We stayed as a family group of four adults, two teens and one child, in August 17.
Sue and Paul, the owners, have created a beautiful holiday home that exceeds the already high expectations created by the photos on the website. We spent almost the entire week either relaxing by the pool, or eating and drinking on one of the numerous terraces in the well maintained, landscaped gardens.
The setting and location of the villa are perfect for a relaxed, stress free holiday, and Sue (accompanied by her dog - Milly) is the ideal host; Available and full of helpfull tips and advice, if required, but otherwise completely unobtrusive.
Our week at Casa Velha was one of the best holiday's we've had recently, and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone else thinking of booking. In fact I already have!
I can't praise this property enough. Less than an hour from Porto airport, it's private and secluded but town is only 10 mins drive away. This is a wonderful family friendly property that has been decorated and kitted out with care. I simply couldn't think of anything I wanted that wasn't already provided. Sue and Paul, who were absolutely lovely, were nearby for any queries and even cleaned out the BBQ each day so we didn't have to. A van full of bakery delicacies arrived daily, which was about the only thing that enticed me away from the magnificent pool. I'm almost reluctant to write this review in case it becomes wildly popular and we can't book again next year. I thoroughly recommend Casa Velha.
We had a fabulous holiday here. It is a very beautiful property , fully updated with with all modern conveniences and artistically and tastefully decorated. It is situated in the midst of beautiful mountainous vineyards and has a pristine "Hockneyesque" swimming Pool in which to luxuriate during hot summer days. Close to the beautiful town of Amarente and not too far from Picturesque Porto it a fabulous place to share a holiday with family and friends. I highly recommend it and Sue and Paul could not have been more gracious hosts!
As the title suggests, this is just what we were looking for. The 'doubles' are actually twins pushed together - but that works fine - each with an en-suite bathroom, two of which have walk-in showers and two of which have baths with showers over.
The highlights of this villa are the heated pool (a very comfortable 30 degrees during our stay) and the high standard of furniture and fittings. In particular, the poolside furniture is very smart, with eight loungers and four parasols; and the villa's interior design is beautifully thought out, including artworks by Susan (one of the proprietors) in most of the rooms. It has TV (with stocks of DVDs), wifi and a CD player. The upper floor has the kitchen, lounge/diner, two en suite bedrooms, and a separate WC, while on the lower floor are the other two en suite bedrooms and a second lounge. Outside there is a laundry room with washing machine.
Another highlight is that Susan and Paul, the proprietors who live next door (Graham is a 'silent' business partner whom you never meet), are very friendly and helpful. For instance, Sue got some shopping in before we arrived, so that we immediately had some snacks and drinks available on arrival. Sue and Paul can also give you plenty of useful information about the locality.
There are two outside eating areas, one of which, under a porch, is perfect for breakfast, and the other, under a parasol near the barbecue, is perfect for evening meal. They both have a view over the pool and indeed across the valley, which is very pleasant.
The villa does not have air conditioning, meaning that on hot nights, it's more comfortable to leave the windows open (they have a tilt facility) - so you may want to take mosquito 'zappers' and use insect repellent to avoid being bitten.
The villa's surroundings are attractive: the site is approached down a steep slope on the north side, is screened by trees (some distance away) on its east and west sides, and has a view of the other side of the valley (the River Olo) to the south. The site is terraced: if you call the area where you park level 1, then you walk down steps past garden/grounds on levels 2 and 3, then the villa is on levels 4 and 5, and the pool on level 6. This is not as arduous as perhaps it sounds, but it does mean that it would not be suitable for anyone with mobility difficulties. The overall feel of the site is of rural peace and seclusion - neither the villa nor the pool is overlooked - unlike the villas just up the road, which are in more suburban surroundings.
A drawback of being on a valley side is indeed the slope of the approach road: it is a fairly steep, cobbled, residential road, that you don't feel at all like walking back up. It's not the sort of location where you can go out for a stroll, so consequently we never explored Fridao, the village the villa is in.
However, we did explore Amarante, the local town a few miles away, and this is a gem. The road (the N312) from Fridao to Amarante brings you into a little square that has two or three very nice cafes and, almost hidden just off the square, the lovely Adega Regional Quelha restaurant. Leading off the square is a pretty little street that also has several good restaurants (e.g. the Lusitania, the Estoril and the Tasquinha) leading to the beautful Roman bridge over the River Tamega, which gives onto the equally beautiful Sao Goncalo square. This lively square is home to two excellent cafe bars, which are a great place to spend the late evening after dinner. Amarante is a large enough town to have other amenities, e.g. four supermarkets (Continente is the best) and four filling stations.
Amarante's best restaurant, however, is surely 1881 Cervejaria, currently only open on Friday and Saturday evenings. Susan told us about it and kindly booked a table for us - which is essential, as it has only six or seven tables, so booking is required. Service is slow, as everything is cooked to order, so settle in and allow two hours or more for dinner! It is in Rua Nova, off the N15, up the hill, near the health centre.
We had a fabulous week at Casa Velha which enjoys a stunning location less than an hour from Porto. The villa was fully equipped and very comfortable with a fabulous pool and outside eating area, Our only regret was that we were not staying longer. Paul and Susan were perfect hosts, helpful and available without being intrusive.
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