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How a Porto hotel speaks to the city’s history – and its future

A collection of nineteenth-century warehouses on the banks of Vila Nova de Gaia find new life as a five-star stay.


2 min read

Rebello Hotel by Quiet Studios – Lobby

Images: The Rebello Hotel

A far cry from its past life as a wine warehouse and later a kitchen utensil factory, The Rebello Hotel boasts a destination spa, luxury suites, spacious studios and a coworking space, deftly combining nods to the city’s rich Roman history with understated, contemporary interior design. Enlisting architecture atelier Metro Urbe, owner and operator Bomporto Hotels set out to respectfully update key elements of the buildings for an upscale, modern-day feel – tapping Quiet Studios for the interiors, to create a ‘new hotel with an old soul’.

Retaining the historic stone frontage of the buildings played a fundamental part in preserving the old-world feel of the site, which becomes its own focal point in spaces like the rooftop terrace, overlooking the iconic terracotta-tiled roofs throughout the city. Also emphasising  locality and heritage, the luxury hotel gets its name from rabelos, the ‘little tail’ wooden boats once used to deliver barrels of port wine from vineyards in the ancient Douro Valley to this riverbank. Quiet Studios also softened the former warehouse buildings by incorporating artwork from local artists and creatives, nautical influences such as the pendant lights suspended by chains, and a careful blend of vintage and modern wooden furniture.

Hidden beneath the guestrooms is another striking space inspired by the region’s past: the wellness centre and spa. Here guests can unwind in the sauna, fitness centre, spa treatment rooms and swimming pool, the latter of which is modelled on Roman baths. In this serene space, arch motifs on warm, earth-toned walls are complemented by white linen curtains and excavated artefacts on proud display. Throughout the 103 thoughtfully decorated suites, studios and rooms, natural palettes and organic textures continue this homage to antique aesthetics, yet with today’s hand: think ochre accent chairs, sea-blue soft furnishings and countertops showcasing a rich, rustic wood grain.

Against this historic backdrop, The Rebello also demonstrates its signature duality by catering to modern travellers and the ever-growing community of digital nomads relocating to Portugal from Europe and beyond. Within the hotel is a dedicated coworking space as well as bookable meeting rooms, high-speed Wi-Fi and an in-house café, allowing for today’s flexible, agile working styles – including hot desking and remote collaboration.

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