Some comments from guests at Distinctive Portugal holiday properties:
Our vacation in Portugal in October of 2011 was really marvelous. We had to arrange all hotels and Pousadas on a very short notice and Diana did an excellent job of booking hotels that were not available for online reservation. She booked exactly what we wanted and the prices were very competitive and reasonable. We really enjoyed the Pousada do Porto, Palacio Do Freixo with its wonderful location in the city and its Doura’s views. After busy days in the city the hotel offered modern spa and steam room for complete relaxation. We wish we could have spent more than 2 nights there.
Another gem on the way south was the Pousada de Mesao Frio. Although the rooms were outdated the breathtaking views of Doura river from the balcony of your room and the breakfast on the patio with views of the river and vineyards were something to enjoy and remember. This hotel would be a great stopping point if somebody wants to explore one of the best wine regions in the world.
The quality of wines in Portugal really impressed us. Being from California we were quite spoiled and used to very quality wines. It is amazing how good are wine producers in Portugal. We tried wines from small domestic wineries that are not being sold anywhere else in the world-wonderful treat. If you are into wines visit the wine club in Lisboa. The general manager (probably the owner) worked in that place for more than 20 years and he really can recommend wines that are absolutely unique.
In general great weather, beautiful food, very hospital people and beautiful country with a lot of history and pride contributed to our great vacation.
Diana, thank you very much for referencing the car rental and arranging all our lodging.
Leonid and Irina O.
We enjoyed our stay in villa 314 and please feel free to use our comments;
We were a group of friends, 8 adults and 2 teenagers, that stayed in villa 314 during ten days in June2011. This house suited our needs very well with its well equipped kitchen and the nice garden with both a pool and a tennis court. Our vacation was a combination of lazy days either at the pool side or at the beach, only a few kilometers away, and tours to the interesting neighborhood. One of the highlights was the tour to the pretty town of Porto where we had wine tasting at several producers of Porto wine. All of us enjoyed the stay very much and hope coming back again! A group of friends from Sweden.
Best regards, Ann-Christin
I just wanted to write a short email to express what a great holiday we had over the last two weeks (12th – 27th August). The service we received from the time we first made contact until we left was impeccable. The villas were also amazing and exactly what we expected from looking at your website. We will definitely be back and will use Distinctive Portugal for all our reservations from villas to golf to anything else we want to do.
Back in London the rain is coming down, there are no mountains and I can’t see a vineyard!! Holiday blues are setting in. Have a great year and look forward to speaking to you soon.
David Warren (UK), August 2011 - villa 239
We came here in July 2010 for 6 days. Voted to return at harvest time and stay longer.
It was worth it! Of course the view is stunning| The breakfast, excellent! Estrela – always ready to help and very knowledgeable. Thank you for your hard work! We returned to Quinta da Avessada and again was guested by Luis and his brother Miguel. We got to enjoy a glimpse of Portuguese culture. We thank you Luis and Miguel!
We feel we have made some life long friends here In the Douro Valley. A most spectacular place. We had the pleasure to meet the manager of this lovely house Mr. Abrunhosa. A real gentleman and very genuine. We hope to return again to this most beautiful house and most beautiful “país” of the world.
We stayed in Villa 250 for two weeks in July 2012 and had an absolutely amazing holiday! My husband and I travel a lot all around the World, both for work and leisure (we spend a lot of time researching to find what we think are lovely high-end places to travel to and also gems of hotels/villas) and I have to say that it was long since we had such an allround great stay as this one. This is among the best places we have ever found.
Great service: Sergio and Diana were really helpful, timely in getting back to us and offered great personalised/ accommodating service – they went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed (without being intrusive).
Wonderful villa: The house has been just recently completely renovated to a very high standard and with amazing attention to detail (from the turkish steam bath to the well-equipped kitchen for those who enjoy cooking to the childsafe pool to the all Portugese furniture to…). It is well-designed, clean, comfortable and a nice combo of homely, modern and authentic Portugese.
Great garden and views: The house is in a very private setting, has a nice pool, sunbeds and a big dining table. It is a very green garden with for example herbs, strawberrys, olive trees, lemon trees etc. The view is absolutely amazing, overlooking a green valley. There are swings, football goals etc so plenty of fun for young and old kids.
