Porto is changing, cranes are part of the landscape. The second largest city in Portugal, Porto has become one of the most attractive European tourist destinations in a decade. The title of “Best European Tourist Destination 2017”, awarded for the third time in six years by the organisation European Consumers Choice, has only confirmed the general enthusiasm for this attractive area.
What about the hotel business?
In the hotel sector, many will tell you, everything is now thought out so that the experience makes the difference. The city of Porto is a pioneer in this field. Architects are very creative in order to imagine new places while preserving the existing infrastructure. The Zero Box Lodge is for me the best example. More than just a hotel, the ZB Lodge is characterized by its history and design.
Here you used to be in a bank
Located in the historic district of Bolhão. ZB Lodge opened in late 2018 next to Ribeira Square with an atmosphere dedicated to Portuguese culture and art. The particularity of the establishment is its wooden rooms, called ‘Boxes’. Let’s just say that the architect Gonçalo Queirós Carvalho, it’s a lot of fun. Many will tell you, everything is now thought out so that the unique experience will make the difference. This is precisely what the Zero Box Lodge offers.
An ideal base from which to explore the thriving coastal city of Porto, the hotel is a playful space where Portuguese art and culture are staged in a completely original way. This is exactly what I am looking for when I arrive in a city I know well. I will spend less time visiting the city, so I want to be surprised by the hotel.
There are three categories
Zero Box Lodge is a windowless room with a private bathroom and a double bed, One is a Zero but with a window, and Two is a larger and more comfortable version of One. Not much to do with a bank then, except… an old safe full of zero dollar bills, amazing characters created by the artist Paulo Rammuni. Among the other fun extravagances that catch my attention…
Breakfast “is only served” from 7am to 7pm
Yes, you read that right. Or that daring concept: the Free Room, a glass copy of a ‘box’ Zero installed at the entrance of the hotel, offers to sleep free of charge to anyone who wants to transform his or her hours of rest into an artistic installation.
The Intergalactic Elevator (allusion to the play of lights) will lead to a Rooftop that detonates. A guaranteed change of scenery with a view of a contrasting Porto.
The swimming pool is unlike any other and the presence of mask and snorkel in each of the rooms are not there by chance.
The hotel has 2 restaurants, the City Club, located on the top floor, offering a Mediterranean and Healthy menu. Here you can discover a library of books, each one crazier than the next. It ranges from Portuguese writers like Gonçalo M. Tavares to other writers from all over the world. As well as objects, each one more unusual than the next.
The other restaurant, O Carniceiro, is located on floor 0, where you will discover a more elaborate menu such as Beef Cheek and Matte demi-glace or Chickpea stew, oxheart cabbage and bordelaise sauce, a real delight. (Be careful when you come to the ZB Lodge, the restaurant is closed due to the Covid-19).
After passing the corridor that already transports you to another world, the discovery of the rooms will not leave you indifferent. Beyond the comfort it offers with its soft bedding while remaining hyper minimal, the rooms have a private bathroom with an Italian shower.
Thought like a bubble out of time, calm and quiet, out of the frenzy of a Port in the making. The hotel experience at the Zero Box Lodge is made unique by the originality of the place and the excellent reception of a whole team at your service.
On a comparative scale, if you’re a fan of the Mama Shelter and 25hours hotel bikini, you won’t be disappointed.