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Old Dec 23, 03, 10:53 am   #1
 
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Sheraton Porto, Portugal [Master Thread]

Planning a weeekend trip to Porto end of March en route to Cape Town for a week's holiday (long story, see the BA board LIS threads for explanation).

Only opened November, but asking here on the off-chance that someone has been to the Sheraton Porto Hotel...

Just called to book my free weekends, but have been told that the hotel is updating its system so the call centre cannot book reservations until after Dec 31st. If I were looking for a paid room, I could call the hotel, but for free nights it must be done via the call centre after 12/31.

This is somewhat annoying since this is a building block of what is turning out to be quite a difficult trip to organise and I was hoping to have it all finalised by the end of tomorrow.... frustrating.

...anyway, any reports from Porto?
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Old Dec 23, 03, 3:22 pm   #2
 
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The new Porto hotel had only been open for two weeks when I checked in on December 5th. I was eagerly greeted at reception, offered a glass of port, and introduced to the manager on duty. All were very happy to see a paying guest I guess. I was informed that only two of the hotels floors were open, the suites were occupied by the owner and his invited guests, and the club floor was not yet open. But, I was assured I would like my room. The guest service manager escorted me to my room which had a bottle of water and a bowl of fruit waiting for me (my platinum amenity). She was correct, the regular room was very nice and I was not disappointed. The room is done in dark wood… including one entire wall… and had the look of a W hotel or modernized Westin. The bed linen is from the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper line, but the mattress is VERY firm as were all of the mattresses I slept on in Portugal. The bathroom is the centerpiece of the room and is similar in design to the Westin Sydney. For those not lucky enough to have stayed at the Westin Sydney, as you enter the bathroom through a frosted glass door you see the vanity straight in front of you (modern, simple design with metal legs and high quality marble top). To the immediate right is a separate shower with large rain shower head. To the far right is the separate room for the toilet and bidet. Both of these compartments are of white marble and frosted glass. To your left are the bathtub and the window wall to the bedroom… with motorized mini blinds if you want privacy. The effect of this white marble/frosted glass bathroom lit with halogen lights is quite a sight from the bedroom. It seems to just float there.

When I returned to my room later in the evening the manager had left me a note that since the club floor and lounge were not yet open they would offer me complimentary breakfast in the main restaurant. I took advantage of this in the morning. It was a very nice spread. The croissants were flakey (buffet croissants usually suck), my made to order eggs perfect (great eggs in Portugal), decent sparkling wine, even a wood fired oven (I think they did the bacon in there).

I was so impressed with the hotel that I returned on the 7th for one additional night. An additional floor was now open and this time I was put in a suite located at the end of the hall thereby affording views in two directions (corner room). The bedroom/bathroom section of the suite was almost the same as a normal room, but the bathroom was slightly larger (2 sink vs. 1 sink vanity) with the entire wall between the bedroom and bathroom a window rather than 2/3 of the wall as in a regular room. The living room was ok with a couch, chairs and a dinning table plus desk, but the space was a bit awkward. Both the living room and bedroom also had a 37 inch flat screen LCD TVs mounted on the dark wood wall. The bathroom amenities were a giant leap up in the suite. The regular rooms have generic stuff in those hideous Sheraton bottles, but the suites had Agua de Loewe toiletries.

The hotels lobby and bar are also very modern in design and W Hotelish (minus the attitude).

My rate was 95 euros (don’t forget to add the annoying 1 euro UNICEF tax).

There were a few problems… My suite (I was probably the first guest in it) had a layer of construction dust on the windows. The hot water in both rooms smelled really, really bad. It was a solvent smell, not the water itself. This really cut into the enjoyment of the fabulous shower. I hope this is only temporary. The hotel is not in the old center of town, but about 2 or 3 km to the northwest (next to the Le Meridian). This is a bit inconvenient if you are a tourist. I took the city bus to the hotel and it took about 15 or 20 minutes from the Sao Bento train station.
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Old Apr 4, 04, 9:54 am   #3
 
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Very pleased in the end

Just to complete the loop on this, we had a very nice stay at the Sheraton Porto a couple of weekends ago. We had a regular room which was large and comfortable and precisely as schriste decribed.

Service was excellent and the hotel still had a very "new" feel with no spa services yet operating. It is a shame the hotel is not better located for the old town but it's close enough and there's a good bus service which the hotel was happy to help out with.