The nearby area: Nice leafy walks when going directly from the house. If you take the car, there are many of fairytale like nature walks to choose from (there´s plenty of info about the nearby area made available in the house and Sergio and Diana helped us with making a few bookings for Fado etc). Also, we found Northern Portugal in general to be very peaceful and tourist-free, the people are very friendly and it is a beautiful part of the world. It is a bit like Toscana or Provence – before the tourists came…
All in all, we can warmly recommend going to Northern Portugal, booking a villa through Sergio and Diana (we are in the process of booking for next summer ourselves) and also staying in this particular villa.
Have a nice holiday!
Villa 218 is in a beautiful location, has a stunning garden and the house is full of character. Northern Portugal has beautiful beaches, luscious green landscape and the nearest town of Caminha has everything you need; good restaurants, cafes and plenty going on.
The garden of the villa is set on a hillside going down from the house to the pool area where there are great facilities (although the fridge could be a little larger). The garden is kept luscious by an automatic watering system and took the whole week of our stay to fully explore. Paths lead from all parts of the house, there are fruit trees, a wonderful array of plants and a choice of areas to sit and relax.
The booking process with Distinctive Portugal was efficient and whilst we were at the villa the local representative, Sergio, was very helpful with local knowledge. He responded quickly to the few small problems we had with villa – light bulbs, broken shower head and the swimming pool making strange noises (it needed a top up of water).
We thoroughly enjoyed are stay at Villa 218 and despite the few negatives mentioned would recommend it. The great garden and pool area outweigh any drawbacks of the eccentricity of the house.
We were fully satisfied!
The house was well located, service well organised (cleaning lady, towels refill).
The service of your agency for restaurants, city trips, boat trips was well organised .
If we come back to Portugal we will certainly go via your agency or reference to friends.
Yes I would love to give you some feedback.
Our holiday was wonderful. Villa 206 was even better than we hoped. In fact it totally took our breath away. The house very well appointed, with many places to enjoy with fellow 'house mates' or to get away from everyone else (which can be just as important).
The garden and pool were wonderful - beautifully maintained and the abundance of fruit trees was an added bonus.
The hospitality of the ladies who look after the villa was amazing and we really appreciated the gifts of home baked cakes etc. This was most surprising and really added to the whole experience - please pass on our thanks to them, as well as the pool attendenent. Unfortunately, due to my total lack of Portuguese and poor French I was unable to express this well enough!
The games area was great as well and provided good entertainment.
What could have been better? I try and find something to help improve…
Perhaps some sky tv? or some better english speaking channels? Not that I was bothered but some in our group would have liked that.
Thats all I can think of. But the overall standard was excellent.
Thank you for a wonderful holiday.
Thank you for all your help arranging our holiday in villa 212. We all had a wonderful two weeks. The villa is ideal for two families and it's a luxury to have so many bathrooms! We ate outside on the verandah every day, admiring the views of the pool and the mountains. The villa was lovely and clean and the owner and cleaning staff very helpful. The chef was also a brillaint find, so thank you for booking Maria. We could not get over how much good value the food was, particularly the fish, meat and wine. Excellent quality too. You have been very helpful throughout the booking process and during the holiday. It was good to know you were on the end of the phone if we had queries.
We will recommend your company with pleasure to our friends and look forward to returning to Portugal.
Thank you so much.
Dear Sergio and Diana ,
Your advice to stay here at Villa 250 was definitely the right move . The beauty + amenities of the home , both inside and out , are top notch .
As this is our first trip to Portugal , we were almost over OVERWHELMED by the magnificent beauty of this part of the world . The garden + beauty of the Douro Valley is almost too wonderful to describe. We feel lucky to have been here for the huge Festival at Ponte de Lima, an idyllic city. Loved Santiago, Braga , Viana do Castelo… Unique Cathedral (+ beautiful grounds ) ! at Bom Jesus !
On piece of advice – when you rent to Americans , I guess the pool is never warm enough ! This is our 4th European attempt at an unheated pool + one none of the 8 adults could handle the temperature! Next time, we will have it heated.
