Casa do
Conto

Boutique Hotel in Porto
From €98 per night

Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Room at Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto Bedroom | JO&SO
Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Sofia at Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO

A striking building with concrete suites and a mix of designer and period furniture.

Casa do Conto (The House of Tales) is located in the emerging Cedofeita area in central Porto. Its original concept was born in 2008 but unfortunately a fire destroyed the building in March 2009, but not the will to complete the project.

The House now stands fully rehabilitated, nestled between Casa da Música (Oporto’s Concert Hall) and Rua Miguel Bombarda, known to the locals as “the art galleries street”.

Awesomeness

Super interesting story behind the hotel.

Restored 19th century townhouse with great architecture and minimalist vintage interior design.

Spacious rooms with great beds.

Striking central staircase and grand mirrors.

Cozy living room and garden to chill after a day out exploring the city.

Delicious home cooked breakfast.

Bear in mind

Slightly outside of the historical centre but within walking distance to all major attractions.

If you’re sensitive to noise try to book a top floor or garden-view room.

Living Room at Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Living Room at Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Living Room at Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Flowers at Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Vintage Chairs at Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Ceiling at Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO
Casa do Conto Garden in Porto | JO&SO
Casa do Conto Bedroom in Porto | JO&SO
Casa da Musica in Porto | JO&SO
'Casa da Música' (1.6km) is a state of art concert hall designed by Rem Koolhaas.

Activities:

Boat trips
Guided tours
Historical sites
Museums/galleries
Nightlife
Shopping/markets
Tuk Tuk tours
Wine tasting

Local Action

Perfect for those who love art and culture, Casa do Conto is nestled just in between Casa da Música (Oporto’s Concert Hall) and Rua Miguel Bombarda, known to the locals as “the art galleries street”.

You’re within walking distance to the historical centre and all the best sights. The seaside neighbourhood of ‘Foz do Douro’ (5.7km) is a bit further but if you enjoy walking or cycling you’ll be in for a treat – walk by the river front until it meets the Atlantic.

Another 4km and you’ll reach ‘Matosinhos beach’ which is popular among surfers, with a few surf schools (we recommend Godzilla Surf’s Cool because our cousin owns it but also because it really is awesome) and restaurants/cafes with outdoor sitting.

If you’re looking for some post-dinner action head to the Rua da Galeria de Paris (2km), where bars and party goers fill the streets until the early hours.

Foz do Douro, Porto, by JO&SO: Off the Beaten Track with Condé Nast Traveller.
Ribeira in Porto | JO&SO
Ribeira in Porto | JO&SO
The river fronted neighbourhood of 'Ribeira' (1.6km) is a must-do in Porto. Enjoy one of its many riverside bars and restaurants and take a '6-bridges cruise' along the River Douro.
Ribeira in Porto | JO&SO
Ribeira in Porto | JO&SO
Cross Dom Luís bridge and go wine tasting at one of the many lodges. From this side of the river, you have an awesome view over Ribeira.
Livraria Lello in Porto | JO&SO
Livraria Lello in Porto | JO&SO
'Livraria Lello' (850m) built in 1906, has been considered one of the world's most beautiful and iconic bookshops.
Vida Portuguesa Shop in Porto | JO&SO
Vida Portuguesa Shop in Porto | JO&SO
'A VIDA PORTUGUESA' - A STUNNING SHOP SELLING GENUINE PRODUCTS OF PORTUGUESE DESIGN.
Cantina 32 Restaurant in Porto | JO&SO
Cantina 32 Restaurant in Porto | JO&SO
'Cantina 32' (1.3km) not only looks cool but also serves delicious international and Portuguese dishes. Try Porto's typical dish 'Bacalhau à Braz', ours was perfect.
Serralves Museum in Porto | JO&SO
Serralves Museum in Porto | JO&SO
'Fundação de Serralves' (4km) is a world-class contemporary museum set in a gorgeous park with interesting sculptures.
Foz Pergola in Porto | JO&SO
Cafeina Restaurant in Porto | JO&SO
Head to 'Foz do Douro' (5km) and chill at one of the beach bars. Nearby is 'Cafeina', a fancy restaurant in a beautiful old townhouse serving European food with a Portuguese touch. Booking is highly recommended.
Salto o Muro Restaurant in Matosinhos | JO&SO
Salto o Muro Restaurant in Matosinhos | JO&SO
For genuine fresh seafood head to Matosinhos (10km) which is a key seaport. Streets are packed with typical restaurants. 'Salta-Ó-Muro' is one of our favourites. They don't take bookings so get there early to avoid the queue.

