porto of call
As Portugal continues its climb to become one of the top destinations in Europe, the historic city of Porto — long the country’s best-kept holiday secret — is gaining favour with travellers from far and wide. But the secret may now officially be out with the opening of the coastal metropolis’s most luxurious boutique hotel.
Debuting in February in an elegant guesthouse in the heart of the lively Bonfim district, Palacio Fenizia fits right in among its landmark neighbours (which include the Baroque Porto Cathedral and the neoclassical Mercado do Bolhao). “The 20th-century mansion was beautiful on its own, with an amazing facade covered with azulejos [white and blue ceramic tiles], and sumptuous interiors," says Gianfranco Fenizia, the Italian architect and owner of the guesthouse. “I just had to do a light facelift."
Fenizia restored the structure’s original main staircase, skylight and wood floors, and paired bespoke furnishings with precious textiles, wallpaper, antiques and other vintage pieces. The result is an exquisite synthesis of Italian taste and Portuguese architecture featuring five bright and spacious suites, an art gallery and a forthcoming jardin d’hiver, where guests will be able to gather for sunset cocktails. For visitors who find themselves charmed by Porto’s many secrets — including the Palacio — Fenizia will also soon offer two long-term accommodations.
“Just a suggestion," Fenizia adds. “Come to Porto ASAP to appreciate its unique atmosphere — because it might soon dissolve." Indeed, the secret is officially out.