We are off to Barcelos tomorrow, we may not have time to report on that before departing. Sonia prepared two most delightful meals for us. Our only regret is that we wish we had lined her up for every night! We tried to convince her to come to USA but she loved to Portugal . She is a gem .
This part of the world and this home are hidden treasures! We will definitely make plans to return !
Thank you both.
Chris + Vicky Rolfe
(Charllote, NC USA)
Dear Sergio ,
Thank you for a wonderful weeks in Portugal . What a magnificent location , we found it easy to get anywhere . The main floor bedroom was I dead for my father who has trouble walking. A particular family favorite was Bom Retiro restaurant , just down the road . Great food at unbeatable prices. You can do take – away there too. The vinho verde of Melgaço were superb. A definite must for any wine lover. Also a fantastic choice is the Douro. If you want the best eggs around , knock on the door of the people across the food. You will not be disappointed . The football pitch was fantastic . Many games were played out there. The beaches around Viana do Castelo , specifically Afife were fantastic . Endless beaches with big waves , for the surfer in the family. Ponte de Lima was a family favorite , great atmosphere and a great Roman bridge. We were around during fair season. Good family fun for the kids and parents alike 1€ glasses of wine at the cafés was a welcome project . We will be back , Portugal was amazing .
Dear Sergio ,
Very good Villa, stunning location and facilities. Beautiful area in your friendly country. A local favourite place to eat is Bom Retiro (turn left at the main road -6 km on the left hand side of highway). Very good food at good prices and local wine.
Good selection of local birds. Booted eagle, buzzards, raven. Grey spotted and green wood peckers. Sardinian and melodious wables. Serins and Cirl Bunting .
Andy Fane, Ros Wimmy and Lzze Wolroyd .
Dear Sergio & Diana,
We are all so sad to be going home to Ireland today. We have had a fabulous 2 weeks in your beautiful house. Two families holidaying together and the home was so comfortable. The weather was so good that the pool was is constant use. Competitive volleyball was a daily activity.
You were both so helpful with advice and arranging trips for us. White water rafting in the Minho river and surfing in Praia d’Arda were two highlights.
A big thank you and to Sonia, who came in and cooked for us a few times. What a treat!
This was our fun time to Northern Portugal and we loved it. The scenery, the weather, the food and the wine, all so good. We will definitely recommend it to friends and in particular Villa 250.
Thanks again Sergio & Diana for helping to make our holiday such a success.
The McDonald + Hodgins families.
It was a great pleasure staying here in Villa 250!! The house is beautiful and so is the garden with the lovely pool!
We stayed here for 2 weeks (from 13/7 – 27/7), after visiting Porto & Lisbon.
From here we went hiking in Corno de Bico, a really nice area. And we went to the beach in Afife and Caminha. Further move we visited Santiago de Compostela (in Spain), Braga and Guimarães , which we really liked.
In Porto , we can recommend a Segway-tour with the Blue Dragon , a fun way to discover the city .
And for the rest…a “whole lot of nothing”, that is swimming , reading , cooking and eating , sleeping , playing “Rish”, watching TV, now-and-then , drinking Portuguese Douro wine, and enjoying the beautiful sunny, not-too-warm weather. We’ll recommend the house to friends. The combination of the nice scenery, really comfortable house , with a lot of privacy, is a very good “formula”.
Petra V. Dalsen,Ploris, Caroline and Ron Balm
Thank you for staying in your beautiful house . It was really fantastic!
We were here with our children and grandson and we loved it. We also enjoyed the kindness of the Portuguese people and the beautiful environment, food and the swimming pool was perfect, -warm , and the steam room was wonderful. It was an honour to be the first guest in your beautiful house. We would love to come back and hope that the weather is a little bit better than the time we were here.
Thanks you so much for all your help.
Piet and Netty Boelsma
Just to say a huge thank you for looking after us so well at villa 234. The villa was perfect for our large family, including ten grandchildren, who loved the pool. Everything worked out perfectly plus of course the added surprise of our son and his family coming over from the Cayman Isles to help celebrate my 70th birthday. You did very well keeping that under wraps. The cook prepared two wonderful delicious meals for our party which were enjoyed with much enthusiasm.
