Actually, it’s both.
Antique dealers Agostino and Julieta Matos have renovated the 18th century building above their antique shop and transformed it into a boutique hotel with a difference. Not only is each room unique but you can buy its furniture and ornaments. If the carved wooden shelf or the inlaid bedside table take your fancy, there’s a price list in each room with details so you can shop from the comfort of your bed.
Intrigued by the concept, I was happy to accept their invitation to stay there and experience it for myself. I wasn’t intending to buy anything but found myself inspecting the merchandise in my room with more attention than I would normally pay towards furniture. I was quite tempted by the bathroom shelf but it just wouldn’t look right in my home.
The room Mike and I had was apparently the smallest in the hotel but it was fine for our one-night stay. We were in Viseu for the 24-hour performing arts festival and didn’t spend much time there. If you like your space, I’d go for a superior room, or even the suite.
The only thing I wasn’t keen on was the bathroom door. A frosted glass door next to the bed with a gap around the sides of about 2 cm doesn’t provide much privacy for those who value it. All the rooms have a different layout so this probably isn’t an issue in other rooms.
We were on the top floor so our standing balcony gave us great views over the city centre. On the same floor, there’s a lovely living room for guests with armchairs that rock (literally) and even better views of Praça Dom Duarte. I would have liked to have spent more time there relaxing and reading a book there but we had a morning’s sightseeing to do so I reluctantly prised myself out of the chair.
I also liked the lounge bar on the ground floor, which is open to non-guests too for drinks and snacks. With cute comfy chairs and round wooden tables, it’s cosy, stylish and informal. If you can, grab the seats in the window for some discreet people watching. If you get bored of that, the café also functions as a shop for local handicrafts and home made jams.
Talking of jams, the ones I tried at breakfast were delicious. In fact, the whole breakfast experience was a pleasure, partly because of the home made cakes and range of breads and cheeses but also because of the staff. After describing the various cakes and cheeses, the receptionist made a point of chatting to all the guests at their tables. I really appreciated this personal touch, which was reflected in the standard of care throughout our stay.
For more details, visit the Casa da Sé Hotel website.
If you’re wondering what to do in Viseu, check out this article: 10 things to see and do in and around Viseu
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