Ventozelo Hotel & Quinta

One of the last hotels I tried before Francisca was born but already pregnant was Ventozelo Hotel e Quinta.

An authentic refuge in the middle of the Douro and with probably, one of the most idyllic views over the river.

First Impression
Ventozelo is not just a hotel; it is even a farm that, after a careful transformation, gave rise to a luxury hotel, keeping the traditions and stories of the Douro and its people in every corner.

Upon arrival, we were received at a reception right at the entrance next to the car park – The Douro was already felt around us, and nature stood out without asking permission!

I want to bring to the attention of the staff answering the call at the parking lot that they made us park our car instead of letting us enter immediately. This caused inconvenience as we had to return to the parking lot after check-in to retrieve the vehicle. The parking lot was a bit far, and it was extremely hot that day, making it even more uncomfortable.

But mistakes aside, we were led to our room while we observed the calm environment around us.

I immediately realized that Ventozelo is the perfect place to escape everyday life’s usual hustle and bustle and completely disconnect. Every corner invites you to moments of complete leisure!

There are 29, and they are spread across the different buildings throughout the Quinta. Each of these buildings has been meticulously rehabilitated, maintaining the original design but gaining a new life with a touch of comfort wrapped in contemporary decor.

Thus, spread over houses or individual rooms – we have Casa do Feitor (5 double rooms plus one for guests with reduced mobility); Casa do Laranjal (5 double rooms); Balloons (2 independent rooms); Casa dos Cardanhos – where we stayed – (7 superior double rooms); Casa Romântica (house with a suite); Casa do Rio (house with 2 double rooms) and Casa Grande (6 superior double rooms).

Casa Grande has a private pool with a privileged view and is ideal for families or groups of friends.

While for example, Casa Romântica is the most charming and ideal spot for a getaway for two. In fact, I believe every room has a story to tell.

We stayed at Casa dos Cardanhos, in one of the elegant rooms. The decor is simple and minimalist, with comfort being the watchword. You can access a garden from the bedroom with one of the best views you can ask for – the Douro in its fullness.

The Quinta has a space where all meals are taken – the Cantina de Ventozelo, which serves as a restaurant (where all meals are served throughout the day) and wine bar.

This is where, in the past, meals were served to workers on the farm. Cantina de Ventozelo’s motto is to give life to local gastronomy and traditional Douro recipes with the signature of chef Miguel Castro Silva.

The ingredients are produced on the farm or by local producers – thus ensuring sustainability and almost zero ecological impact.

Here we had the opportunity to have breakfast with the four-legged guests who roam freely around the farm! A simple and tasty breakfast with minor timing errors that were quickly forgotten with the view of the Douro from the Cantina terrace!

Despite enjoying à la Carte breakfast, I was missing an excellent pre-covid Buffet (fortunately, they are back)! – It is essential to mention that we were at Quinta de Ventozelo in July 2020, so the measures were still significantly reinforced as we were at the beginning of the pandemic. And Ventozelo respected them perfectly, making us feel safe throughout our stay.

We also had the opportunity to taste the wines of the Quinta and have dinner in the Cantina, where the flavors of comfort and tradition gain a subtle signature touch, where the most important thing is not to compromise the region’s products.

Another place associated with gastronomy in Ventozelo is its small and lovely grocery store.

At Mercearia de Ventozelo we can find practically everything that we taste in the Cantina or that we observe on the farm. From wines, fruits, vegetables, olive oil and much more.

Strolling around the Quinta is one of the best activities you can do. The excellent Jardim dos Aromaswon me over and quickly became my favorite spot. Too bad the aroma felt in that place could not be translated into words.

You can start here, walk through the gardens, and visit the small chapel, wine press, and wine cellar.

The Quinta has 7 trails so that we can get to know in depth all the corners of this Douro refuge, including creating an app that guests can access on their mobile phones to be guided during their routes.

The Quinta also has an Interpretation Center, allowing us to better understand the Douro.

It is located in a building from the sec. XVIII, where we are invited to interpret the Douro territory, starting from Quinta de Ventozelo. Obviously, and being on a farm in the Douro, Wine Tastings are imperative. After visiting the Interpretive Center, there is nothing like tasting the flavor of all the history that has just been covered.

Another of the services that Ventozelo offers is the infinity pool with the Douro and its terraces as the horizon.

The pool and its beauty and location are undeniable. At the time of our stay, we were in the middle of a pandemic, so people who stayed in hotels at this stage did not leave them, not least because few activities were running in full outside the hotel at that time. So, all the guests were in the pool, something the hotel did not foresee. The number of sunbeds was minimal, and then chairs were scattered around the garden to relax while watching the Douro, which was not the ideal scenario at all.

Also, a less positive note for the fact that the pool area did not have towels there, so guests were obliged to go to reception to get them if the reception had forgotten to deliver them at the time of check-in! Which is what happened to us!

Well, let’s see, the reception was not that close to the pool, it was infernally hot, so the situation was easy to resolve, the pool bar employee contacted someone from reception to go to the pool to take the towel, simple! But it didn’t happen!

But, I understood, we had just been in the process of a pandemic, and the hotels had resumed their work, and everything was still a little confusing.

However, one certainty hangs in the air – This pool has probably one of the most idyllic locations in the world!

I believe more sunbeds and towels have now been taken care of, and the experience would have been perfect!

Unfortunately, this is one of the most significant national shortcomings, and in the most rural and inland areas, it is a problem we live even more intensely. There is a lack of human resources and also a lack of professional training. This is a shame because, at Ventozelo, friendliness and smiles are always present.

High note for the restaurant staff who took care of and were concerned about my diet due to the pregnancy!

It should be noted that the friendliness and care of the staff were constant. If this were combined with more people with different training, we would have perfect teams at Ventozelo and throughout our country’s hotel industry.

Now I promise to return soon, already with Francisca, to show her the charms of the Douro and the beauty of Quinta de Ventozelo.

Rooms from 185€
Quinta de Ventozelo, Ervedosa do Douro, 5130-135 Portugal

Photos: Flavors & Senses
Text: Cíntia Oliveira
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