The Rebello: a five-star design hotel with the best views of Porto

The Rebello, whose name pays homage to the small wooden boats (the famous rabelos) that used to transport the Port wine barrels along the river, is a 5-star hotel with unbeatable views of this beautiful coastal city in northwest Portugal. It is located on the banks of the Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia, just a few minutes from the city’s main wine cellars.

103 apartments and 11 types of accommodations

The Rebello is Bomporto Hotels‘ third project in Portugal. It is spread across four 19th-century industrial buildings and features 103 carefully designed apartments to meet the various needs of its guests: families, digital nomads, and creatives. These accommodations are divided into 11 types ranging from 37 to 195 m2.

The hotel also boasts 2 restaurants – Pot&Pan on the ground floor and Bello Rooftop, situated on the rooftop – several versatile meeting rooms, and a magnificent spa with a heated pool, 4 treatment rooms, sauna, and gym.

Irreverent, vibrant, and cosmopolitan

These three adjectives perfectly define the character of this hotel, which expertly blends the local spirit and art with an international creative and entrepreneurial scene that has found an opportunity to live and develop projects in this city. Therefore, The Rebello has taken into account every small detail with the purpose of turning this evocative place into one of the city’s main meeting points.

“This hotel reflects the creative and cosmopolitan spirit of an increasingly vibrant Porto.”

Hence, service is one of its standards

Despite being a five-star hotel, the staff working there and attending to guests are very friendly, highly professional, provide value with their recommendations and attention, and, best of all, they do not have a servile attitude towards customers, which is something we personally dislike. Thanks to their good work, they offer a unique experience to both guests and visitors.

Architecture and Interior Design

Regarding the architecture project, the main challenge was to transform seven 19th-century industrial buildings into a hotel that would meet the needs of modern travelers. This site had been home to a factory producing kitchen utensils, which became the inspiration for the concept of the new restaurant on the ground floor, Pot&Pan.

For this reason, the team of architects adopted an integrated approach to give new life to the property, which now extends across four buildings: two central blocks of new construction adapted to the site’s topography and two side buildings that retain historical features such as facades and stone structure.

As for the interior design, it was interior designer Daniela Franceschini, founder of Quiet Studios, who began to envision the creative identity of the project. She drew inspiration from how artists and creatives have always used industrial spaces throughout history.

The result is beautiful and spectacular, as she has achieved a very attractive, colorful, and artsy eclectic design. The artworks by Pedro Guimarães and international artists such as Josep Maynou and Tomek Sadurski, the pieces from Grau Cerâmica, the handmade blankets produced in Serra da Estrela by Burel Factory, and the designer furniture (including the incredible lighting fixtures) all seek to stimulate the creativity of visitors and invite them to reflect on the creative process and craftsmanship.

Among the vintage and contemporary objects, we highlight the four key elements behind the creative process: water, wine, wood, and industry. To this, we must add a “nautical sensation” present in the colors, materials, and textures, and in the lighting, which suggests flotation and sailboats. This sensation is embodied in the wooden shelves by Tomaz Viana, the ceramic nets by Fig Studio, and the undulating mirrors that evoke the movement of the sea.

Another good example is found in the reception area, which features a nautical installation made from reused materials from the famous rabelos, designed by the THER studio in close collaboration with a craftsman from Vila Nova de Gaia. The ceramic pieces by Joana Passos and the floral arrangements by Beatriz Faria Ribeiro (Menez) are also exceptional, as are the lamps designed by Casa Josephine Studio and the upholstery by Edurne Camacho.

“Franceschini has relied on the support of Portuguese artists and artisans to design much of the art and furniture.”

The Power of Details

As we mentioned earlier, the hotel exudes taste in every corner, and nothing has been chosen randomly. This is particularly evident in the rooms, where the minibar exclusively features local products, and where those related to the bathroom are from Claus Porto, a centuries-old Portuguese brand and one of the most popular soap manufacturers in the country due to its magnificent quality.

The Crown Jewel: The Spa

Similar to other hotels in the group, this is the place to go to pamper ourselves after a non-stop day in Porto. Inspired by Roman baths, it stands out for its arches and its peachy pink color, reminiscent of Peach Fuzz 13-1023, this year’s Pantone color. It features a heated pool, sauna, gym, and 4 treatment rooms.

From holistic and exclusive massages to facial and body rituals, performed with Essencia Aroma, a local brand with natural oils and lotions of organic base.

The philosophy behind this urban spa is based on the principles of traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Indian medicine.

“The philosophy behind this urban spa is based on the principles of traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Indian medicine.”

The “Ritual” treatment is one of its main attractions, as it is a complete 2-hour body therapy that includes body scrub, followed by a relaxing massage and facial treatment.

But if you simply feel like disconnecting, you can use the pool and relax on its loungers (by reservation). And if you are not staying at the hotel, you can also visit the spa, but only if you book a treatment in advance.

Services for Everyone

The Rebello also features a kids’ club called Little Rebels catering to children aged 4 to 12 years old.

And if you’re up for discovering parts of the city by bike, the hotel also offers an electric bike service along with picnic baskets to enjoy a ride along the waterfront from Matosinhos to Leça da Palmeira. Who’s up for it?

A Gastronomic Experience Doubled: Pot&Pan and Bello Rooftop

Pot&Pan is a hedonistic paradise for lovers of Portuguese cuisine and bon vivants. It’s open for breakfast from 7:30 to 10:30 am and for dinner from 7 to 11 pm, and its dishes are served for sharing in pots and pans as a homage to this former kitchenware factory.

This restaurant is accessible to both guests and locals, and its menu focuses on a short selection of dishes from traditional Portuguese cuisine but with a modern twist, crafted with the finest seasonal products such as: monkfish and shrimp rice, octopus with socarrat, matured beef ribeye, or the modern version of the famous pudim abade Priscos, which is one of the chef’s main recommendations. As expected, their service is attentive and very pleasant.

Its interior design is fantastic and stands out for its walls decorated in dark tones, the plants that complete the relaxed and informal atmosphere, the lamps designed by artist Joana Passos from old pots and pans, and the black clay tableware from Artantiga from the Tondela region.

“Bello Rooftop is located on the fourth floor rooftop of the hotel, and it’s one of the best spots in the city for cocktails by the river.”

Bello Rooftop is located on the fourth-floor rooftop of the hotel, and it’s one of the best spots in the city to enjoy cocktails by the river. It has all the ingredients for us to enjoy memorable moments alongside delicious snacks, cocktails, and the most photogenic sunsets in the city. It’s open from noon until midnight.

Next to Pot&Pan and Bello Rooftop is the Lobby Bar, which is very cozy and serves as a perfect space to have a coffee, relax, or work. The service at this bar is available from noon until 10 pm.

Porto from Another Perspective

What we liked most about this hotel is that its location has allowed us to enjoy this beautiful city from a unique perspective. And not just because it’s located opposite the historic center and next to the wine cellars or because of its wonderful views – it’s the only one with a 180-degree view of Porto, the Dom Luis I bridge, and Vila Nova de Gaia – but because its location allows us to revel in the Dolce far niente without the FOMO (fear of missing out) taking over.

Furthermore, it’s worth considering that beyond the center of Porto, there are other areas that are well worth exploring such as Matosinhos or Leça da Palmeira, and the hotel allows for quicker access to them. Although it may not seem like it because tourists mainly concentrate around São Bento, this city is huge and deserves for us to see beyond the main highlights. Porto is much more than its highlights!

Highly recommended.

(*) Photos by Ely Sánchez & Cecilia Camacho (CC/studio).