Set in a village high up above the River Douro and surrounded by steep-sided vineyards and with views down to the river and up to mountains, this mansion is a very special place to stay. The building and furnishings are exquisitely authentic. You could be forgiven for thinking you had travelled back in time 200 years or had stepped on to a Portuguese period drama film set. I concur with all of the positive reviews on here and my personal photos look just like the ones posted here so rather than bore you, I’m going to tell you about the secret passage and Sónia.
Secret passage? Really? Yes! Next to our bathroom door was the door to a cupboard. I noticed that there was another door at the back of that cupboard, reminding me of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Intrigued, I squeezed past the spare bed and went through that door into a bigger, dark room. There was yet another door to my left. Opening this one revealed a heavy red curtain. I parted the curtain and, WOW, found myself in the mansion’s chapel, complete with wooden carving and a gilded altar. We’ve stayed in many a place over the years but a secret passage from the bedroom to our very own private chapel was a whole new thing for us.
The star of the Torres de Oliveira experience is without doubt Sónia who couldn’t have been more helpful. In fact she was so omnipresent from morning til night that we started to think that she might have been one of triplets. Thank you, Sónia, for your commitment. One last word to those of you readers who prefer to stay in a modern, state-of-the-art hotel with fast, reliable Internet and a TV in every room: this place is not for you. This is an old mansion with character and atmosphere and, as such, is very good value.