This was our first visit to Portugal. We found Ponte de Lima a very attractive little town. The river side meadows and beach was ideal for our little ones. They loved splashing around in the shallows.
My husband rather liked the discreet jazz music piped from the lampposts very atmospheric,especially crossing the old medieval bridge. Please give a special thanks to Fillipe who was always helpful with his taxi service. I am sure that this will not be our last visit to the area which was so green and attractive with its gently wooded hills and vineyards.
Thank you again on behalf of all our family for a wonderful and memorable holiday. We have hundreds of lovely photo shots as a permanent reminder of a very happy family celebration.
Liz & David Grandage
Nous avons passé un excelent séjour dansla Casade Gouvães. En particulier nous avons apprecié la vue splendide et la piscine ainsi que l’excellent accueil et la cuisine suculente d’Estrela. Avons aussi trouvé le mobilier de très bon gout. Nous recommanderons cette maison sans réserve! Et reviendrons avec plaisir! Avons également apprecié la salle de jeux.
What a wonderful week away for the two of us - but we will be back again with friends as this place is too good not to share !!
Everything – from Estrela’s cakes to the view from the pool – was fantastic.
Jen & Derek
Superbe séjour – Merci pour le très gentil accueil.
Anne Sophie Cambay
We loved the food, the house, the pool and the wine. Many thanks.
Thanks for such a memorable celebration of the beauty of the Dourolandscape - and an important birthday.
It is a lovely spot, a lovely house and comes with a sense of hospitality that we will remember always!!
Charlotte and Arild Moldstad/Norway and South of France
Two wonderful weeks have vanished in a rush, but what a pleasure!!!
Thank you for a very nice stay and a memory for life. Waking up to the scenery and then the ever loving care of Estrela has been life bringing.
The house, the area, the surroundings and the weather, everything has been over any expectation, and last, but far from least - Estrela - thank you for fantastic breakfasts, cakes and your generous hospitality.
Hakon, Anika, Frida and Sara
Thank you for the most beautiful lunch with the most beautiful view!
Eva / Denmark
Thank you for introducing me to Fado and this beautiful gem of a house. Also thank you for great food & company.
Tanto el enclave comola casa son dignos de volver a visitar. La casa tiene todo lujo de detalhes y el entorno es realmente genuino y fascinante. Muchas gracias y mantengan este tesoro tan bien conservado!
What a lovely house and beautiful place to visit in Portugal. We were so delighted and pleased with everything during our stay this week. The people are wonderful specially Estrela, who went above and beyond her duty to help us! Obrigada Estrela! We want to come back and visit again.
Kevin and Jackie Callahan
What a fantastic place to spend time with family we have not been together with for a long while enjoyed the long evening news out on the patio with the wafts of gardenia. Recomend the wine tasting trip, some fantastic wines from the region. Pool was great! Thanks to Sergio from Distinctive Portugalfor his support and recommendations. Great holiday.
A thovoughlyenjoyable holidays with family and friends. Most of the time spent in the pool and playnig tennis. Lovely tonw wich we did it really visit as we were having too much fun in the villa - wich is beautiful. Will hopefully be back.
An amazing holiday spart with family who haven't been together for eight years, enjoyed all the character of the house in peaceful and quiet surroundings. Horseriding enabled us to see the montains oud villages moore intimately. Many thanks to Distinctive Portugal.
An amazing holiday spent with out whole family as part of our both birthday treat. What a wondeful venue in a country we both love, in my case because I was born in Lisboa and lived in that region for 17 years, so constantly have "saudades". The facilities here have been autostanding and we have made full use of the swimming pool, tennis court , billiard table and the table tennis. Many thanks to Sergio and Diana for the excellent customer care and support in making this a truly memorable holiday. MAny thanks to Carlos for making me realise I'm not too old for horse riding.
We had a fantastic time here with our family, it just wasn't long enough the baker mentioned by the Johnson family is wonderful as is their coffe!! The horse riding was amazing and Carlos really knows his stuff. The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves, the pool was the best form of entertainment, we found the kitchen more than adequate to cater for 7 adults and 5 children! We are sorry to be leaving the rest of the family today, but we have all had a wonderful time.
