Torel Avantgarde is a brand new property of Portugal having opened its doors in September 2017, but despite its young age it has quickly established itself as one of the most sought-after luxury hotels in the city of Porto and not without good reason. Created in collaboration with Portuguese artists Jorge Cuval, Frederico Draw, Daniel Eime and Paulo Neves, the inspiration was taken from the world of plastic arts, literature, science, music and, of course, art and design, from artists such as Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti to Amadeo De Souza-Cardoso and Nina Simone. The interior designer, Isabel Sa Nougueiro, is the architect of furniture throughout the hotel which blends the best of Portugal with modern art and contemporary design.
The Torel Avantgarde establishes a very high level of hospitality in Porto and its name fully represents its philosophy. The concept of Avantgarde originates originally from the building, which comes from the Estado-Novo period of the 1940s. But like the avant-garde artists themselves, the owners wanted to create something completely new: a place where art is not just an addition, but the protagonist of the place. Everything in Torel Avantgarde is done strictly by hand in Portugal, from the beautiful stools that line the cozy breakfast area, to the incredibly comfortable beds that embellish every bedroom. This is a place where quality prevails, and the result is Portuguese opulence.
Although art plays a leading role in this structure, it is only when you enter in the rooms that you have the real impact with the Avantgarde philosophy, thanks to the original paintings and details that line the stairwell and the door of each suite inscribed with the name of an influential artist. In fact each of the hotel’s 47 rooms has its own unique identity which is named after famous artists and decorated accordingly. All are celebrations of particular creative and experimental spirits (from different periods), including Portuguese icons such as José de Almada Negreiros and Fernando Pessoa and international luminaries such as Coco Chanel, Marcel Duchamp and Janis Joplin. The Coco Chanel Suite is definitely luxurious in every way, with an ambient lighting that highlights the canvas and the Coco Chanel mannequin that is in the dressing room and offers a warm and inviting atmosphere in which to relax, unwind and rest. The hotel’s location at the top of a hill certainly has its advantages, and with floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony, you can sit and watch the world go by for hours.
For all the hungry guests the Torel Avantgarde has its own private restaurant, which offers spectacular views of the Douro River and the beautiful town of Vila Nova de Gaia along its banks. The Digby restaurant offers a range of tasty dishes in a relaxed yet sophisticated setting, with ambient lighting creating an intimate atmosphere, perfect for couples wishing to enjoy a peaceful evening together, as well as for larger groups. Here, the focus is on Portuguese gastronomy with a contemporary twist, blending local and national quality ingredients with unique flavors, all to create a unique menu. The Digby restaurant was inspired by a visionary of his time. Sir Kenelm Digby was an English philosopher of the seventeenth century, “gastronomic philosopher”, author of cookbooks and intellectual member of the private consul of King Charles I. It is considered as the inventor of the typical translucent green wine bottle that is commonly used in the north of Portugal.
After dinner, guests can enjoy cocktails in the adjacent bar, which doubles as a breakfast area in the morning, where a large buffet of fruit, cheeses, cold meats and much more is served until late. The Digby is in a prime location as it boasts two adjacent terraces, so guests can enjoy a pleasant meal outdoors in every time of the day. It is truly exceptional to enjoy the sun and the city view at breakfast, the perfect way to start the day if you are staying in this extraordinary hotel.
The Balsame Spa is a quiet place where therapists are available to meet your every need. When the weather is not on your side in Porto, what could be better than spending the afternoon with a relaxing massage? With a Turkish bath and sauna, you can extend your Zen experience for as long as you like. However, the hotel offers a rectangular outdoor pool with its comfortable sunbeds, an ideal place if it is sunny outside.
Finally, this is the ideal hotel to stay if you want to fully immerse yourself in all that is Porto, and is the perfect base from which to explore this fascinating city. Torel Avantgarde is located in the area of Restauraçao, a few meters from the historic center of Porto, in fact from this hotel you can walk to several attractions of the city of Porto that we would like to remember you, it is the cultural capital of Portugal; not only will you remain in a uniquely artistic space, you will have access to some of the biggest galleries and music rooms the world can offer.
Torel Avantgarde is located next to Douro River which sweeps through Porto, a coastal city in the northwest of the country, which is the nation’s second city and also one of the most up-and-coming city break destinations in the whole of Europe. An important part of its charm lies in the fact that it is not yet invaded by hordes of tourists like most of the European capitals, still allowing the opportunity to wander the steep streets and admire the tile buildings without having to jostle between the crowd. Now, Porto is a city where you can explore at your leisure, but it might not always be this way and, with so many things going for it, from its beautiful architecture and charming riverside eateries and bars, to the several and famous Porto wine cellars that line the banks of the Douro, it is likely that it is only a matter of time until the big reflectors light up to this marvelous destination.
Value for Money
Double rooms are from just Euro 120,00 in low season; and from Euro 220,00 in high. These rates are per room and per day and include breakfast and free Wi-Fi. Rates are subject to change without prior notice.