Thanks again to Lurker for sorting out the booking difficulties.
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Old Aug 25, 04, 8:14 pm   #4
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Where is the hotel located vis-a-vis the center of town? Is location an issue?
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Old Aug 25, 04, 10:27 pm   #5
 
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Originally Posted by prh
Where is the hotel located vis-a-vis the center of town? Is location an issue?
As I mentioned above, it is about 2 or 3 km NW of the center (Sao Bento railway station). I think the location is a bit inconvenient for a tourist, but there is bus service and of course taxis. It is a very nice hotel... and I would stay there again.
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Old Jan 8, 06, 10:42 am   #6
 
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Post Sheraton Porto hotel and Spa: THE place to be in Porto?! Pics&Review October 2005

For my pics see: http://www.e-traveller.net/pics/2005/opo-sheraton.php
Thanks to LH 738

The Sheraton Porto is a relatively new hotel in Porto. From the airport it was very easy to take the airport bus, which stops in front of the arrival hall. Upon request the driver stops in front of the Sheraton hotel. It was very easy and fast. In my opinion, no need for a taxi!
Another option would be the Metro from the airport, which is finished in a couple of months. Be aware you will have a 10 minutes walk from the Underground station to the hotel.

The hotel is centrally located between the beach ( f.i. Foz!) and downtown. I took the bus to the beach, just around the corner and almost in front of Le Meridien hotel. It takes only 10 – 15 minutes, the buses are clean, comfortable, fast and run very frequently. A ticket is appr. € 2,30 for a ride.
Porto downtown: the new metro system takes you there in 10 minutes. A return ticket costs appr. €2,30. Carriages are new, clean, modern and a great way to head for downtown. It is a 10 minutes walk to the metro station.

Check – in went smoothly, and I was happy I was upgraded to Club level on the high floors. My room was facing the sea.
Glass elevators take you up to the high Clubfloors.
Upon arrival in my room, there was no welcome card / letter of the manager, no small fruits, etc. It does make a difference as compared to other Starwood hotels. Though there was a very small bottle of (delicious ) port!

The interior of the room was modern, with lots and lots of the dark BROWN colours. The Philips flatsquare tv was one of the eye catchers of the room. The glass wall between the room and the bathroom was another.
No classic music was available, only to buy for some hours via the hotel program of the tv!

The bathroom was very comfortable with a large bathtub. The large shower was a big surprise. The oldish standard, oldish, unattractive Sheraton bath products were available in the clubrooms. No Molton Brown products or upgraded bathproducts in the Clubroom. There was no comb and no toothbrush available. (And yes, I just needed this stay one, since the battery of my electric one was empty!)
The bed appeared to be rather hard and uncomfortable.
No refreshment centre with coffee/tea machine was available in this Clubroom.

The view from my room was ok, on a clear day you could see the ocean from my room, albeit far away.

Club lounge was a disappointment. When I was there in the afternoon, no (soft) drinks, no coffee or tea, no English newspapers or magazines ( in Portugese only), no small fruits or snacks were available. It appeared to be desolated and I can understand why.
I did meet a Indian/English doctor who attended a conference here. He was quite disappointed and told me he had seen much better hotels. He complaint the personnel did not give him information concerning the facilities of the hotel and many of them speak no English... Furthermore he went with colleagues to the nearby Meridien hotel to dine and have a coffee.
In the evening there are drinks and some hot snack in this Club lounge. Selection of drinks are very limited, although the wine and port are of a very good quality. No personnel is available and it’s only self service here.
When the weather allows it, the terrace of the lounge is quite nice. I have had a nice drink here while watching a beautiful sunset.


I went to the Spa to make an appointment since they offered the Ayurvedic massage ( rate was €90). The interior of the Spa was nice. I was forbidden to take pictures with my camcorder. The manager of the Spa told me so, she could not allow it, regarding the privacy of the guests.
I told her I could understand, I did not want to take pictures of other guest. At this time there were no guests at all! However, I was still not allowed to take pictures. I had to ask permission of the general manager! I was embarrassed.
Before I wanted to use the Spa, I asked if they would show me around. I have seen very nice Spa’s in Starwood hotels around the world and in general they show me around. But not here! I could only see the Spa if I would pay for it! Even as a SPG Gold I had to pay for using the swimming pool and sauna. I did not like this at all. It seems so unfriendly to guests.

I only could use the fitness for free. The fitnessmachines, see my pictures, are very modern and easy to use. A friendly trainer is available and helps you when needed. I did like my workout here.