Beautiful location spacious peacely villa. Fantantic weather. Children loved the pool and the tennis camp. Enjoyed Ponte de Lima , Ponte da Barca and Geres (Bit of a drive to get there though)
A family of 14from the U.S. had a marvelous week here. The weather was perfect, and facilities served all our needs. Good visits with each areas, linqered over good food and drink, played tennis and swam, and made plans for our next family adventures. We love Portugal and its friendly people. We love the beauty of the area, and its history.
Apart from the rain (three out of seven days) we had a good stay in this beautiful house. We will recommend this place to anybody who likes to to spend his holiday in the north of Portugal.
Great place to celabrate our group's 40'th birthday - we were delighted with the residence and the ground. We did most cooking to enjoy a quiet and serenety of the villa. I think we set a record of 47 bottles of vinho cerde shared at the house. Great horseback riding in the area.
The villa was wonderful and blessfuly free of internet connections. Tennis and swimming and no rain for a week. "Extreme relaxing" in this undiscovered country!
Super three weeks of sun and just two days of cloud and rain. Toured area and enjoyed Braga, Viana do CAstelo, Guimarães, Pinhão, Amarante. Pre historic sites - Foz Coa and Citania de Briteiros a hightlight. Lovely peoples, lovely food. Thank you Sergio and Diana at Distinctive Portugal for your help.
Our second wonderful holiday at villa 219. We love the frendly relaxed people and fantastic food in the Minho. We recommend Carvalheira and our favourite, restaurante Sonho do Capitão.
Great holiday. Food fantastic. Local people very friendly. Enjoyed the wonderfully private villa where we played tennis every day. After 6 years holidaying in Tuscany, Minho has been a great discovery.
Hi Sergio,Just wanted to e mail you our grateful thanks for a lovely visit to Portugal. We had a fantastic holiday and couldn't have asked for more from our villa. It was beautifully decorated and in a fabulous location. It would have been good if the pool had been heated, especially at the beginning of our stay, but we soon got used to it. We bought some more glasses to replace the couple we broke and also purchased a corkscrew which we left as the villa didn't seem to have one. We would love to come and stay again so I will be in touch when we are next taking a holiday. Thank you again for all your helpful advice, next time we will arrange for the cook to come earlier in our visit! Many thanks again.
Hallo ,Ik zou nog wat laten weten,wat betreft de vakantie. Het was heerlijk. We hebben er echt van genoten. De villa was prima. Wel merkte je dat de aparatuur oud was. Het werkte wel, maar niet helemaal top. Wij hadden er verder geen problemen mee, je moest de vaatwasser b.v. niet te vol zetten. De afstand tot het strand is echt niet te lopen, dat staat in de beschrijving, maar dat is niet te doen. De beheerder was erg vriendelijk, borg werd niet eens naar gevraagd, en bij vertrek was alles prima ( bon, bon) zonder ook maar iets na te kijken. Handdoeken werden halverwege de week nog eens extra verschoond. En op vrijdag de bedden (wel erg hard), en er werd gepoetst. Wat ook leuk was, het is er totaal niet toeristisch. Je krijgt dan ook heel andere contacten met de mensen. In het winkeltje, en het cafeetje. Verder is er een hoop moois te zien in de omgeving, wat wij ook gedaan hebben. Alles lukt natuurlijk niet, dus een goede reden om nog eens te gaan! Kortom, een supervakantie, en ook een compliment voor de wijze waarop je dit allemaal regelt. Toch een stukje persoonlijke aandacht! Dat maakt het net even anders. Nog even over de autohuur.Wij hadden wel 2 autos,maar moesten de een bij Hertz, en de ander bij Avis ophalen. Beetje omslachtig. En de organisatie waar je activiteiten kon boeken, was erg wazig. Het ging volgens ons via Engeland, en ze konden na een dag pas wat zeggen. Ze wisten niet eens waar Esposende lag. Die activiteiten kan je daar dus ook niet doen. O ja, de route beschrijving klopt niet helemaal. Het is afslag 19 inplaats van 9, en je komt dan niet op de klinkerweg uit. Maar het was niet moeilijk te vinden. Dit vermeld ik, zodat je daar misschien wat mee kunt doen, of het in ieder geval weet. Groeten van een zeer tevreden gezin, dat zo weer terug zou willen.
