santa catarina only 1 night but we really enjoyed the place. As I was traveling with my parents, we had a 3 bedded room with a separation! That was great. Furthermore, we were so glad that they had a private parking area within the estate, very safe. Breakfast was fine. But a triple with breakfast included at only 60 e is a real bargain! We used a taxi to go to the center (only 4 euros!) the city is terrible, quite dirty, poor and they are many traffic jams due to the subway renovation! we enjoyed Vila nova de gaia and the wine cellars (especially TAYLOR). We had dinner in Vila nova de gaia at D. Tonho, very very good, nice staff,and the view over Porto is fantastic! It's better to cross the Douro and have dinner there instead of choosing a restaurant on the cais da Ribeira. You can walk from POrto to the wine cellars it's really close by! We visited the stock exchange, former one. It's only a guided tour but it's really interesting and surprising! One night in Porto is enough, believe me!"
- Travel date: 5th April 2006
Romantic and charming
"I booked this accomodation direct having read previous reviews from other trip advisor members. I wanted to stay somewhere with a bit of character. My dealings direct were excellent. No language problems with Snr Bras. He was quite happy to take the deposit and confirm by email. As I made the booking so far in advance I sent a little reminder in January and all was well still! We were allocated room 123. A lovely character room. In fact the whole building has lots of lovely character details. I imagine it may not be for everyone. It's very girly and ornate. I also think it wouldn't be suitable for anyone with mobility issues (i.e lots of steps and narrow stairways). It's also an older property so you have to expect the odd bit of maintenance required. Breakfast was typical continental style (breads, meat, cheese, fruit, coffee) in a gorgeous breakfast room. There are no other meals done at the hotel and be aware its a good ten minute walk (straight down the hill) into the historic part of Porto. I felt the accomodation made up for this. I enjoyed the peace and quiet (particularly the gorgeous grounds). It's location also means its ideal for an easy ride out of Porto back to the airport. For me the only down side was no tea and coffee making facilities in the room. The staff were quite happy to accomodate requests though (for example we asked if they had any cola and this was duly brought up on a tray and simply added to our room tab). I would say if you are looking to go away with a significant lady in your life for a romantic stay this is a great place to go. I can't imagine staying somewhere else in Porto."
- Travel date: 31st January 2006
chill out weekend in Porto
"just got back from Porto and stayed at the Castelo after reading reviews on this site. It is a fab, peaceful and quirky place to stay. A bit up hill from the port but only 4 Euro in a taxi. The breakfast was great for a B&B, served in a grand dining room by a very cheery lady. V clean with fresh towels daily. the garden/courtyard was a good escape from the bustle of the city. Porto - loved it, a great place to visit with loads to see but we took it very slowly, drank loads of Port and had a chilled out long weekend in the sun. 2 good places- the small port bar in Ribeira on the corner just before you come to the waterfront- the guys in there were very knowledgable and you can set up a tasting also along at Foz, Espress Yourself was a bar on the river with deckchairs and bean bags out on a deck to relax, soak up the autum sun and enjoy decent bar food."
- Travel date: 26th September 2005
A change of pace...
"We needed a place to stay in Porto in order to catch an early morning flight and chose this small hotel based on recommendations in various publications. The hotel is a very pleasant oasis in a run down part of Porto (what part of Porto isn't). The grounds and building of the hotel are very interesting to stroll around and service friendly. Rooms are fairly spartan but the rates are reasonable. There is no restaurant in the hotel and the one close by down the street recommended by the desk clerk is one you should probably avoid. All in all, a different experience but not without its charms."
- Travel date: 23rd August 2005
Castelo de Santa Catarina is also called
- castello santa caterina cercola
- castelo santa catarina
- castelo santa catarina oporto