Looking for the perfect place to stay in Portugal’s famous wine region? Be sure to check out this excellent Douro Valley hotel!
*This post was not sponsored by Casa Cimeira and my opinions are entirely my own. However, it does contain affiliate links. That just means that if you happen to click on one of those links and end up making a purchase, I make a small commission (and you will have made my day!)
Douro Valley Hotel Review: Casa Cimeira
Portugal’s Douro Valley: a land of centuries’ old terraced vineyards, idyllic river and rolling hill views, a region that revels in tradition and the “old ways” of winemaking, and the home of the world’s most famous dessert wine: Port. Douro is a non-negotiable part of every vino-loving traveler’s Portugal itinerary.
If you want to visit Portugal’s famous wine region, you have a couple of options: stay in a hotel in Porto and take a much-too-short day trip to the wine region via a Douro Valley tour, missing out on much of what the place has to offer. OR….you can stay in the region itself. My two cents? Do the latter.
Staying in a Douro Valley hotel lets you wake up to the sun rising over those vine-covered hills and home-cooked Portuguese breakfast, instead of just spending a few hours away from the city. It’s worth escaping the hordes of tourists in Porto and having the time to get to know the locals who make Portugal the hospitable country that it is. And it’s definitely worth being able to leisurely drink all the port and relax on the river and take in the Douro sunset without rushing back to your Porto hotel.
So now that I’ve convinced you to spend a night (or several) in the Duoro Valley, it would only be fair to recommend WHERE you should stay! If you are planning on splurging on your Douro Valley hotel, you have lots of options; the region is filled with luxurious, high-end Quintas and inns. I, however, did not want to blow our entire Portugal budget on our Douro Valley hotel. I wanted somewhere authentic, comfortable, conveniently located, but reasonably priced.
I stumbled upon Casa Cimeira on Booking.com, and when I booked it, part of me thought it must be a scam, that there was no way it was going to be as lovely as it looked for the price they were charging. Fortunately, the skeptic in me was completely wrong – Casa Cimeira blew all of my expectations completely out of the water.
Casa Cimeira is a historic Portuguese home perched on top of one of Duoro’s many hills. Like every road in the region, the route there is steep, winding, and filled with incredible views.
When you check in to most accommodations, you’re welcomed with a “here’s your key, your room number is X. Have a nice stay!” But that kind of efficient and impersonal greeting isn’t done here. At Casa Cimeira, Paulo poured us a glass of his homemade port, sat down with us and chatted for a while about the farm.
Paulo and his brother Miguel were gifted the property when its last owner passed away. Since both of them have careers and homes of their own, they turned Casa Cimeira into the farm stay that it is now. Miguel does all of the cooking (more on that later) and day-to-day management of the business (with help from his adorable grandmother). Paulo is a winemaker and assists with guests when Miguel isn’t around. It’s truly a family-run establishment, and the care they have for every guest who comes through their doors is obvious (starting with that first glass of port!)
Then we got a full tour of the property. Which, with it’s orange and lemon trees, vine-covered arbors, white-washed walls, and terra-cotta shingles, is Portuguese perfection.
There’s the main building, with the family-style dining room, where we’d have breakfast each morning. There’s the high-ceilinged living room, equipped with luxurious leather couches, a fully stocked (with their own wine) wine bar, and a wood fireplace (which must be lovely in the winter). The outdoor pool is surrounded by fruit trees, azaleas, and grapevines, with panoramic views of the Douro Valley.
The building across the courtyard from the dining room is where several of the bedrooms are; Paulo showed us each of those so that we could decide which one we wanted to stay in. That’s right, we got to pick our room. Each option we saw was equally lovely but totally different from each other. There was the room on the top floor with its own balcony and private hallway entrance. Another was on the bottom floor, made cozy by virtue of the low lighting and plush carpets and room dressings. While we would have been happy in any of the rooms, the one we chose won us over with its private courtyard access. But despite their differences and the home’s historic feel, each room is equipped with Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, and air-conditioning.
Casa Cimeira was the first stop on our week-long trip to Portugal, and when we arrived there after a long day of flying from Washington and driving in a foreign country, we had no interest in going back out and finding dinner. Fortunately, we didn’t have to. Miguel suggested we join him for dinner, and that sounded just fine to us.
Little did we know that Miguel serves a 3-course meal complete with wine pairings for all the guests every night. It’s optional, but it’s only €20. And that meal was one of the best we had during our entire trip.
Are you drooling yet? I know I am just by writing this post! But the best part about the meal was getting to meet the other guests. Such as the French family on vacation, the Norwegian man on a business trip (who stays at Casa Cimeira at least once a year), the Canadian who just bought a vineyard in Douro, and the couple from Atlanta, Georgia who just moved to Lisbon. It was unlike any experience we could have had in a regular restaurant (or a normal hotel, for that matter).
We were only able to spend two nights at Casa Cimeira, but if we ever make it back to Portugal, we’d happily spend a week here!
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