Hoi, We zijn weer een paar dagen terug van opnieuw een mooie vakantie in Portugal. Over het eerste huis in de Douro-vallei niks dan lof. Wat is dat een mooi huis zeg en dan het uitzicht, echt heel prachtig. Ik kan je echt aanraden om daar ook naar toe te gaan. We kregen tot onze verrassing elke morgen een uitgebreid ontbijt, dus dat was echt heel luxe hoor! Wij vonden het zelf daar heel erg mooi, maar de kinderen hadden het na een paar dagen wel gezien, ze vonden het iets te rustig. Daarom was het goed dat het 2e huis dichter bij een grote stad was. Ook daar weer een prachtig uitzicht over Braga. Heel dicht bij de stad en toch helemaal geen herrie. O ja, de schuifdeuren van het zwembad gaan niet open, want dat heeft weer met de klimaatbeheersing te maken volgens Sergio. Het viel ons wel op dat het toch drukker wordt in de Minho-streek. De toeristen gaan deze streek dus echt ontdekken (en waarderen!).
Groetjes en wie weet tot een volgende keer.
Wij hebben een heerlijke zonnige vakantie gehad in Ponte de Lima. Het huis was fantastisch; van alle gemakken voorzien, met een prachtige tuin en een geweldig zwembad. Ook de speelkamer viel bij onze kinderen in goede aarde. We zijn dan ook voor ons doen vrij veel thuis gebleven. Jullie service was ook geweldig. Het was heel prettig dat jullie snel reageerden en ondanks onze late zoektocht en hoge eisen toch met een passend aanbod kwamen. We hebben zeker voor volgend jaar weer belangstelling in iets vergelijkbaars maar dan waarschijnlijk in Italie. We zullen te zijner tijd jullie site weer raadplegen.
Het verblijf in Ponte de Lima is ons uitstekend bevallen. Het huis is schitterend gelegen en leent zich prima voor een verblijf met een groep, veel ruimte buiten en binnen en nagenoeg alle kamers hebben sanitaire voorzieningen. Ponte de Lima is een leuk plaatsje. De locatie van het huis is zodanig dat tal van uitstapjes zijn te maken, zoals naar Viana do Castelo, Braga, Porto en niet te vergeten Santiago de Compostela. Wat uw service/site betreft, niets dan lof. Het weer kon beter, maar dat heeft geen afbreuk gedaan aan ons verblijf. Nog één opmerking, de routebeschrijving eindigt met een groen hek. In werkelijkheid gaat het om een grote groene deur. We hebben toch even moeten zoeken. Veel groene hekken in de buurt.
Beste, Hartelijk dank voor je prima adviezen voor onze Portugese vakantie. Het was een speciale vakantie dit jaar. We wilden ons 50-jarig huwelijksfeest met onze kinderen en kleinkinderen vieren door een week samen op vakantie te gaan. Dus zochten we een huis voor 18 personen; waarvan de jongste 8 weken en de oudste 75 jaar is. Met jouw advies kwamen we in villa 219 bij Ponte de Lima in Noord-Portugal terecht. Het huis overtrof onze stoutste verwachtingen. De grote groene poort, de oprijlaan met de blauwe hortensia’s, het prachtig gerestaureerde, oude landhuis met de zeer smaakvol ingerichte kamers. En, favoriet bij vooral de kinderen ( 11-19 jaar), het zwembad, de tennisbaan en de biljartkamer. Villa 219 is zeer geschikt voor een grote groep. Elke slaapkamer heeft een eigen badkamer, de eettafel is zo groot dat we er met z’n allen aan konden eten, de tuin heeft heerlijke stoelen en volop gelegenheid om je even terug te trekken en er is een barbecue en de mogelijkheid een private cook in te huren die heerlijk kookt. Villa 219 is ook een prima uitvalsbasis voor het ondernemen van verschillende activiteiten. Wij bezochten Porto en Ponte de Lima, wandelden in het natuurpark, lagen aan het strand en voeren met een kano op de Lima.
