The Yeatman Wine Lodge and Spa
New luxuy accommodation in Porto, Portugal

The Fladgate Partnership, which owns famous Port houses Taylor, Fonseca and Croft, is in the process of building an impressive luxury hotel and spa in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from the city of Porto.

Located in the traditional heart of the Port industry, where all the Port houses have their lodges, it occupies an enviable viewpoint just above the Taylor lodge, with spectacular views over the river to Porto. 

We visited the construction site, where it is already possible to see most of the structure in place. When the Yeatman is completed, in time for summer 2010, it will have 82 luxury rooms, each with its own private terrace looking out to the river and city. Each room will have a footprint of 40 m2, and the rack rate will in the region of €240 per room per night, depending on the season.

The rooms are effectively sunk into the hillside, and are spaced over five floors, descending from the reception at the top of the hill where guests enter. There is underground car parking, and the grounds incorporate extensive garden areas. As well as the swimming pool in the spa centre, there is also an outdoor infinity pool on the bottom floor, which has portholes in its sides, giving underwater views across to the city.

Fladgate Partnership MD Adrian Bridge (above) has overseen the project personally, and over recent years has submerged himself in the hotel industry in order to produce a design that is both practical and excitingly innovative. He has previous experience with the Vintage House Hotel in Pinhão, which Taylor opened in 1998 and then sold in 2002.

The Yeatman is spectacular in its conception, but it has been expensive to build. Overall budget has been €32 million, which works out at €400 000 per key: most hoteliers say that €240 000 per key is the right level for a luxury development such as this. Adrian expects to lose money for the first two years, but then make money after ten. 

Wine is a key focus to the hotel. Each of the 82 rooms will be sponsored by a Portuguese wine or Port company, and will be named after this company, as well as having decorations such as pictures provided by the sponsor. Each sponsoring company will have their wine on the wine list, as well as the option to run wine dinners (these are anticipated to take place every Wednesday evening). The cost for such sponsorship is €3650 per year, and Adrian says that 25 of Portugal’s leading wine producers are already on board at this early stage.

This project represents part of the larger move to regenerate Vila Nova de Gaia, the separate town that faces Porto across the river Douro. Vila Nova de Gaia, where the Port lodges have historically been located, is now looking a little scruffy and in need of a face lift. As Port companies relocate their winemaking and warehousing operations to out of town locations or the Douro itself, the opportunity is there to build tourism in this historic district.    

Below is a short film of the visit:



Introduction: visiting Taylor, Croft and Fonseca in Portugal's Douro
Taylor's Port, and Quinta de Vargellas
Fonseca's Port, and Quinta da Panascal
Croft Port and Quinta da Roeda
The Nogueira Winery: making Port
The Yeatman, a new luxury hotel in Porto
Photos from the Douro Valley, Part 5, Taylor's Vargellas and Fonseca's Panascal
Photos from the Douro Valley, part 4
Photos from the CDouro Valley, part 3, Croft's Quinta da Roeda, Douro

See also:

Photographs from Quinta do Noval
Photographs from Quinta do Noval's Nacional Vineyard
Tasting Noval Nacional and Vintage Port back to 1962
An older report on Noval's table wines
The new Douro (series)
Vintage Ports from 2007 assessed
Vintage Ports from 2003 assessed

Wines tasted as 09/09  
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