Porto is one of my ‘second homes’. When I’m there (relatively frequently..), I usually rent an apartment for myself via AirBnb.. although I now have a multitude of local friends and who are happy to house me whenever I feel like visiting again. Portuguese hospitality is truly some of the best in the world!However, last September I was able to spend a night at The Gallery Hostel, a super cool luxury and design hostel/art gallery that I’d heard so much about, especially from Kash who writes at The Budget Traveller. He calls it ‘possibly the best hostel in the world’.
It’s got a great location – near the centre, and most importantly, within short walking distance of the ‘baixa’ (downtown) where all the bars and clubs are. Ok fine, not MOST importantly.. but that IS rather important, right?
I love the building it lives in – one of those old ‘rich with history’ buildings. Big doors, high ceilings, wooden floors, wide staircases. It’s great!
^The hallway as you enter from the main door.
It’s only got a little reception area at the front. It is a city hostel and so it is generally on the small side, but charming. Like me, I guess. Haha!
The rooms are all upstairs; while the ground and lower ground floors contain the facilities such as the kitchen, lounge areas, and 24-HOUR BAR.
^Steps leading down at the back. It’s all in the little details! Imagine this at night with all the candles lit 😉
I would prefer if one of the pillows said ‘GO MAD’ instead.
^The birds face the seat so you can talk to them. But you’ll have to know how to speak bird.
If I remember correctly, they also offer port wine tastings for about €6-8, for a selection of three.
If they’d asked me to choose the colours for the pillows I think people would have to wear their sunglasses whenever they came down here.
^A cozinha (the kitchen). There are more tables and seating on the other side (unseen).
The morning after a really drunk night.. I came down here to get breakfast. There weren’t many people, – only a group of four or five plus a Portuguese woman who was working at the back. She didn’t speak much English and at the time, I only knew very rudimentary Portuguese (I have since much improved).
I couldn’t find anything. I asked her where the bowls were. They were on the table next to me. I asked where the cutlery was. Next to the bowls of course. Where’s the milk? Duh, on the next tray, in a bottle.
I wanted honey.
‘Do you have honey?’
She looked puzzled.
‘Tem (‘you have’ in PT).. err.. honey?’
She still looked puzzled. ‘Não percebo..’ (‘I don’t understand)
I start making buzzing sounds and flying hand gestures to indicate ‘bee’.
‘O que é??’ (‘What is it??’)
I get even more animated and poured imaginary honey into a bowl with my hand.
‘AI! MEL!!! Está aqui!’ (‘Oh! Honey! It’s here!’)
She points to it. It was on the counter. Not so far from right in front of my face. …
I apologise for my blindness. She smiles and tells me to relax.
And then it occurred to me –> ‘NOW I UNDERSTAND THOSE ‘RELAX’ PILLOWS OUTSIDE!‘, wishing I knew enough Portuguese to articulate this thought this to her.
Here are a couple of pics from the room I stayed in. I stayed in a girls-only 6-bed dorm with ensuite bathroom. Look how high the ceiling is! It was super comfortable and clean – beds were made, and sheets were smooth and of good quality.
I shared with an Austrian girl and.. sorry, I can’t remember the other one but she had been staying at the hostel long-term whilst studying something. There were only us three in the room 🙂
The Sunning Area
The exit at the back of the building brings you to a little walkway towards some stairs at the end.
On the left are windows of some of the private rooms you can book.
It’s only a little area once you get to the top of the stairs, but it’s good enough! Porto has lots of sunshine during the warmer months. I could just sit here soaking it all up, surrounded by Portuguese architecture, which I love and find very interesting. I would say ‘and make time-lapse videos of clouds’, but the sky is often a spotless blue in Porto 😉
^I came across some stray kittens under the roof. Meow!
There’s a room behind the 24-HOUR BAR downstairs that has a giant chess set! There are also guitars for you to play with.. movies to watch, art on the wall..
^Travel books, amongst others, in which you could indulge.
^A page from their guestbook. I see someone loved the fish? (‘Peixes’ = ‘Fish’)
Hey look, it’s Jasmin and José at the 24-HOUR BAR!!!
Jasmin is from Switzerland. She came to Porto some time ago, fell in love with it, and decided to stay. José is local and does African drumming. I learnt that apparently, African drumming is pretty popular in the city.
All the staff were so friendly and I wish I could’ve spent more time making friends there. Thank you so much guys… I had the most fantastic time albeit it was short. But I’ll be back in June!
The Gallery Hostel
222 Rua Miguel Bombarda
Happy Travels 🙂