Call this a “mini” trip review. I had a business trip to Lisbon last month. I folded in a personal one-day trip to the Azores. On the way, I had a brief stop in Porto. The Sheraton was my choice as I was trying to finish up 100 nights at SPG properties in 2018. Due to changes in the loyalty program because of the merger with Marriott, an unattainable (at least for me) spending level will be instituted going forward. So, this looked like my last chance to earn a year of Ambassador service.
Arriving At Sheraton Porto
I landed at Porto Airport (formally known as Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport) very early in the morning. Uber is readily available in Porto. Approximately 10 minutes after requesting a car I was on my way to the heart of the city. The Sheraton Porto is roughly a 15-minute drive from the airport. The hotel is located a short cab ride from the heart of downtown. It’s a bit of a long walk, but there’s also a light rail system that has a station not far from the hotel.
A tall, glass building, the hotel has a contemporary look as you approach. While the Sheraton brand may be inconsistent in the United States, you’ll find some pretty decent properties overseas. The Sheraton Porto is an example of this.
The past few years I’ve maintained Starwood Preferred Guest’s highest level of status. One of the benefits of that status level is called Your24. Your24 allows you to request a different check-in time instead of the standard check-in time. In this case, since I was arriving early in the morning, just prior to 7am, I requested an early check-in. Unfortunately, there was no room available at 7am. However, the front desk agent assured me they would work to get a room ready as soon as possible. They stated the hotel was full from the previous evening.
I’m sure the hotel would have let me take a shower in the fitness center. I had a bit of work to get done and chose to hang out in the lobby. The lobby is expansive with plenty of different seating areas and even a pool table as you head towards the lounge area. Once I got my work done I closed my eyes for a minute….and woke up 2 hours later. At around 10am I checked with the front desk and they did have a room ready.
The hotel had assigned me a room on one of the Sheraton Preferred Guest floors, though not on the same floor as the club lounge. A glass-enclosed elevator whisked me to my floor. The rooms were very nice, as expected.
Upon entering, there was a sizable bathroom to my right. The bathroom had a huge bathtub and wonderful rain shower. There’s a separate room for the toilet and bidet. Similar to other Sheratons I’ve stayed at overseas, the wall between the bathroom and the bedroom is glass. Not the perfect scenario if you have kids and want some privacy in your room. But, I love natural light, especially in the bathroom. A set of blinds in the double-paned glass solves both problems.
The bed is a platform bed, though very comfortable with plenty of pillows. Bedside you’ll find controls for the lights and the window blinds. There’s a new flat-screen television over a cabinet with the minibar and safe, though I’d recommend a stroll around the beautiful city of Porto instead of watching TV. Thankfully, the hotel has a proper desk for working as well.
Located in the basement of the hotel, the fitness center and spa are combined into one facility. Hotel guests have free access to the fitness center but access to the pool/spa area comes with a fee. The fitness center is open 24 hours and well-equipped for a workout.
Located on one of the top floors of the hotel, the club lounge is available for all eligible SPG (ahem, Marriott) elite members. The lounge was empty when I stopped by late morning. The lounge had a pretty decent continental breakfast spread out as well as a specialty coffee machine and a refrigerator with bottled beverages. All in all, a pretty nice spread. And, the lounge had an outdoor terrace area, a perfect place to hang out and drink some coffee in the morning.
Interestingly, the hotel gave me breakfast in the restaurant as well as access to the club lounge. I’m not sure if this is standard practice or not. It hasn’t been my experience at other European Sheraton hotels. The breakfast restaurant served a sizable buffet with an omelet station, fresh juice machine and plenty of variety.
The Final Two Pennies
I only had one day in Porto so I didn’t spend much time at the hotel. The staff I encountered were all exceedingly friendly. The hotel was very clean and in great shape. My room was a perfect example of a pleasant European Sheraton. Maybe just a notch below the lovely Sheraton Grand Salzburg we stayed at a few years ago.
The Sheraton Porto is a Category 4 hotel, which means an award redemption will set you back 25,000 Marriott Rewards points per night. When the new peak/off-peak tiers go into effect in 2019 the hotel will range between 20,000 and 30,000 points per night.
There are other choices to redeem your Marriott Rewards points in Porto. But, you could do a heck of a lot worse than picking the Sheraton Porto. The rooms are a decent size, especially by European standards. The bright, clean hotel and pleasant staff make it a good choice when traveling to Porto.
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