We interviewed Alexandra, owner and architect of Casa do Conto.

Alexandra Grande from Casa do Conto | JO&SO

"...one week before launching, there was a huge fire and everything disappeared within 12 hours."

– Alexandra, Owner
Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO

The fire that (nearly) destroyed everything

The hotel was originally meant to be a perfectly restored 19th century townhouse, with only a few modern touches to offer more comfort.

Old Stairs Casa do Conto

Stairs Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO

The staircase – then (2008) and now

How did you come up with the idea to start Casa do Conto?

I was already working in the field of reconstruction of both 18th and 19th century townhouses. As the identity and the spirit of these types of houses were so close to my heart, I bought one when the right opportunity arose.

The house was meant to be a project for a client but he pulled out for personal reasons and that’s when I thought that this was the right house for what I wanted to do. The location is a bit unusual but it’s central and I like that. It’s more surprising.

In 2008, we bought the house and made a few adaptations to turn it into a boutique hotel, maintaining most of its original antique elements and introducing a few modern touches to offer more comfort. The house was amazing, all lined in riga pine and genuine stuccos… but in March 2009, one week before launching, there was a huge fire and everything disappeared within 12 hours.

When you saw the building on fire, do you remember what was the first thing that crossed your mind?

It was awful. I live nearby and it was 3am when my neighbours warned me saying the hotel was on fire… after that I can’t remember anything else, not even getting dressed, which I did. I picked up the hotel keys and ran down the street. I remember seeing fire-fighters and police everywhere. The city had stopped because of the fire which also affected the houses next to it. I went crazy and I even tried to get in, thinking that I could do something about it. They had to put me inside the bakery right opposite the building with a glass front. From there I watched the house disappearing. It was a sensation of despair. I wanted to get in but I couldn’t. At the same time I was thinking of what was coming next and of my financial situation.

I was still hoping that some of the structure had survived. The fire lasted from 3am until midday the day after and when they finally let me in, I understood it was gutted inside.

I will never forget that day. That day has a before and an after in my life.

When you first saw the fire did you think at any point that that was the end of the project?

Watching it all burn down was very traumatising. I thought the project couldn’t die like that. No one got physically injured but I had a 6-7 year investment ahead of me and I had to make a decision – would I live the rest of my life with this anguish of driving past the house every day and seeing the unfinished project, or to turn this into a page of the process?

Now I think that what saved me from going crazy, was to begin working on a new solution straightaway. Although that was a little crazy itself because I did not even have any money to do the work, I did not even know how I would pay what I still had left to pay… it was as if they were two realities. It was almost as if I needed a dreamy reality to endure the truth, and the truth is that it all ended up unfolding.

When the fire-fighters finally let me get in, I took a photograph which for me was a crucial moment in the new project. The photograph was of the only wall that was left in the staircase. It was then that I had a vision of the two towers, the slabs and the new staircase, in the same location as before the fire.

"I will never forget that day. That day has a before and an after in my life."

– Alexandra, Owner
Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO

Both the new staircase and the skylight have been left in the same place where they used to be

Reproducing everything in the original materials would be way too difficult. The concrete also works like a fossil, ‘subtly leaving some memories of what the house used to be’, such as the pattern on the walls which match those of the previous wood.

Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO

The iconic typographic ceilings

Alexandra invited architects and friends who knew the house before and after the fire, to write some texts inspired by the project. Those texts were then graphically composed by R2 Design.

Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO

Example of a ceiling detail

Why concrete as the main material?

I knew it all had to be made in new materials. It made no sense to reproduce what was here before which would have been too expensive to do anyway. I wanted to keep the proportions and the ways to walk through the house. I kept the staircase and the skylight. The concrete works like a fossil, subtly leaving some memories of what the house used to be.

When I had the vision I knew I was going to use reinforced concrete. My company is called ‘Pedra Liquida’ which means Liquid Stone. It has to do with concrete, on how a stone can somehow be liquid and become whatever we want it to be, despite the hardness and the seriousness of the stone. So concrete it was, without the previous coatings and decorations that existed.

Where did you get so much willpower to start all over again?

