The Yeatman Hotel

Oporto, Portugal.

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You may be familiar with classic and historic Port houses, but have you ever heard of a Port hotel? Or more precisely, a five-diamond Relais & Châteaux Port hotel?

The Yeatman is one of the most dramatic properties to grace Oporto in, well, centuries. Located in the historic heart of Vila Nova de Gaia, this new classic is next to the ancient lodges where Port houses have aged wines for over three centuries. The mighty Douro River flows into the Atlantic Ocean here, and separates the seaports of Vila Nova de Gaia from Oporto via a series of bridges. Port wine received its name in the latter half of the 17th century from the city of Oporto (Porto to English speakers), where flat bottomed barcos rabelos would offload the precious barrels of wine to be aged before shipping to England and beyond.

Many of today’s Port firms were founded by British merchant families who set up shop in Oporto, and are now owned by their successors. The Yeatmans, who entered the Port trade in 1838, were among the most enterprising of these Port families, and their descendants maintain this tradition as owners of three of the most famous Port houses today: Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca Guimaraens, and Croft.

Their newest project, the Yeatman Hotel, was inspired by the stately British aesthetic of attention to detail and grandeur, merged with generous Portuguese hospitality, food and drink, and every modern convenience befitting a Relais & Châteaux resort. Occupying a commanding hillside position on the south bank of the Douro River, the sumptuous guest suites, restaurant, lounge, and spa overlook expansive views over the centre of this historic town.

No expense was spared in creating this destination hotel, though every care was taken to reflect the sacred home of port and the special wines of Portugal. Lists at the wine bar, in the library/smoking lounge, and in the property’s Michelin-star restaurant are naturally a love letter to port wines, but also showcase over 1,200 wines from across the country in what is regarded to be the best and largest collection of Portuguese wine anywhere in the world. Guests are welcome to reserve a sommelier-led tour of the 25,000 bottle garrafeira (wine cellar), where you can hunt down a bottle of your birth year vintage. And if you never tire of wine, don’t miss the vinothérapie spa, a tranquil and antioxidant rich retreat.

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April 11, 2014