Hotel Renaissance Porto Lapa-Mathieu Legault-20

Review: Renaissance Porto Lapa | Marriott Bonvoy

Hotel Renaissance Porto Lapa
Country Portugal
City Porto
Loyalty Program Status Titanium
Points Per Night 13440
Hotel brand Renaissance Hotels
Tutorial Guide: Save on Hotels with Points

Renaissance Porto Lapa
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To the point Here's my review of the Renaissance Porto Lapa, a brand new hotel in Porto, Portugal.

My wife, our 9-month-old baby and I stayed at the Renaissance Porto Lapa from May 7 to 12, 2023, when the hotel was only in its third week of operation.

Renaissance Porto Lapa - Booking

I usually book my hotel nights at the same time as I book my plane tickets, after which I regularly follow up with on the Marriott Bonvoy website to get a better price, in points or cash.

However, in August 2022, as this Renaissance Porto Lapa hotel was not on the list of Marriott Bonvoy-affiliated hotels available in Porto, I had first opted for the Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa for 5 nights paid in points (5 for the price of 4). Around January 2023, this new hotel began to appear in the search engine, with the main advantage of becoming the Marriott Bonvoy-affiliated hotel closest to Porto’s historic center (a twenty-minute walk).

Around mid-February, it became available for booking in cash, then in points around two weeks later. So, with a little vigilance, I was able to book 5 nights in this brand-new hotel at the PointsSaver rate for the modest sum of … 67,200 points!


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Earning Marriott Bonvoy Points

The best way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points for free stays at over 8,000 hotels worldwide is to have the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card (and/or the Marriott Bonvoy® Business American Express®* Card).

In addition to the exceptional welcome bonus of each of these two cards, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar on all your purchases and 5 points per dollar at any of the Marriott establishments. On top of that, every year, you’ll receive a free hotel night certificate (worth 35,000 points) and 15 Elite Night Credits toward your Marriott Bonvoy status.

Renaissance Porto Lapa - Check-in

As with all the hotels I stayed in during my stay in Portugal, I first checked in on the mobile app before heading to the Renaissance Porto Lapa hotel. In Portugal, as it is necessary to present a copy of the passports of all guests, mobile check-in does not save time, but it does allow access to the chat function around 48 hours before the scheduled arrival at the hotel.

As I hold the Marriott Titanium status and as my wife and I were traveling with a nine-month-old baby, I asked if an upgrade to a suite with an enclosed room was available (which it was, as I’d made sure to check beforehand). I was told that upgrades were only possible at check-in, yet I often get upgraded before getting to the hotel. The next day, I repeated my request about two hours before my arrival and was told not to worry, as I’d been assigned a very functional room.

As we get out of the car, I can admire this imposing, magnificent new building with its completely white cladding, while taking our hand luggage out of the suitcase, while my wife is busy untying the baby, which suggests that a new diaper is in order. So, a split second after passing through the entrance hall door, we all branch off to the right towards beautifully decorated bathrooms, but in which no changing tables seem to have been installed. We make our way to the check-in desk, two-thirds relieved, hoping to proceed swiftly upstairs to change our baby. Bad luck, the passports are still in the car, so I have to identify everyone using the passport photos scattered around my phone.

The check-in takes about ten minutes, allowing me to take a quick tour of the entrance hall. Everything is fairly white, from the white-painted gypsum ceilings to the white marble floor, and a metal bookcase separates the elevators from a large table serving as a shared workspace, which opens onto a small terrace (essentially used as a smoking room). The sofas we’d been invited to sit on during check-in smell new, and we quickly put an end to the little unwelcome ray of sunlight peeking through the generous windows of the hall, offering a view of a shaggy hillside through an imposing green velvet curtain.

Check-in ends with various explanations about the pool, gym, breakfast and more, and then we’re handed the room keys. A joke is made that we’re “probably” the first ones to use this room. I would have liked a little help with the luggage carrying, but nobody seems to be assigned to this task and the only cart available is already full of suitcases, so I have to make about three round trips between the car and the hotel room.

Renaissance Porto Lapa - Room

At first glance, the room may look well-decorated, but it’s narrow, especially with the crib between the TV and the bed. The entryway features an attractive all-glass closet, followed by the Nespresso coffee machine, an ice bucket and a small refrigerator concealed in a cabinet.