The process after the fire was very interesting. I could feel that our friends were around us. They supported us and showed us they cared. On the day that we were meant to launch they got together and organised a symbolic auction where a lot of people donated art pieces. Their aim was for me not to give up and that was amazing. We received pieces from Siza, Souto Moura, Cabrita Reis… incredible stuff. The auction happened and the money was symbolic but it inspired me to not let the project fall through and to start a new chapter.

After the fire, how long did it take to get everything ready again to open?

It took a year to get all the licenses in place again. It was hard to get the approval to build in concrete. In May 2010 we started the construction works and in June 2011 we opened.

It was a great moment because the team that worked with me on the construction had worked so hard. It was also their project and they had also felt the loss.

A few years ago a guest who collects boutique hotels wanted to buy Casa do Conto. It was a good business opportunity but it’s like selling a son that got into trouble and you managed to save. It’s here, it’s done, it survived and it’s doing well.

You were one of the pioneers when it comes to boutique hotels in Porto…

In 2007 when I decided to buy the house to start a hotel, the tourism boom that Porto is experiencing still hadn’t started. We were somehow pioneers and maybe nothing happens by chance – after all, now there are many boutique hotels similar to what I was originally going to do and what we have now ends up being original and unique. There’s always another side to a story.

The typographic ceilings in the rooms are original and striking. How did that idea come up and how is it done?

I decided to invite some architect friends to write some texts about the house. They knew the house before the fire and what happened. And then I invited R2 Design, a design studio that I love, to work on the typography composition. The work they produced was incredible. Somehow through the texts we end up telling a small story.

Was there any furniture in the house when the fire happened?

Yes, everything was gone from furniture to lamps… that was really hard on me because there are some things I’ll never find again. I love collecting stuff. I like the eclectic mix which ends up being a reflection of ourselves and our lives. We keep some things in our memory and others in things from our everyday lives. I always wanted a house to be like that, like the overlapping of different times.

"I love the mirror which is in the entrance, facing the staircase. It belonged to my grandfather."

– Alexandra, Owner
Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO

Favourite Object

Alexandra’s favourite object in the house is this vintage mirror which belonged to her grandfather.

Design Boutique Hotel Casa do Conto in Porto | JO&SO

What’s your favourite object in the hotel and where did you get it?

I love the mirror which is in the entrance, facing the staircase. It belonged to my grandfather.

The mirror and the piano survived the fire because they were the hardest things to carry. We were going to move them at the very end.

This is an unusual street to open a hotel but reading the reviews about the hotels it seems like the guests like that. Can you tell us more about the location?

The fact we’re located in Rua da Boavista, which is also my neighbourhood, allows us to still be central but not in the middle of the hubbub. We’re also near ‘Casa da Música’ and ‘Serralves’ which are both art institutions that I deal with and that I like. We’re near Boavista and near Baixa but not within the touristy route.

Why the name Casa do Conto (The House of Tales)?

That was the original name. We never imagined in a million years that the first story we would have to tell would be our own story!

Since the beginning we wanted to organise cultural events, to tell people new things. We not only receive guests but we’re also a house open to culture.

Where do you tend to go on holiday and which hotels do you stay in?

I don’t have much time for holidays. I like the beach but because I’m a bit hyperactive I can’t bear being somewhere looking at the sea or the countryside for more than 3 days, it makes me a bit nervous. I need the cultural side, the city, the art shows…

What’s your favourite hotel worldwide?

There was a small hotel where I stayed in Sicily. Back then, I would never have imagined I’d end up running a hotel myself. It was a really small house on the top of a mountain with a sea view. It was very connected with the geological aspects of the islands, its views and the people that look after it. I believe it was then that the seed to start a hotel was planted in my brain.

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Rua da Boavista 703
4050-110 Porto
Portugal

 

Location

Casa do Conto is located in the emerging Cedofeita area, in central Porto, within walking distance to all major attractions.

By Air

The closest airport is Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro airport. From there you can take a taxi, metro, bus or hire a car. The hotel can arrange a transfer.

Porto (OPO) – 14km
Lisbon (LIS) – 307km
Faro (FAO) – 550km

By Metro
The nearest station is Carolina Michaelis (280m).

By Train
The historical São Bento Train Station is 1.8km from the hotel.

By Bus
From the airport, take the bus 601 towards Cordoaria (last station). Exit at Boavista-Casa da Música stop and go towards Boavista Roundabout, turn left and go around the roundabout until you find the Rua da Boavista.

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