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- Karen Brown's Recommendation:
Casa de Casal de Loivos is an absolute treasure. It is more like an enchanting small hotel than a bed and breakfast, expertly run with three maids to pamper the guests, plus a full-time cook. Although there is no restaurant guests can enjoy a delicious dinner, (upon request) using old family recipes. The meal is often like a house party, served family-style around an antique table, sharing outstanding food and wines. Light lunches are graciously served to those who wish to take a day off from sightseeing (very tempting with the gorgeous swimming pool on the terrace). Manuel Bernardo de Sampayo, whose family has owned the house since the 17th century, speaks excellent English and is the epitome of the perfect host, exuding a sophisticated gentility and a genuine welcome. The attractive guestrooms are prettily furnished and have excellent bathrooms, marvelous views, and French doors opening out onto terraces. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of this house is its setting: perched in the hills above the River Douro, it has a panoramic view of vineyards in intricate patchwork designs terracing steeply down the hillside to the river, which loops through the canyon far below.