Hotel Renaissance Porto Lapa-Mathieu Legault-01

As the Lapa district is undergoing revitalization, the generous fenestration allows glimpses of the Lapa metro station in the distance, but essentially overlooks wasteland and a construction site below. The bathroom finishes, fixtures and furniture have all been tastefully chosen, but appear a little flimsy for intensive use in the hotel context. Three small pastel de nata (the same ones we’ll be served for breakfast for the rest of our stay) and a bottle of water on a coaster marked Marriott Bonvoy Elite await us as a welcome gift.

Although comfortable for two adults, the three of us quickly felt cramped in this room. Having ordered room service, our food is delivered to us on a table on wheels, for which we have to move the bench at the foot of the bed to allow us to take it to the back of the room without touching the sleeping baby’s crib, before devouring it all at full speed in almost total darkness. The dishes in question (hot sandwiches) are decidedly too salty and far too expensive in terms of value for money … We spent the next five evenings by the bedroom front door lighting ourselves with bathroom lights so as not to disturb the baby’s sleep.

On day two, when we return to our room after a full day of sightseeing in Porto, we were surprised to find that the coffee capsules, water bottles, empty tissue box and sheet-thin soap had not been replaced. The same goes for the toilet paper roll on which there are still 9 well-counted sheets, but on which we’ve taken care to place a sticker marked with a large “R”. Of the four large towels provided, only two remain. The tiny garbage can in which a few diapers had piled up hasn’t been emptied… I also come back empty-handed from a short walk to the ice machine. In short, when it comes to service, the hotel is clearly not yet fully up to speed. After waiting about thirty minutes with no response on the Chat, I go down to reception, where they apologize and promise to accommodate me. No more than ten minutes later, they arrive at the door with all our missing paraphernalia. The rest of our stay will show continuous improvement.

Renaissance Porto Lapa - Breakfast

Breakfast, offered as a welcome gift to Platinum members and above, is served on the 1st floor in a large room separated by metal partitions, which also serves as a restaurant and bar.

Strangely enough in Portugal, all the Marriott hotels we stayed in (5 hotels for a total of 20 nights) served us exactly the same buffet, with a few differences. So, although the buffet in question offers something for every taste, after ten days or so we were a little weary of eating almost systematically the same food for breakfast every morning. A short à la carte menu would have been welcome.

Renaissance Porto Lapa - Hotel amenities

Reserved exclusively for hotel guests, the terrace and infinity pool are well worth a visit. From the terrace, access is gained to a promontory where a series of deckchairs are lined up alongside the pool, protected from the sun by pink parasols. At the far end, a section with sofas lets you admire the spires of the Lapa church. You can even see the Casa da Música in the distance. Right at the entrance to the terrace, the pool bar is available to order food and alcohol. Depending on whether you want to sit by the pool or not, you’ll be served drinks in a plastic or glass tumbler. At 6 Euros for a local beer (available for around 0.50 Euros at the supermarket) and 9 Euros for a microbrewery beer, it’s perhaps not the best place to spend the evening, especially as the bar in question closes at 7pm.

The small but generously windowed gymnasium is well-equipped and fully functional. It features luminaires in the shape of gymnastic rings. Banquet/meeting rooms are available on floor -1.

Renaissance Porto Lapa - Check-out

Although it would have been easier to provide us with a printout of our orders at the terrace or lobby bars, or through room service to confirm everything en bloc, we go through each item one by one at check-out, a rather tedious exercise. Once the bill has been settled, the luggage cart is once again unavailable, so I have to make a few trips back and forth between the car and the lobby while Mum looks after our baby.

Renaissance Porto Lapa - My overall impression

In short, the Renaissance Porto Lapa hotel is nice and new, but certainly not for families traveling with babies or young children. I’d even go so far as to say that, apart from the Moxy Lisboa Oriente, an entry-level hotel aimed at a younger clientele where we only stayed one night, it’s probably the least well-equipped hotel for children we’ve stayed at in Portugal. Also, at the time of our stay, the hotel didn’t yet seem to have reached cruising speed in terms of service. However, it will suit single travelers or couples wishing to take advantage of its proximity to Porto’s historic center and public transport, particularly the Lapa and Faria Guimarães stations. Also located close to major highways, day trips to Guimarães and the Douro Valley are easy. In the end, I console myself by telling myself that, considering the price in points, I got a good deal under the circumstances.

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