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 favor with travelers from far and wide. But the secret may now officially be out with the opening of the coastal metropolis’s most luxurious boutique hotel.
Debuted in February in an elegant guesthouse in the heart of the lively Bonfim district, Palácio Fenizia fits right in among its landmark neighbors (which include the Baroque Porto Cathedral and the neoclassical Mercado do Bolhão). “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 Palácio—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. (palaciofenizia.com)