One look at the stunning decanter-shaped swimming pool (named one of the “12 Head-Turning Infinity Pools” by Condé Nast Traveler), is the first clue that the Yeatman hotel in Oporto, Portugal, is quite partial to wine!
The Yeatman, a Relais & Chateaux member, is the country’s first luxury Wine & Gastronomy Hotel, featuring the largest collection of Portuguese wines in the world. Nestled on a hillside amongst the Port lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia, each of the 67 guest rooms offers sweeping views of the Douro River and the picturesque city of Oporto.
The location is steeped in the history and tradition of the port trade which has thrived there for over 300 years. The goal of the hotel, according to General Manager, Miguel Velez, is to be the “ambassador of Portuguese wines for visitors from around the world”.
Everything at the hotel revolves around wine (a wonderful thing if you ask me!). Each of the guest rooms is named after one of the hotel’s Port producing partners (except the Presidential Suite entitled simply ‘Bacchus’). Every Thursday hotel guests and local residents may attend an ‘intimate’ dinner of no more than 50 guests, with one of these wine producers to enjoy a menu carefully designed by the chef to match the wines.
Beatriz Machado, the hotel’s Wine Director, is the attractive face behind the wine list that boasts over 80 Portuguese wines by the glass. The list is seasonal and changes four times a year to and categorizes the wines by insightful labels such as the ‘Groudbreakers’, the ‘Famous’ and the ‘Irreverents’.
The well-stocked, modern cellar holds 25,000 bottles and is open for 2 hours each afternoon to allow guests to meet with Beatriz or her head sommelier and find the perfect bottle to pair with their meal later that evening.
The wine theme also extends to the Caudalie Vinothérapie® Spa with treatments that include grape or red wine ‘barrel baths’ overlooking the Douro River, a ‘Winemaker’s Massage’ or the slimming ‘Crushed Cabernet Scrub’.
The hotel also focuses on gastronomic experiences to complement the wine offerings, so it is no surprise that their signature dining room, simply called The Restaurant, holds a Michelin Star. Chef Ricardo Costa is the youngest Portuguese chef in the country to have achieved such an honour.
After enjoying a refreshing white port cocktail on the expansive terrace as the sun set over Porto, we experienced Ricardo’s artistry first-hand. An imaginative, perfectly presented and exceptional six-course meal began with three unexpected amuse bouches and was interspersed with an unscripted ‘surprise’ course, as well as the popular ‘pre-dessert’.
The meal itself was the highlight, but some of the favourite dishes around the table were the mini macaroon stuffed with blood sausage, squid-ink ravioli filled with lobster, in a shellfish and curry sauce and the pork jarret, confit and glazed, with sautéed potatoes and jus – and let’s not forget the mouth-watering petit fours that we somehow found room to devour!
The Yeatman hotel is the epitome of sumptuousness and the ideal place to call home as you discover the wines and ports of the Douro Valley from the comfort of your chaise lounge.
The Yeatman Hotel
Rua do Choupelo (Santa Marinha)
4400-088 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
+351 22 013 3100
Note: Ryan will have a short review of the holiday wine experience in the coming week.