A New Design Hotel in Porto for Everyone Going to Portugal Right Now

It’s no mystery why Portugal is an increasingly popular travel destination — the white country houses with colorful trim, the wine, the ethereal natural beauty. Who wouldn’t want to visit? Now, when looking for a place to stay in Porto, the country’s second largest city, there’s a new option: Situated on the Douro river, The Rebello features 103 apartments, from studios to three bedroom suites, a full-service restaurant, two bars, and a luxurious yet unfussy spa. But it’s the design, of course, that we’re most taken with. Architecture firm Metrourbe transformed a disused, 19th-century factory for kitchen utensils into four thoroughly modernized yet character-rich buildings, two of which were newly constructed to connect the original stone structures. Inside, Spanish designer and founder of Lisbon’s Quiet Studios Daniela Francheschini has woven together four central elements that reference Porto: water, wine, wood, and industry, carrying them through various aspects of the space.

The guest rooms hum with the warmth of walnut and the precision of steel touches or sinks inspired by old water tanks. And Francheschini was especially moved by the ways that artists have inhabited industrial spaces, using them as a site and source of creativity — and how that might translate and transfer to the hotel’s guests. The interiors highlight local artists and designers: ceramics by Joana Passos, floral arrangements by Beatriz Faria Ribeiro of Menez, lamps by Casa Josephine Studio, and Edurne Camacho’s tapestries, artwork by Pedro Guimarães, stoneware and rope pieces by Grau Cerâmica, and blankets made in Serra da Estrela by Burel Factory. Work from international artists such as Josep Maynou and Tomek Sadurski also adds to the effect.

A nautical vibe also runs throughout, from the deep ocean blue upholstery in the lobby, referencing Porto’s coastal position on the Atlantic, to the striped umbrellas and pillows at the outdoor tables of the rooftop bar. But it’s never overly literal. Instead there’s a process of abstraction at work, evident in the wooden shelves by Tomaz Viana, mirrors that evoke the water’s reflective qualities, and an installation by the welcome desk in the lobby — designed by studio THER in Lisbon — made of salvaged materials from the region’s celebrated rabelos, the small, flat-bottomed boats once used to move port wine along the river. The hotel itself takes its name from these vessels (it’s located next to the city’s last remaining boatyard where the rabelos are constructed and repaired) and even touches like the dark wooden headboards in the bedrooms are inspired by the boats’ shape and the movement of water.