Douro Valley – Casa do Sao Miguel do Douro
Getting to the Casa do Sao Miguel do Douro may not be the easiest thing in the world – there are some VERY narrow throughways and the signage just sort of stops – but the trip is well worth it. Once you arrive you will be rewarded with the smiles of one of the nicest people you will meet. We didn’t get her name, and she doesn’t speak English, but her smile and gestures said it all. She rescued us from out in front of the house and walked our car to the proper entrance and showed us where to park. She didn’t even ask our names, but somehow knew who we were and showed us directly to our room.
At first glance I wasn’t super excited about the room. The bedspread seemed a bit dated as did the upholstered headboard. But as I settled in to the space I found myself being charmed and feeling very at home amongst the white painted stone walls, the wood ceiling and the wide open windows that look out upon the vineyard. Our guide soon took us around the property, here’s where breakfast is served (8-10), here is pool number 1 and pool number 2. There’s no wifi or anything else, so with this said our guide left us to our own devices.
Several things you should know. On Booking.com it stated you can get dinner if you ask. And while the book that describes things in the house also states that dinner can be served upon request, when we asked, we were told “not available”. Perhaps it is available during the high season, so maybe double check first. The nearest restaurant is about 5min drive away in Armamar, but then you’d have to navigate those very narrow throughways in the dark. Maybe bring some food with you or brave the drive (it’s really not that bad the more you do it, but I was thrown by the initial entry). Also, Booking.com shows there’s a game room with ping-pong but we saw no signs of it.
Breakfast is served each day from 8-10 and is continental style; cereal, yogurt, bread, meats, cheese, etc. There’s not a whole lot to it and if you don’t eat bread or meat or dairy you’re sort of screwed. They serve this roll though, that incredible. It has the nooks and crannies of an English muffin but the texture and taste of sourdough bread. It is worth coming here just for that roll. But they also had a lighter than air orange polenta cake that was also incredible. If you’re looking for a full English or an American style breakfast, this is not for you. But we were well sated until lunch.
The real reason to come to Casa da Sao Miguel do Douro is because of the ambiance. There are several places to sit and view the vineyards and the hills beyond while sipping some wine (that you should bring with you) and soaking up some of the beautiful sunshine and breezes that pass through here. There’s no noise from town but you will hear the chimes of the church down the way. Oh and probably your neighbors too. We definitely recommend staying here if you want to relax and be away from some things just for a while. The good news is all the wineries are just a short drive away.