After my training I decide to have the Ayurvedic massage.
It appeared the Ayurvedic massage was a big disappointment. In no way it was a ayurvedic massage, I had several in the Sheraton Maurya (Delhi) Spa. I explained the details of Ayurvedic massage to the therapist, and she would ask her teacher from Brasil…..
Well, I was not very happy or satisfied to pay the €90,-- for this massage and felt somewhat deceived.
The facilities in this Spa were very nice, and I enjoyed the multi showers and different baths. The swimming pool is large enough for some good swimming and I enjoyed it a lot. Needless to say, I did not like the atmosphere of exclusiveness here since compared to other Spa’s around the world this Spa is not so special.

The first night I ordered dinner via roomservice. The dinner was not very special, the food had too much salt, portions were small. Service was ok.
Restaurant Porta Nova: opens late, at 20:00u. When I asked the supervisor concerning this she told me it was not late. When I told her I had dinner in general at 18:00 as many have in Northern Europe, she told me she would have lunch at that hour…..
The menu was very limited if you do not like seafood, as I do. Some of the waiters appeared not to speak English, which was quite confusing and annoying. The food was again too salty for me, and I did not enjoy it! At least the wines were very good.
Though the restaurant was almost empty, they located the guests in one section. During my meal it became more and more crowded in the area where I was having dinner. So, not a relaxing and peaceful meal for me. I did notice other guests asking for other seats in the almost empty restaurant.
Just in front of me, a Italian/Spanish couple was seated. She seemed to be an angry irritated young woman and did not want to have dinner, made unfriendly remarks to the personnel, showed an irritated face and attitude etc. etc.
After 10 minutes I decided to leave this place and I would not come back for dinner here!

Next day I tried the New York bar for a small dish. And boy, did I like it here. Personnel is very very professional and friendly. They showed a lot of patience with some difficult guests who were feeling really really important here. Nothing seemed to be too much for them! Even if those guests did not show any respect to them because they felt too important. They were serving with a smile.
They serve a very nice cappuccino here. Food was no too salty here and it had a good taste. I can advice the Tandoori meat with mintsauce, it is quite delicious. It reminded me of the mint sauce in the Sheraton Perdana Langkawi.
The bar has a nice terrace, and when the sun shines it is a pleasure to be here.
I felt at home here, in this New York bar of the Sheraton Porto. Usually I have my food in one of the several restaurants of the Starwood hotels, it is the first time I needed to go to the bar.

Breakfast was served in the Clublounge. Selection of food was limited. Service was very friendly and good however. I had one breakfast in the restaurant. The selection of food is large and of good quality.
The restaurant does have a terrace, it must be great to have dinner in summer here.
Preferred to go to club lounge for breakfast, because of the privacy and service here. There was a waiter, mr. Renato?, working here. He did his service with a smile and showed good service. It was a pleasure to have breakfast in the Clublounge.

It seemed, the Sheraton was The place to be these days in Porto and beyond, and it showed. The New York bar seemed to be packed in the weekends….

Reception, in general, seemed to have an attitude at first sight. But I must say, many of them are very helpful, friendly and give a good service. When I wished to extend my stay, mrs. Tania took care of the arrangements. She appeared to be persistent when the first attempts to contact the airline were not successful. I am very thankful for her shown service to me!
Concierge gives a good service. Reminds me of the one in the Sheraton Bandara Jakarta.

The Le Meridien hotel is located just across the street. They were renovating the hotel. The interior of the renovated rooms is classic an very, very stylish! Rooms seemed to be much smaller though. However, for the executive rooms no complimentary services were available and no executive lounge on these floors.

Would I go back? Yes for sure.
Why? The hotel is comfortable and service is ok.
However, it is clear the Clubrooms are not worth the extra money! They do not offer any extra comfort or extra services / benefits. And, except for the personal service during the breakfast, the Clublounge is a big disappointment.
The juniorsuites, on the highest floor have a private terrace. They seem to be more attractive than the Clubrooms.
When in March 2006 the Le Meridien is integrated in the SPG, I guess it would be a perfect opportunity to compare the hotels.

For my pics see: http://www.e-traveller.net/pics/2005/opo-sheraton.php
Thanks to LH 738
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Old Oct 21, 07, 4:57 am   #7
 
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Sheraton Porto Trip Report

MODS: I did do a search and found two threads on Porto, but couldn't tell if this belonged there or not. Feel free to do your MOD thing if you'd like and move it-I'll obviously defer to your judgment and apologize for any inconvenience.

My wife & I stayed at the Sheraton Porto over the last weekend in September (check in on 28 September for 2 nights). Overall, I was extremely satisfied with my stay, save for two things. However, there was one positive that I think made the stay worth it.

