The Rebello may be the city’s newest riverfront hotel, but its sturdy 18th century stonework is the embodiment of Porto’s industrial soul.
As cities grow, they naturally expand outwards and as we approached the end of the last century in London, Paris and even Lisbon, it was the inner city architecture lining the grand waterways of the Thames, the Seine and the Tagus which was destined to be abandoned as old industries died.
There’s been a something of a renaissance over the past ten years or so – a rejuvenation and an appreciation of architectural merits of our industrial heritage right across Europe. Porto’s no exception and its city developers have started to look inwards once again, regenerating the riverfront districts of Cais da Ribeira, the Cais das Pedras and the Cais do Cavaco. It’s now Cais de Gaia’s turn with the opening of the five-star Rebello Hotel, which takes its moniker from the traditional, flat-bottomed cargo boats which once transported barrels of new wine to their internment in the nearby port house of Vila Nova da Gaia, where they would mature into the city’s most-famous export: Port.
Breathing new life into these old buildings, the Rebello doesn’t hide its 18th century origins under a bushel – in fact it celebrates them with its industrial aesthetic and the building’s 21st century infrastructure, pipework, conduit and ducting is very much on display. There are a one hundred and three rooms in total, spread across four floors:
– Studio suites – these ensuite, open-plan studio suites come with a queen-sized bed, and a small kitchen with a coffee marker, a combination microwave/oven, fridge and mini-bar. Some studios have balconies, some have window seats.
– One-bedroom suites are larger with an open plan kitchen/living room and beds can be twins, queen-sized or king-sized (subject to availability).
– One-bedroom duplex suites are larger still. Due to the industrial origins of the building, the duplex layout varies according to their location in the hotel, but most have an open plan kitchen/diner/living room with the bedroom on a mezzanine above.
– Two-bedroom suites are designed with families in mind. Again, their layout can vary: some have river view window seats, whilst some suites on the land side have small private terraces.
– Two-bedroom duplex suites move the bedrooms into the eaves of the building, increasing the downstairs, open-plan shared spaces.
– Finally, the three-bedroom penthouses are on the top floor. Bedrooms can be set up as twins of king-size, and a private river view terrace runs the full length of the penthouse.
Although it’s only a short stroll up the Douro to the best and the brightest restaurants of Gaia’s restaurants, you’re well-catered for at the Rebello: the Pot and Pan restaurant celebrates Porto’s hearty rural cuisine, the River Social Deli put their artisanal twist on the same great produce, and the view from the Rooftop Bar across the iconic Ponte Luis I bridge after dark is something truly special.