The InterContinental’s neoclassical design is striking and it stretches the full width of the block it majestically occupies. The opulent, marbled lobby is brightly lit by a series of Swarovski chandeliers. Velvet armchairs set the tone in terms of style and comfort Pictures of old Porto adorn the walls. Spacious rooms are simple but elegant with heavy drapes and embroidered rugs, ceiling height mirrors and marble bathrooms with standalone bathtubs. Best of all are the small terraces that provide a regal vantage point to admire the architecture and activity of Liberdade Square.
Step out of the hotel and you’re on Avenida dos Aliados, Porto’s main avenue and one of the hippest and most happening streets in the Old City. Close by is the historic Sao Bento train station. Stroll too to the iconic Clérigos Church and, if you’re feeling energetic, climb to the top of its landmark 75-metre bell tower. Pause at Lello’s bookshop, with its lavish art nouveau interior. Lunch by the River Douro then cross to the southern district of Vila Nova da Gaia and discover the port wine cellars that fill the streets by the river, picking up tasting tips from winemakers and sampling a glass or two.
Retreat to the hotel for a peaceful escape from the city throng. Drop into the wellness centre for a candle wax massage by a professional spa therapist or to use the sauna. Rejuvenate further by grabbing a seat in the Bar das Cardosas close to the grand piano, backed by shelves stocked with fake book spines and scan the list of local Port wines. Move through to the Astoria Restaurant, where the walls are covered in modern artwork. Settle at your table and await plates of Portuguese-inspired specialities given a contemporary twist. After dining it may be time to head out end experience Porto’s nightlife, or simply stroll the side streets near the Intercontinental to find hole in the wall bars and intriguing nightspots.