Een vriendelijke groet, Familie de Groot
We hadden een heerlijke vakantie in deze zeer ruime woning. Het zwembad was overheerlijk en is heeel veel gebruikt. Er is vanalles aanwezig in de woning zodat je je ook bij minder weer je niet zult vervelen.
De woning maar ook de tuin en alles eromheen wordt perfect bijgehouden, de service is enorm goed. Bij onze aankomst lag er dan zelfs ook vanalles klaar in de koelkast om de eerste honger en dorst te lessen. Enorm lieve mensen, jammer dat ze geen engels spreken, maar desalnietemin helpen ze je geweldig. De omgeving is ook heel mooi veel groen met vele leuke authentieke plaatsjes in de omgeving. De woning zelf ligt wat verder van het dorp af, zodat een auto o.i wel noodzakelijk is.
Er is een klein winkeltje onderaan de weg waar we wel broodjes en wat kleine dingen konden halen. al met al een perfecte vakantie.
Bedankt, groeten Margret Kortooms
Ons verblijf in Ponte De Lima was super! Héél vriendelijke mensen, alleen jammer dat ze enkel Portugees praten, maar we hebben elkaar verstaan. Het huis was super in orde, héél netjes, alle luxe dat we wensen konden. Ook héél kindvriendelijk want het volledige domiein was afgesloten.
Wat betreft de service van jullie, daar zijn we ook héél tevreden over.We zullen in de toekomst zeker nog van jullie diensten gebruik maken.
Hallo, Het was prachtig in Braga, veel gezien en erg genoten. Ook het Bos op het landgoed was de moeite waard. Paarden, herten, koeiren,zwijnen en een eekhoorn en een mooi wandel gebied. s-avonds natuurlijk buiten eten met uitzicht over een verlicht Braga met in de verte de "Bom Jesus" met zijn zigzag trappen. Dus wij kunnen er weer even tegen op naar de volgende vakantie!!!
Hallo, Het was prachtig in Braga, veel gezien en erg genoten. Ook het Bos op het landgoed was de moeite waard. Paarden, herten, koeiren,zwijnen en een eekhoorn en een
mooi wandel gebied. s-avonds natuurlijk buiten eten met uitzicht over een verlicht Braga met in de verte de "Bom Jesus" met zijn zigzag trappen. Dus wij kunnen er weer even tegen op naar de volgende vakantie!!!
Hallo, Wij zijn zeer te spreken over de service en de accommodatie.
Het huis en alle voorzieningen zijn geweldig. Wij hebben er een geweldige vakantie gehad. Het royale boodschappenpakket dat bij aankomst aanwezig was, inclusief gebak en geurige bloemstukken in huis verraste ons compleet. Wij hadden onderweg vanaf het vliegveld nog een supermarkt gezocht en inkopen gedaan.
Tot onze spijt hebben uw vertegenwoordiger ter plaatse nog extra lang op onze komst laten wachten. Doordat de verlichting bij de in de routebeschrijving genoemde apotheek niet aan was, hebben we nog even extra moeten zoeken, mogelijk kan de routebeschrijving op dat punt wat aangepast worden. Door het frisse weer, was het in de woning wat kil. Toen we vroegen of de verwarming ingeschakeld kon worden was dit niet mogelijk en kregen we het advies de open haard te stoken. Die gaf echter veel rookoverlast in huis. Dit was het enige minpuntje. Voor de rest een geweldig accommodatie met een geweldig service. Tot drie maal toe werd op gebak getrakteerd, open haard hout voor de buitenkeuken werd dezelfde dag aangevuld en zelfs een ontbrekend biljartkrijtje werd binnen een dag bezorgd. Ik bedoel maar, kan het nog beter?
Gr. Ria en Leo
Villa 206 was wonderful - spacious, clean and comfortable and beautifully equipped - and we loved all the fresh flowers and fruit and veg! The booking process was efficient and straightforward.
Thank you so much for all your help - we are recommending you to all our friends!
Sarah Crawford, 2010
Thank you for your help in organising our recent stay at Villa 219.
We were all impressed by the accommodation, and we particularly enjoyed the two evenings with the cooks. Opinion was divided about which was the better, but we would recommend either of them to any future guests, without hesitation. The service, efficiency and quality of food were excellent in both cases, and for our party worked out at under 15 euros per person on both occasions.
