The fact that the majority of Porto’s best hotels offer spa services is no coincidence. The truth is, as beautiful and interesting as the city is, walking up and down its streets all day makes massages a necessity.
Fear not: Porto’s best spa hotels are there to soothe the soreness of your body and soul.
The best spa hotels in Porto
Walking past the blue-tile façades of Rua das Flores - currently the trendiest street in the city - you wouldn’t imagine what lies behind door 139. This large 18th-century manor house has a garden with a viewpoint and an indoor swimming pool. On top of the Roman baths (pictured), there’s a selection of beauty treatments starting from €50.
Yes, it is possible to sleep in an 18th-century baroque palace and wake up with a view on the Douro river. Pestana Palácio do Freixo, the country’s largest pousada (the Portuguese name for luxury accommodation housed in historical buildings), was designed by Nicolau Nasoni (one of Porto’s most prominent architects) and refurbished in 2009. The Magic Spa offers facial and relaxation treatments, and one of the most popular massages is Rebalance - which focuses on re-energising the whole body.
Right in front of City Hall, the 18th-century Cardosas Palace holds an InterContinental hotel that definitely deserves its five stars. It’s no coincidence that for the past three years (from 2014 to 2016), the InterContinental Porto – Palácio das Cardosas scooped the prizes for Best Luxury Hotel, Best Luxury City Hotel and Best Luxury Honeymoon Hotel at the World Luxury Hotel Awards. And the spa undeniably contributed to this hotel’s success: it has a sauna, beauty treatments, scrubs, massages and even therapeutic baths.
Located halfway between Rotunda da Boavista and Foz, Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa is one of the city’s biggest hotels. The Spa is one of its selling points: inspired by Starwood’s Seven Pillars of Well-Being (beauty, harmony, aqua, vitality, life balance, nature and nutrition), it includes eight treatment rooms, an indoor swimming pool and long treatment suites, all available for hotel guests and non-guests. It also offers face and body treatments (including exfoliation, relaxation, localised and sports massages) and even specialised packages for pregnant women and teenagers (from 12 to 16).
In the middle of the 18th century, José Anastácio da Silva Fonseca, one of Porto’s richest men, decided to build a home for his family. 300 years later, it welcomes the type of guests who want to be in the middle of the action, close to everything. Located on the square of the same name, Batalha, the NH Collection Porto Batalha cannot go unnoticed, thanks to its red façade. It boasts 105 rooms and a spa with a sauna, swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room and, of course, relaxing massages.
Porto Palácio Congress Hotel & Spa is a hospitality giant on Avenida da Boavista. Since we’re focusing on the spa, let’s talk about the hydromassage beds to relieve points of tension, the Swiss shower projecting water from all sides, the sensation shower, the Laconium (a Roman sauna where the temperature and humidity stimulate blood circulation) and finally the hammam (a type of Turkish bath that flushes toxins and reduces stress).
Open since September 9, 2017, the five-star Torel Avantgarde went all out when it came to decorating. Everything you see there is Portuguese - from the sofas to the chandeliers, through to the furs and artwork on display - and it can all be purchased online. Of the 47 rooms, 20 are suites and 21 have a view on the Douro river. With two treatment rooms and a Turkish bath, the real moss covering the walls of the entrance isn’t the only thing that stands out at the Spa Balsamea.
At The Yeatman, all 82 rooms and suites have a terrace with a panoramic view of the river and the city, as does the indoor swimming pool and Dick’s Bar. The wine theme is present all the way into the rooms - with some of the beds fitted inside giant barrels - and the Caudalie Vinothérapie spa, where you can have treatments with red wine or grape extract, Merlot scrubs and relaxing, energising, slimming, deep-tissue, prenatal or hot stone massages.
Since its October 2014 renovation, the Crowne Plaza has over 200 rooms available and a spa that is hard to miss. On top of facials and beauty treatments, it offers couples packages and hot stone, Thai, local, full-body and even shiatsu massages. Just take your pick.