Saboaria is a squeaky-clean stay in central Porto, with scent-themed rooms to choose from, split-level suites and a street-level café for watching the world go by. The building was once a soap factory and it’s as fragrant as ever today. It may be in the middle of Porto, but that doesn’t mean there’s no space for a garden – this one has a pool and hot tub. Outside, the spiritual home of fortified wine is on your doorstep (handy for port-house proximity).
Get this when you book through us:
Some port and local chocolate truffles, plus a 10 per cent discount on spa treatments
Double rooms from £80.27 (€93), including tax at 6 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.00 per person per night on check-in.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast.
There’s a lift to all floors at Saboaria, plus an adapted room for wheelchair users.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, garden. In rooms: kitchenette with an induction hob, oven, microwave, kettle and coffee machine; TV, air-conditioning and Castelbel bath products.
Our favourite rooms
If you’re not a fan of single-storey living, book one of the Deluxe Duplex rooms, which have a bedroom upstairs, a lounge downstairs and a white spiral staircase linking the two. From Room 26, you’ll be able to spy the top of Porto’s city hall.
There’s a heated pool and (plus equally toasty Jacuzzi) in the garden, open for swims from 10am to 8pm.
The petite spa at Saboaria has double and single treatment rooms, a steam bath and a relaxation room for tea and naps.
Leave the rubber duckies behind.
There are yoga mats in all of the rooms and a once-weekly class if you need a little more guidance for your practice.
All ages are welcome and some of the rooms have sofa-beds for kids. Babysitting is available (from €25 an hour).
All amenities are refillable, rather than single-use, and the hotel aims to be paperless. A ‘green rate’ is offered to guests willing to forego housekeeping and have a tree planted instead.
Saboaria is in the centre of Portugal’s prettiest city Porto, a short walk from the Ribeira district and Avenida dos Aliados.
The city’s Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport is between 15 and 30 minutes by car from the hotel (depending on traffic). Transfers start from €30.
São Bento station is less than a kilometre away – hotel transfers to and from here cost €30. There’s also a metro stop within a minute’s walk (and you’ll be able to ride it all the way to the airport).
You’ll be within walking distance of many of Porto’s major sights, but if you have come by car, there’s public parking 100 metres down the road.
Worth getting out of bed for
Saboaria is in the centre of Porto, within walking distance of the Ribeira district, Torre dos Clérigos and the Mercado do Bolhão. You’ll also be able to stroll over to Avenida dos Aliados, Rua de Santa Catarina and bookshop of dreams Livraria Lello. If you fancy venturing out of the city, the Douro Valley’s many vineyards await – or you can try some of the best port going right here in Porto – just head to the port houses along the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. For more culture, don’t miss the Teatro Rivoli, the Casa da Música and Fundação de Serralves, which houses an impressive collection of contemporary art.
If you’re here for the wine, Real has a whole cellar to choose your bottle from – the classic Portuguese menu features dishes such as cod fritters, stuffed sausage and sautéed squid. Brasão has outposts all over Porto, helpful if you find yourself in need of a meaty meal in various locations, including Vila Nova de Gaia. For something cosy and authentic, locate Voltaria on Rua Afonso Martins Alho and allocate some time for working through the Portuguese tapas. Nogueira’s is a smart, modern spot run by two brothers hoping to go global. And if you’ve escaped to the beach in Leça da Palmeira, don’t miss stopping by for some refreshments at Casa de Chá, a tea house built on the rocks.
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 fragrant hotel in Portugal and unpacked their fortified wine and fancy soaps, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Saboaria in Porto…
This Porto pad has a perfumed past – it was once the Saboaria do Bolhão, a soap-making factory owned by a Galician family who lived within these sweet-smelling walls. They’ve moved out but left the fragrances behind at Saboaria, now a boutique hotel with rooms themed around different scents. The Baroque façade is intact, but rooms have been modernised – some are set across two levels, with a spiral staircase linking the bedroom upstairs and the living area downstairs. The historic centre of Porto, so special it’s a Unesco World Heritage Site, is within strolling (or stumbling home, post-riverfront-port-house crawl) distance. Life will soon be smelling of roses (and fortified wine).