Only the 18th-century formal garden and its gently trickling fountain separate this magnificent Baroque palace from the River Douro. The location and the main building are spectacular. It was built around 1750 by Nicolau Nasoni, the architect man behind Porto's landmark Clérigos tower, and is protected as a national monument. Inside, the chapel, lounge and restaurant are decorated with airy murals, high windows and gilded columns. Monumental fresh flower arrangements add to the “wow factor”. The spacious rooms are located next to the main building in a 19th-century flourmill that underwent a remarkable renovation ahead of the hotel's opening in 2009. Standard rooms overlook the lush garden at the back, others look out over the river. Completing the picture are an excellent restaurant serving a number of classic Porto dishes, luxurious spa, and riverside outdoor pool. It is a bit out of the city center, but that means peace and quiet, and there is a free shuttle into town three times a day.