The Yeatman is an impressive spa hotel overlooking Portugal’s second city of Porto. This hilltop retreat has a unique personality and will appeal to the most discerning luxury traveller. Food and wine are at the heart of the Yeatman experience, with the hotel boasting an extensive collection of fine wines and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Spa connoisseurs will marvel at the oasis of tranquillity that is the Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa. The views from the hotel are spectacular, the accommodation first class and the service is outstanding.
The Yeatman Hotel opened in 2010. It is independently owned by the Yeatman family, who have been involved with Taylor’s Port since 1838. The hotel sits high above the banks of the River Douro and opposite the medieval city of Oporto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its position gives uninterrupted views over the red-tiled roofs of the port lodges, the river, and over to the cobbled streets of the old town and the famous Dom Luis Bridge.
The elegant interiors are a combination of classic British and colourful Portuguese style, with traditional furnishings brought to life with splashes of the vibrant reds, oranges, yellows and blues you see in Portuguese ceramics.
A long wall of patio doors entices you out to the terrace, where you’ll find a large decanter-shaped infinity pool and the extensive gardens, which are managed as a refuge for rare and endangered local plants and birds.
The exclusive Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa is a light and airy space, with natural materials such as wood, granite, marble and glass throughout, and panoramic views. The wine theme continues in the treatment menu, as chosen brand Caudalie have developed an entire range of products and treatments based on the natural anti-oxidant properties of the grape. Treatments include barrel bath immersions, Merlot scrubs and other grape-infused luxuries.
There are 10 beautiful treatment rooms, each named after a Portuguese wine variety. You can while away the hours floating in the stunning indoor infinity pool. Other facilities include the secluded Roman baths, tepidarium, sauna, steam room and experience showers, as well as a fabulous relaxation area that overlooks the immaculate gardens and beyond.
We tried the Caudalie Crushed Cabernet Scrub (35 minutes, €65) and the Caudalie Relaxing Massage (50 minutes, €105).
The treatment began with a cup of Caudalie herbal tea in the relaxation room. “Vinotherapist”, Joanna, took great care to explain the Crushed Cabernet Scrub, its properties and the benefits.
Joanna used a mixture of crushed grape seeds, warmed honey, brown sugar and a combination of six draining and cellulite-fighting organic essential oils to form a coarse scrub that she then massaged over my entire body. The smell was a fabulous combination of sweet and fresh aromas. When she was sure that every inch of me had been covered with the nourishing, sticky mixture, Joanna wrapped a plastic sheet tight around my body, and cocooned me under a heavy duvet. The heat from the treatment bed and wrap intensified the luscious smell, and also helped my skin to absorb the products.
Meanwhile, Joanna massaged my face and scalp while stretching my neck. Using a warm towel, Joanna wiped my feet clean and put a pair of flip flops on me, ready for me to rinse myself clean. As I did so, I noticed that my skin felt silky smooth. Joanna then followed this with a massage. She used strong strokes and focused on relieving tension at key pressure points. Afterwards, I felt invigorated and alive, and my skin was ultra-soft. The effects of this treatment were long lasting, too.
Continuing the wine theme further, each of the 12 suites and 70 bedrooms has been allocated a partner winery who sponsor each room and personalise it with character and charm. Traditional Portuguese ceramic tiles create a sense of tradition. Rooms are extra-large with huge, comfortable beds, and come with spacious bathrooms that have walk-in showers, generously-sized bath-tubs and Caudalie toiletries. Each room has its own private balcony where guests can relax in seclusion. You are never far from a magnificent view at The Yeatman — even while soaking in the tub you can open the shutters and continue to gaze.
Food and wine are both essential elements of the Yeatman experience. The restaurant boasts a Michelin star; the menu delivers creative yet traditional flavours and oozes gastronomic class. The Yeatman’s wine cellar is just as impressive, housing over 1,000 different wines, many vintage, and there are a number of rare collectors’ items on the vast list. To sample both, try one of a range of specialist tasting menus.
Oporto’s international airport, Francisco Sá Carneiro, is a 20-minute drive to The Yeatman. There are direct flights daily from London to Oporto with TAP Portugal (from London Gatwick), EasyJet (from London Gatwick), and Ryanair (from London Stansted).
To find out more about The Yeatman and the Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa, visit The Yeatman website.
3rd April 2013
Warm floors when you put your bare feet upon them; heated treatment beds; soft towels; attention to detail, so that your treatment room looks and smells beautiful when you arrive in it.
Cold floors when you put your bare feet upon them; therapists who use your treatment time to write up a list of product "recommendations" that they hope you will purchase.
Behind the scenes