Pousada Mosteiro de Guimaraes
Hotel in Guimaraes
4-Star Historic Hotel
There’s a sprinkling of history all around you when visiting the Minho region in Portugal. From the medieval monuments and historic chapels to an abundance of archeological sites, Portugal’s illustrious past cannot be ignored.
The ancient town of Guimarães is no exception. Especially if you’re staying at the Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães, a hotel housed in a 12th Century Monastery.
Perched upon a hill, 2 kilometres from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Guimarães, the arrival at this pousada – or ‘inn’ – is filled with anticipation.
A giant crucifix sits on the adjacent hillside and the imposing bell tower, ornate balconies and biblical stone carvings make for an interesting arrival. A stone’s throw away from here you’ll find the medieval castle and chapel – the birthplace of Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques.
Once checked in, it’s a two second ride in the lift to the first floor where you’ll walk through two or three spectacular public rooms, decked out in deep red woven rugs, religious artwork and beautiful tiling – or azulejos – that is unique to this region. You then reach a long corridor of guestrooms.
Although the dark wood furniture and rich red fabrics are similar to the rest of the hotel, interiors in the guestrooms are kept simple. The original window prayer seat and shuttered windows remain unchanged. There’s no escaping you’re in an original monks’ chamber here.
There are no tea or coffee facilities in the room; however, you’ll find a small fridge stocked with cans of soft drink, bottles of fruit juice and a chocolate bar. Bottled water is supplied, at a cost of 3 Euros and there’s a small but satisfactory room service menu.
The bathroom is again, on the minimalist side – a bath with detachable shower surrounded by pebble-coloured stone and basic Pousadas de Portugal branded toiletries. It’s a joy though to find thick heavy white robes to snuggle into – staying in a monastery built from solid granite can be a chilly experience.
While the wall-mounted hairdryer has minimal power (make sure you bring your own), they redeem themselves on the modern amenities-front with a good-sized flat screen TV that offers various cable channels.
Of course, if you really want to switch off from the modern world and channel your inner monk, you can. But those who enter into a state of panic at the words ‘digital detox’ will be kept content by the reasonable connection you get from the free Wi-Fi available throughout your stay.
You’ll find the essential safety box, extra pillows and a good sized free-standing wardrobe with plenty of coat hangers and drawer space too.
By evening, the hotel restaurant offers traditional Portuguese cuisine. So think hearty dishes of salted codfish, duck salads and seafood rice dishes – all served with the striking 16th Century monasterial arches as your setting.
As night falls, it’s as noise-free as it gets and as bright sunshine floods through the windows the next morning, a stroll through the enchanting gardens and cloisters to find beautiful fountains and the original Mozarabic door, beckons. The dining room also offers a relaxed place to breakfast on cereals, cheese, meat, bread, and even a glass of sparkle to help you start the day.
If there’s one regret, it’s not visiting this hotel during the summer months to experience its spectacular outdoor pool, fantastically located for magnificent views over Guimarães.
But on the upside, this tops so many hotel experiences for its time capsule charm and spectacular location. You’ve got to see it to believe it.
Lucy McGuire is an award-winning journalist based in London who writes on travel, food and lifestyle for both print and online
Photographs courtesy of Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Related Activity||Relaxation, Culture / Sightseeing, Great local restaurants|
|Services||Free High Speed Internet, Restaurant, Room Service, Swimming Pool, Family Friendly, Conference Rooms, Wedding / Personal Event|
|Dress Code||Smart Casual|
|Ambience||Quiet, Hidden Gem|
|Number of Rooms||49 rooms and suites|
Standard, Pousada Family, Superior Rooms, Superior Historic Rooms, Suites and a Master Suite.
Tranquil historic setting with period décor and striking architecture.
Last updated on 05-07-2015