When we booked the trip, we had planned to meet one of my wife's friends in Porto and she was responsible for doing all the arrangements while we were there (tours, etc.). Unfortunately as of a few days before the trip, she hadn't come through with anything and we took over not really knowing anything about the place. Worked with American Express Platinum Concierge (which generally has been very helpful), but everything they could find was sold out. My wife's friend had the same luck when she finally decided to try. Ultimately, I was about to give up when I decided to call the hotel directly. I forget who I spoke with, but after a few minutes of explaining which rivercruise we wanted to do, etc., he called me back a few hours later and had us fully booked on one of the "sold out" cruises that we had been keen on going on. Interestingly, the price dropped over 20 EUR per person too! Needless to say, this left a very favorable impression on me about the hotel.

Hotel is beautiful, clean, modern, just not in the heart of the tourist part of the city. No big deal though, cabs were cheap. Check-in was smooth, save for not getting a platinum upgrade (paid reservation). When I inquired, the desk worker had to get a manager, who ultimately agreed to let us go to the club floor but that we couldn't access the club lounge. I protested and he agreed we could use the lounge. On a side note, our room upgrade was the same room we would have had, just a higher floor, so nothing special there. They did provide a bottle of port in the room and free water. I can't stand when rooms are available and they don't give the upgrade without getting pushed on it (I know from reading this is a common complaint at this hotel). Okay, after that and the fact they don't have the sheraton sweet sleeper bed, everything else was great. Free breakfast in the lounge was the way to go, including a hot buffet on a roof/balcony terrace on the top floor. free breakfast in europe saves a lot of euros from those overpriced hotel buffets! The bar at the hotel was really nice with live entertainment both nights and food/wine reasonably priced. The only other problem I had was at check-out--I got charged twice for my room (they charged me for my old room and the upgraded room) and someone charged parking to my room. After quite a hassle, they finally agreed to only charge me once, but getting the parking off took some arguing (I don't have a car!). Anyhow, I guess this is more of a mixed review, but I think I saw past the hassles and had a great stay, coupled with their help at the beginning of my stay. I would recommend this hotel but would caution you to just be ready for the upgrade game!
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Old Oct 21, 07, 10:44 am   #8
 
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Wow, what a difference from my stay in Feb. We were upgraded with no asking to a jr suite on the club floor (points stay). The club lounge at this hotel was great! Lovely breakfast, great cappacino machine, ok wine, and nice port (okay it is Portugal), in the evenings. Every staff member I encountered was friendly - even to my 8 year old. We really enjoyed both this really pretty hotel and its staff.
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Old Oct 21, 07, 1:54 pm   #9
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thanks for the property report, nice to know for the trip we are planning to Portugal.

What other activities did you guys do? Was the river cruise worthwhile?

--
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Old Oct 21, 07, 2:28 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by Sweet Willie View Post
thanks for the property report, nice to know for the trip we are planning to Portugal.

What other activities did you guys do? Was the river cruise worthwhile?

--

I enjoyed the river cruise, but it was an all-day affair and the "tour" of the port vineyard was a waste (we were there for about 30 minutes, tops and it was more to sell us on things). I would recommend that if you have a few days there, the cruise is the way to go--relaxing day to see the scenery and go through the lochs up the river, but if you were just there for a weekend, there's more to see/do in the city.
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Old Oct 23, 07, 4:57 am   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferndale View Post
Wow, what a difference from my stay in Feb. We were upgraded with no asking to a jr suite on the club floor (points stay). The club lounge at this hotel was great! Lovely breakfast, great cappacino machine, ok wine, and nice port (okay it is Portugal), in the evenings. Every staff member I encountered was friendly - even to my 8 year old. We really enjoyed both this really pretty hotel and its staff.
We stayed here in September and had a very similar experience : upgrade to a Jnr suite (though not on the top club floor), great hotel, super club lounge, good staff and a very nice breakfast.

If you haven't got a full day to do the long river cruise, then I would certainly recommend the Eur10 shorter cruise which takes about an hour or so to chug up and down the river under all the city-centre bridges on a traditional converted port barge : very agreeable when the weather is nice. Then that gives you PLENTY of time to check out all the port lodges on the south bank.
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Old Feb 19, 09, 6:01 am   #12
 
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Is the club lounge open on weekends here? Is there free Internet for guests on the club level? My last stay here was 3-4 years ago and my recollection of the club lounge was an empty room with one bottle of port and one heated dish of snacks. Quite depressing, but the hotel was very modern and nice!
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Old Oct 5, 09, 9:51 am   #13
 
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I just had a 2 night stay at the Sheraton Porto and thought I'd post on it since there hasn't been any recent updates.

