You know by now that we believe the smallest of details can make or break a trip. And it’s not that we are picky with the small things, we’re not petty. But we do appreciate a great service, a certain level of comfort (without the need to be luxurious) and a place so welcoming we can “risk” to feel at home.
6Only Guest House* was all that and then some. We can state as a fact that Mariana’s welcoming smile and disposition wrapped it all up from the very first second we met her. The minute we reached the “house with the blue door” and rang the bell we felt at home. Mariana welcomed us as guests but made us feel as part of the house. For us, it’s rare to see a place that actually matches the photos online (we all know how tricky and disappointing that can be), and that was our first pleasant surprise.
One first step through the door and we were blown away by the architecture details and the warming environment. We were being spoiled and letting ourselves be spoiled (without any guilt that is)!
The Design and Architecture Details
There was a sobriety to the renovated façade that matched the interior — one of the rarest cases when you are free to judge a book by its cover. High ceilings, original wooden floors, cork paneled walls and a clever mix of vintage and modern furniture set the tone for the rest of the house right there in the common lounge area. The open space was a surprise! Seen from the outside, we couldn’t have imagined how spacious it would actually be inside. All that was even more accentuated by the three high windows that lead into the private courtyard.
After chatting with Mariana about what to see and do in Porto (nothing beats her expert advice) while sipping a complimentary glass of red Port wine, she led us up the impressive staircase to our room on the second floor.
Following the eclectic feel of the lounge area, all rooms are a mix of old and new, bright and spacious, with a private balcony and a fully furnished private bathroom. The magic touch is in the small things, like the album with photos of what the room was before (ours used to be a kitchen) or the products from “Saboaria Portugueza” (an international brand that focuses on the tradition of Portuguese soap making).
The Service and The Location
I confess that most times we skip breakfast. After a while, it’s simply not appealing anymore: same coffee, same bread, same jellies. But here there was a splendid morning meal waiting for us every day: fresh bread, orange juice, homemade jam, marmalade, and cake, scrambled eggs and toast on request (and made fresh), and coffee that tasted like coffee. With soft music in the background and an always smiling staff, I assure you we never had a bad start of the day. Somehow we always ended up sitting at one of the tables covered with the original tiles that used to be in our room wall when it was a kitchen — I don’t think we did it on purpose, I believe we were always drawn to it.
The guest house doesn’t have a 24-hour reception, but it comes with the perk of the owners living on the top floor. Although we never felt the need to call them in the middle of the night, it was reassuring to know that they were close by and available — their presence was always welcoming but never imposing. It combines the best of both worlds: renting an apartment (you have your own space and your own key to let yourself in the building after hours) and hotel service (complimentary breakfast, toiletries and housekeeping).
During our short stay in Porto we took full advantage of the perfect location at Rua Duque de Loulé: it was in walking distance of all the major historical sites we wanted to visit, close enough to the Fantasporto venue to drop by to freshen up before the films in the evening and far enough from any crowded tourist area.
Mariana and Pedro love traveling and that translates perfectly into this project and the new one next door that Pedro showed us before we left. Above anything else, there is a lot of love put into this. When it opened in 2009, 6Only was the second guesthouse in Porto — everything then was sort of uncharted territory and they truly set the bar high right from the start.
When you visit their website you’ll notice an announcement on the homepage: “suites soon”. At the similar building next door (that belonged to the same family that owned number 97) the floors are being transformed, with the same care and attention to detail, into suites. Even though the rooms will have additional amenities (like a TV, lounge area and espresso machine), some of the elements are common to ensure continuity between both spaces: the dark brown cork panels, the original hardwood floors, the plaster ornaments in the ceiling. To make sure they are able to welcome all guests, the new building is also equipped with an elevator making it more accessible.
We were guests of 6Only Guest House. Any opinions expressed are, as usual, our own.