A wineland wonder seemingly suspended above its famous namesake river, Douro41 brings daring modern design to a Unesco-protected valley. The tiered hotel is designed to maximise river views and the pool is cantilevered above it for a floating feeling. The spectacular scenery, though, is the star, with huge floor-to-ceiling windows, glass walkways and wide terraces all created to showcase the views (book a Douro-facing room with a private deck: you can thank us later). And it’s a spa hotel, so ambling about in dressing gowns is actively encouraged… but be sure to scrub up for a superb supper in Raiva, mind.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible.
Double rooms from £169.49 (€199), including tax at 6 per cent.
Rates usually include breakfast.
The hotel has a monthly changing programme for guests, ranging from meditation and kayaking to pizza classes and painting lessons, with a cinema club (including a late-night one for insomniacs).
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, games room, gym. In rooms: air-conditioning, free bottled water, smart TV, Marshall speaker, Nespresso coffee machine, tea-making kit and toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
Be sure to book a room with a full view of the river so you can fully appreciate its wide, whooshing majesty – bonus points for one with a terrace.
There are three pools at Douro41: a glass-flanked, river-facing one inside at the spa, one on the middle storey of the retreat, and one on the roof with a bar and two levels of sunloungers.
The sleek, minimalist spa overlooks the Douro River and its tree-swathed banks. There are five treatment rooms alongside a hydrotherapy circuit, sauna and Turkish bath, all with floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of the views. The products come from Irish brand Moss of the Isles, who produce vegan, ethical and sustainable products that are made from earth’s natural bounty. Their oils and creams contain herbs and botanicals that have been used for centuries, handed down by generations of healers and medicine men. Try one of the signature Moss treatments like the Body Renewal, a stress-busting session that rejuvenates body, face and scalp with the help of iris root, green mandarin, chamomile and geranium extracts.
Your beginners' guide to grapes and clothes with elastic waistbands won’t go amiss.
Some rooms have been specially adapted for wheelchair users and are accessible by lift.
All ages are welcome. Cots can be added, some rooms can have twin beds on request, and the suites can accommodate one or two children. Babysitting for up to two children is available with two days’ notice for €15 an hour.
The riverside restaurant has some pretty spectacular scenery – go for a table near the window or out on the Douro-facing deck.
This may be a spa hotel, but best change out of your dressing gown and make at least a bit of an effort, to match the first-class food.
Raiva pays tribute to the region’s cuisine, and its amazing produce: you’ll enjoy freshwater fish, kid and veal, with nods to noble Portuguese cooking traditions such as vinha d’alhos (meat cooked with wine and garlic) and lagareiro (oven-baked octopus and potatoes). Breakfast is a bountiful spread of local jams, wood-oven-baked bread, just-squeezed juice and honey from the hotel bees.
The A Terra wine bar serves cocktail classics, along with an impressive list of Portuguese wines and a series of fire-cooked food. There’s also the Porto Club, with a fireplace and library for peaceful port imbibing. Children are welcome at A Terra and there’s a dedicated menu.
The bar is open all day, from 11am until midnight (1am on Fridays and Saturdays). Raiva serves dinner every night from 7pm till 10.30pm.
A selection of salads, pastas and comfort dishes can be served in-room.
Estrada Nacional 222 km 41, 4550-631 Castelo de Paiva, Portugal
Douro41 is on the banks of its namesake river, east of Porto in Portugal’s wine region and close to the town of Castelo de Paiva.
Porto’s airport is a 50-minute drive from the hotel. Transfers can be arranged for €90 each way.
It’s 40 minutes by car to reach the centre of Porto. The hotel has a car park a short distance away, so drop your bags off first; if you want to see more of the area’s port producers, a car will come in handy – but then again, you’ll probably want to sample some, so it might not.
Worth getting out of bed for
This is the Unesco-approved Alto Douro region, so there’s a whole lot of ravishing riverine countryside out there. Before you hit up the local quintas and villages, make sure you check out the hotel’s spa and three swimming pools. Porto is roughly 45 minutes away by car if you fancy a day trip, otherwise the hotel can help arrange sails down the Douro, visits to vineyards, wine and port tastings and romantic walks.
The hotel’s own restaurant is the finest for miles, but the concierge can arrange trips out to a neighbouring quinta for lunch – including Quinta da Gricha, home of Churchill’s Port, where you can enjoy tastings and a tour of the vineyards and the 19th-century lodge before a meal in the orange grove.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this wine hotel in Portugal and unpacked their cases of port, a full account of their beverage-focused break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Douro41 in the Douro Valley…
An easy 45-minute drive east out of Porto – on your way into the heart of the Douro Valley – Douro41 is a perfect starting pitstop for a wine- and port-focused holiday (which, frankly, is the best type of holiday). The Unesco-protected Alto Douro region is home to some pretty spectacular scenery, and this daring design hotel reflects the terraces of the landscape in its tiered design. The pool is suspended over the water, and that floaty feeling continues in some of the rooms, thanks to their uninterrupted views and enormous terraces. Days here are spent out touring neighbouring quintas, tasting their output, being pampered at the spa or packing in the calories at Raiva, where you can eat first-class Portuguese produce in simple-but-stellar dishes. Now, where did we put the corkscrew?