In Porto, a port city in northwestern Portugal, and the second largest city in the country, time seems to have no effect. In the heart of the city center, in a neoclassical building, Le Monumental Palace has chosen from Maison Albar to establish itself.
Guided tour with Katia Pellegrino in a city full of magic.
With its six bridges over the Douro River, fir trees, and colorful facades, magic is always there in Porto.
It is pleasant to stroll through its cobbled streets lined with old houses decorated with wrought-iron balconies and azulejos that remind us that we are in Portugal. They all lead to Douro, which is just a stone’s throw away.
This river meanders between the two banks of Porto, which is characterized by a pleasant and attractive atmosphere, as many tourists wander among the shops, Porto houses, cafes and restaurants.
It’s nice to sit on the pousada’s terrace on the sidewalk facing the historic center being warmed by the sun while tasting a finger of port. Then we let our gaze wander to Porto and its charming historic homes.
In the distance stand the Romanesque Cathedral and the Gothic Church of São Francisco, important stages for discovering the city.
Also worth a visit is the Neo-Gothic Palacio de Bolsa, with its large Arab hall in Gothic style, inspired by the Alhambra in Granada.
In addition to the Porto São Bento railway station, built at the beginning of the ninth century, which has preserved its hall decorated with more than 20,000 tiles representing the history of Portugal.
Huge mansion, art deco spirit
Listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1966, the massive palace is ideally located within its historic center, on the square where the renovated majestic Town Hall stands and a stone’s throw from Bolhao Market and the Dome Bridge. Louis
This legendary building from 1923 once housed a boarding house, then the famous Monumental Café before becoming this elegant 5-star hotel, behind its neo-Gothic facade.
Upon entering the hotel, one immediately notices the Art Deco spirit with its huge mirrors on either side accompanied by two onyx velvet sofas that invite the traveler to take a break.
The art deco staircase visible from the entrance hall with its black wrought iron arabesque decorations really sets the tone!
The decoration was handed over to the hands of the Oitoemponto agency, managed by two creators, the Frenchman Jacques Pic and the Portuguese Artur Miranda. They knew how to preserve the Art Deco style, adding the Art Nouveau spirit. Hence it revives the glorious past of this majestic building, a real meeting place in the time of elegant local society.
Warm colors, rich textures and noble materials such as copper and velvet create a refined and intimate atmosphere. Columns, high ceilings, white Estremoz marble and a black wrought iron staircase complete this style perfectly.
The spirit of elegance
Spirit can be found in the rooms and suites, with their warm French lifestyle. Decorated with great taste and a keen eye for detail, they harmoniously combine modern elements with classic touches.
Some suites have an evocative name such as Insensée, Excessive Double Suite, Affolante, or Monumentale
Plush rugs, with black and white prints, provide a plush effect, punctuating rooms in muted tones and shades of beige, blue, or black.
Already in the corridors, we notice the arched ceilings like those on the Orient Express and the leopard-spotted carpets covering the floor.
Gastronomy in the forum
The hotel’s two restaurants, each with their own personality, offer a different dining experience. Monumental Restaurant serves contemporary cuisine in an elegant and sophisticated setting, led by star-starred Chef Julien Montbabut.
He first worked at the Vendôme in Paris before coming to settle in Portugal. Its innovative and creative cuisine, based on fresh seasonal and local produce, highlights the gastronomic richness of the Porto region. Its menus are available in 10 or 14 dishes. Each is presented as a journey, highlighting the richness of a dish or region and accompanied by a carefully selected selection of local and international wines.
Then we taste Guimares green asparagus, nettles and anchovies, John Dory, accompanied by onion and sorrel, or goat flavored with hay, well presented in a transparent box, covered in smoke that evaporates as soon as the lid is opened. A dessert trio will punctuate this star-studded gourmet festival!
We’ll end the evening in the American bar or in the beautiful library with its 3,500 old books for a final quiet drink.
Yakusa, Japanese cuisine with a Brazilian influence
After a cuddly night among the fluffy sheets, breakfast on the mezzanine is a good time.
The day will be spent strolling and discovering this charming city and will end at Spa Nuxe.
A beautiful swimming pool to relax with a refreshing massage to enjoy a new evening this time at Yakuza restaurant,
Its decoration is a subtle blend of contemporary design mixed with Art Nouveau.
World-renowned Portuguese chef and entrepreneur, Olivier da Costa, after his first collaboration with Hotel Vendôme in Paris, moved to Monumental Palace with an exclusive restaurant concept. He has revolutionized places and trends to offer a unique culinary experience, Japanese cuisine tinged with Brazilian influences.
His bold creations are as striking as they are refined and contemporary, you can also sample fish tacos, gyoza, sausages or sashimi prepared in the traditional or revisited way, gunkan…a feast for the eyes and pupils!
by Katya Pellegrino
Great location in the heart of the historic centre, you can easily walk around and get to the Douro, which is a 5 minute walk from the hotel.
Cozy, quiet and comfortable hotel.
Good point for its relaxing pool, its nice and relaxing spa, its library allowing for relaxing stops and its American bar to start or lengthen the evening, very fun and in the fifties.
The rooms are pleasant and bright and set in the quiet inner courtyard.
Breakfast is a must and it is taken on the mezzanine.
It’s nice to have two restaurants with different culinary offerings. The star-rated restaurant, Monument with head chef Julien Monbabot, is worth the detour. Count €110-140 for 10 or 14 dishes and worth testing, for a culinary trip to Portugal.
Yakuza Restaurant, meanwhile, offers a more exotic, yet wonderfully creative, take on Japanese dishes revisited.
This 5-star hotel is part of the Maison Albar Hôtels brand, which includes 7 other hotels. Emperor in Nimes, Victoria in Nice, Luxe Hills in Chengdu, Pont Neuf, Diamond, Champs Elysees and Vendome in Paris. All Leading Hotels members
Maison Albar is owned by Céline Falco (née Albar) and created in 2014 by Jean-Bernard and herself.