Access for guests with disabilities?
There are lifts and an adapted room, the Joan Mirò room is availabe for people with disabilities.
Children are welcome and additional cots or single beds can be provided at an extra cost. Interconnecting rooms are also available.
Our Special Readings
7 Tips about O Porto
The Portuguese call their city “O Porto” and when foreigners heard them name it, they thought the article was part of the name and so all together call the capital of northern Portugal “Oporto” but to be honest in Portugal, you will never find it written so! But now that I have pointed out this curiosity that is on everyone’s head, here are the other 7 tips that I would like to share with you about Porto.
Beyond the river…is not Porto
When you will be in Ribeira and you will see, on the other side of the Douro river, the signs of the cellars in which you will then go for a taste of the most famous city product, you have to know that the town on the other side of the river is not Porto, but a another city called Vila Nova de Gaia. Unless you decide to take a walk on the beautiful Praia das Rocas, you will hardly visit anything else of this city, in addition to the cellars. Do not be sad about it.
Nationalism is a must
The Portuguese are extremely nationalistic. You will notice it, for example, by the quantity of flags displayed or the obsession with buying only national products. In the wake of this obsession, which in reality is an act of love and trust towards one’s own country, constantly on the edge of the economic chasm, various stores have been created to sell only these national products. The most famous is A Vida Portuguesa that you will find at 20 of Rua Galeria de Paris, on the first floor of an old charming building. Take a walk and maybe buy something as a souvenir there, you will help the local economy instead of the Chinese one.
Porto: the authentic taste of Portugal
Porto is for some years one of the most popular destinations and now that I’ve been there I understand why. It is a authentic city, nestled in the hills, with a riverfront that separates it from another city full of Port wine cellars, with a gigantic and strange bridge, with trams that clamber up and down, wonderful museums, lots of modern architecture, beaches and sea just a stone’s throw away, all with a unique atmosphere and the authentic taste of Portugal. As if all this were not enough, it is a particularly economical and accessible destination and has become even more so since it is connected to low-cost flights. The only shadow that remains to me on this city is to understand why someone obstinately calls it Oporto and not Porto.
Have you ever said Porto? Not me! I always called it Porto and I always thought that Porto was the Portuguese name. Mistake! The correct name in Portuguese is Porto. So “Oporto” from where does it come out? It seems that it is all a linguistic misunderstanding that derives from a misinterpretation of the Portuguese “o Porto” that foreigners have misunderstood in Oporto. And so Oporto is used in English to indicate the city of Porto. However, I would say that it is the case to abolish Oporto and pass all to Porto, what do you think? But let’s go on…
There are plenty of things to see in Porto. So I point out those that are the main attractions that I think you should visit in the city. And since I cannot choose the one I liked the most, I list them in an order that will be chosen scientifically by chance.
Special City Guide: Porto
Porto is Portugal’s second city, a major commercial center and capital of the industrious northern region. Its inhabitants like to repeat an old saying: “Braga prays, Coimbra sings, Lisbon has fun and Porto works.” Yet like other energetic second-cities, from Manchester to Milan, Mumbai to Shanghai, Porto has developed a reputation for playing as hard as it works. In recent years, the city has taken off as a center of the arts, fashion and nightlife. The expansion of its airport to take direct flights from North America and low-cost hops from dozens of European cities has opened it up to tourism. Atmospheric, but run-down old neighborhoods are getting a facelift. Swish accommodation options are springing up across the city. Hip new restaurants and bars rival those in the capital. Modern architectural landmarks and cultural hubs like Rem Koolhaas’ 2005 Casa da Música or the Serralves art center designed by hometown boy Álvaro Siza Vieira are internationally renowned. In late 2016, Serralves became the permanent home of a major collection of works by the Spanish surrealist master Joan Miró after a public outcry prevented their sale abroad and 2017 saw the opening of a fancy new gourmet market in the 100-year-old, azulejo-clad São Bento railway station. Also in 2017, Vogue opened the first Western European branches of its super-chic cafe chain in Porto and Berlin, much to the chagrin of the Lisbonites.
Despite all this activity, Porto keeps its timeless charm. The windows overlooking narrow streets of the riverside Ribeira district are still hung with washing out to dry; restaurants serve gargantuan plates of beans and tripe; and across the river, in the wine lodges of Vila Nova de Gaia, countless oak barrels still hold their hoard of silently maturing port wine.
Seeing the sights of Porto requires some legwork, but your discoveries will compensate you for the effort. The tourist office suggests that you take at least 3 days to explore Porto, but most visitors spend only a day. For those on a short schedule, the most famous things to do are visiting a wine lodge at Vila Nova de Gaia; taking in the panorama from the Torre dos Clérigos, with its view of the Douro; visiting the Sé (cathedral); strolling through the most important museum, the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis; walking through Ribeira, the old quarter; and, if time remains, seeing the Church of São Francisco, with its stunning and richly gilded baroque interior.