< PORTUGAL | PORTO: Grande Hotel do Porto
Designed by the Architect Silva Sardina, the Grande Hotel do Porto opened its doors in 27th March 1880. It was thought to be the first “Grand Hotel” in town with all the glory of the end of the century. Opposite to everything that was made then, the luxury of the hotel could be seen in many details of its interior decoration: the French mirrors, the golden florins, the sumptuous marble columns.
Along the years of its existence it was the set for many encounters of Porto’s high society. Politicians, writers, spies, war refugees, artist and nobility members have
passed through the Hotel along the years.
During the year of 1889 the monarchy fell in Brazil and Republic was proclaimed. Emperor D. Pedro II and Empress D. Teresa Cristina set forward to Portugal. On the night of December, 24 they arrived at Grande Hotel do Porto. They occupied the hotel’s entire 1st floor that was at the time, specially adapted to receive the Royal committee. During the time she spent in Porto, the Empress, that suffered from a sever heart condition, never left the room. She would die there only 4 days later, in the afternoon of December, 28. The bed of room 16, where the Empress past away, was bought by her husband D. Pedro II that left for Paris in the following days.
In 1934, Porto hosted the first big world exhibition made in Portugal – the Portuguese colonial Exhibition. For the opening, in 16th June, the Portuguese President at the time – General Carmona – came to town accompanied by many members of his cabinet. Many of this large party stayed at Grande Hotel do Porto and it was on this occasion that the Guest book was inaugurated.
On September 2nd 1934, Grande Hotel do Porto, received the visit of the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII. During his visit, the Prince of Wales was kind enough to honour the hotel guest book with a nice message. This book still exists in the hotel but the page written by the prince’s hand mysteriously disappeared. For this reason, the hotel has no formal record of the prince’s stay, only the story that has passed mouth to mouth by the staff until today.
Today, the charm of the past days can still be felt. The last refurbishment made in 2002, respected the classic features of the original model. The heritage of “Grand Hotel” is still visible in many details like its late Victorian facade and elaborate exterior detailing or many of the interior décor details.
With more than a century old, Grande Hotel do Porto is the oldest hotel still functioning in town. Witness of several decades, it reaches nowadays as a charming hotel, where detail makes the difference and where you will find cosy and relax environment to enjoy a good rest.
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