Getting to the hotel: From the airport, the metro was very easy--nice 30 min above ground ride to Francos station. If you've never been there, you can either try to walk to the hotel or hope you can see a cab. Cabs in this area were limited and we got lost walking, but luckily hailed a cab after walking 20 min. When you exit the train station, make a right on Rua Travagem and then a right on Rua do Tenente Valadim--it's a 10 min walk once you figure out where you are.

The hotel is very nice once you enter. The glass elevators provide a nice ride to your floor and are very fast. Everyone spoke at least some English, and the staff was very friendly and helpful for places to go and eat--never once said "well we have the best food here."

Check-in was smooth and efficient. We were upgraded to a jr suite with a balcony. The jr suite was very nice and the huge balcony was awesome. It has a great view over the western portion of the city towards the Matosinhos. We were given two bottles of comp water and a small bottle of port. The balcony had two lounge chairs and a full recline deck chair. The bathrooms were very spacious. They have ESPN America on tv, so it was nice to catch a live college game when we got back to the room late sat night.

There is no free wifi, even in the club lounge, so you have to go down to the Sheaton link in the biz center right next to the check-in desk. They give your a card with a username and password good for 2 hours. There are no limits to how many you can have in a stay either.

The club lounge was very nice and open 7 days a week. They serve the same breakfast (eggs, bacon/sausage, pastries, etc) as the main restaurant, so might as well eat in peace if you can. The club floor wasn't full at all, so it was pretty nice to have the lounge almost to ourselves. They have beer (Super Bock), wine and port wine during the day and the evening snacks weren't bad at all. We were only asked a couple of times what our room number was and only at breakfast in that case. The lounge is wide open during the day, and only saw someone re-stock the beverages once and they just smiled and said have a nice day.

The hotel bar was nice and wasn't that overpriced. They have a live band every night of the week, however, if you get a drink, they charge each person a 2.50euro cover for them. The steak sandwiches were very good though.

The fitness center is free to use and has a trainer in there. We used the Spa the 2nd day and paid 10euro per person--I'm usually not into paying to use a pool and hottub, but this was VERY nice--for 10euro, you had use of the pool, the 5-way life-cycle spa tub (fantastic), the sauna, and steam room with 5-6 different types of rooms from herbal to steam to salt--definitely feel like we a got a spa treatment and for only 10euro. This was our mid-way point in the trip, so nice to relax for half a day.

The hotel seems to have its own unmarked taxis out front (new Mercedes--very nice), however, they seemed to charge a little more for a ride downtown the normal taxis. We went to do a Port wine tour, and instead of dropping off where we would only have a short walk to the winery, he drove all the way around two cities and ended up with a 17euro fare--should only be 6-7 MAX!! Other than that, the taxis downtown all knew where the hotel was and had many pick-up points--usually 5-6 euro ride from Riberia. You can easily wak 5-10 min to the Vila Nova De Gaia side over the bridge. Gaia is where all the port wine vineyards are located. The tours are free and only 30 min and you get 2 free samples before/after the tour--worth doing 1 or 2 of the 14 down there.

There is nothing to really do or eat by the hotel, so you will need to go downtown to Riberia or over to Gaia--wear you walking shoes, because this city is built on two hills on each side. Once down by the Douro (Riberia/Gaia) there are tons and tons of restaurants and bars--but one of the best and cheapest is on the Gaia side--called Bacalhoeiro--traditional seafood.

ATMs are very limited downtown, so make sure you have some Euros on you before you go, and honestly, very few places took credit cards down there as well. Make your way to the side-streets for cheaper drinks.
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Old Feb 25, 10, 9:48 am   #14
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What a fantastic property. This is now absolutely my favorite Sheraton property that I've visited (better than Prague or Poznan, which are both quite good). I had two rooms booked, one of which was upgraded to an Executive Suite. The check-in staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, and the location of the hotel was not really an issue (cabs in Porto are, as was said above, dirt cheap). Porto is an incredible city, and it didn't hurt that there was no shortage of excellent wineries and Tavernas to visit.

Below are some photos from the Executive Suite I was given:


Suite Bed

Suite Work Desk

Suite Dining Nook

Suite Living Room

Suite Bathroom

Suite Shower

View from Suite at Sunset

Beautiful Porto (taken from Gaia, about a 7 EUR Cab-Ride from the Hotel)
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Old Feb 25, 10, 10:11 am   #15
 
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I just returned from a stay at this property and was also ugraded to a great Executive suite. In addition to the 500 points Plat amenity I was given a bottle of Port. The breakfast in the lounge is excellent and all of the staff were great. I enjoyed this hotel much better than the Sheraton in Lisbon, which was fine but no where near as nice a treatment for Plat guests.
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