In the lobby of The Yeatman, a hotel with over 27,000 bottles of fine wine in its cellars, stands the naked figure of a man. Not, as one might expect of a ‘wine hotel’, an intoxicated guest, but a statue of the Roman god Bacchus. Also known as Dionysus, he is the god of the grape, and the subject of worship for thousands of years. Here, his third and perhaps most likeable alter ego Eleutherios (‘the liberator’) symbolises exactly what the hotel aims to offer guests; freedom, uninhibited enjoyment and a healthy serving of hedonism.
Located on the south side of Portugal’s Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia, The Yeatman is technically not in Porto. As a result, an oft-used, tongue-in-cheek local saying that translates (loosely) as, “the only reason to cross the river is to see the view from the other side”, no longer applies. While Porto’s picturesque beauty and cultural significance is such that its historic centre is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Yeatman has become a destination in itself, with stunning views from every one of its northern-facing rooms that overlook the city’s architecturally rich bridges, colourful facades and sun-baked rooftops.
Should your sense of adventure get the better of you, however, at the bottom of the hill The Yeatman resides upon there is a river taxi that transports you to São Nicolau. Here, you can watch the catch of the day go from the fishermen’s nets to the fridges of some of Porto’s best chefs and revel in the atmosphere of a city going about its business. Wander up the steep inclines of Porto’s cobbled streets towards the centre, and be prepared to repeat the journey before you find blink-twice-and-you-miss-it Taberna dos Mercadores, one of Porto’s most authentic eateries. The fresh seafood menu changes daily, so arrive early and settle into the intimate, bottle-lined space for generous portions of açorda de mariscos and freshly prepared dourada in a salt crust.