One problem has arisen today.
I am sorry that is has taken me so long to email you, but I just wanted to thank you so much for everything you and Sergio did for us while we were in Portugal. In particular, your assistance in helping us track down our lost luggage was SO helpful.
Portugal is beautiful and I definitely hope to visit again. Thank you, thank you for all of your hard work and for making the week so special!
Good morning Diana,
I do have to make you a huge compliment Diana! In all my years as a fashion editor and organizer of our fashion shoots I have never had contact to such well organized and cooperative agency! Thank you so far for everything you have organized for us. It has been a great help!
Have a nice day, kind regards
Julia Rebstock, BILD der FRAU
Het was heerlijk! Het uitzicht was inderdaad prachtig en het huis fijn.
We kwamen veel later aan dan verwacht, maar gelukkig deed de makelaar daar helemaal niet moeilijk over. Een aanrader! Ook jij bedankt voor het regelen en wellicht tot een volgende keer.
Distinctive Portugal is a treasure. Diana and Sergio, the founders of Distinctive Portugal, gave us excellent information, insightful suggestions, top-notch website, high quality villas and staff, and attentive, thoughtful, caring service. The first trip that we booked with Distinctive Portugal was just the two of us. We had a remarkable pousada-based experience travelling by car through the Douro, Minho, and Alentejo, ending in fascinating Lisbon. This year our three young-adult children and some friends joined us for a 2 week stay in a villa, near Ponte de Lima. It is a wonderful stone home, tastefully restored in the old style. It is very private, with sunsets over the valley and elegant grounds. A few highlights of this trip were a UEFA semi-final match in the stunning, award-winning Braga stadium, delightful, traditional meals prepared by a local cook in our spacious villa, a trip to the lively Barcelos market, and several memorable fish restaurant meals in Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima. Directly behind our villa are rugged hills with wild horses and endless miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking. The gorgeous, wide Cabedelo beach in Viana do Castelo is just 30 minutes away. All of these varied experiences were made possible through our relationship with Distinctive Portugal - Diana and Sergio guided us expertly in response to our varied interests and wishes. We highly recommend Distinctive Portugal to anyone interested in designing an exciting, interesting and "best value for travel dollars" holiday experience.
Kasia and George
Dear Diana, Sergio and Co,
Sorry for the delay in sending you this note - although our trip to Portugal seems to be already far away I would like to say on behalf of my family that we had a wonderful time (perhaps even the best holiday ever!) so thank you very much to all of you for your help and to the owner for allowing us to stay at her superb domain and most particularly a big thank you to Rosa who was so kind with us. I have already taken the liberty to forward your details on to one of my friends and who knows we might be in touch next year!
From all of us from Ireland, France and Tahiti,
With very warm regards,
Anne Thompson, Aug 2010
Dear Diana, Villa 206 was wonderful - spacious, clean and comfortable and beautifully equipped - and we loved all the fresh flowers and fruit and veg! The booking process was efficient and straightforward.
Thank you so much for all your help - we are recommending you to all our friends!
Just a quick note to let you know that we loved the visit to Foz Coa! Thank you once again for making the booking for us.
We had a wonderful time in Villa 310! The house was very comfortable. The weather was great and the people were very kind. The Douro area is magnificent, we want to thank Estrela for her hospitality and we want to recommend this Casa to our friends and family in the Netherlands. Estrela, you will always be welcome to visit us in our country.
The Kooistra family
The spectacular house, the magnificent “vistas” and the beautiful countryside were everything we expected and hoped for and even more! However, what made this a most truly wonderful and memorable visit was the grace and charm of our delightful hostess Estrela Rocha. She accommodated our every wish and need and we will always remember her! Mark and Mary Furey
This is a lovely spot. I truly enjoyed painting here, we are thrilled to have visited this Villa 310 and hope to return. Estrela is sweet, smart and very hospitable. Sincerely yours, Lorraine and Paul Furey
This is the most beautiful place that we have enjoyed great everything. Particular thanks to Estrela for her good english and her cooking.
We will be back.
Carol and Dave
Sometimes we get lucky – we were very lucky! The villa, the service, the breakfast – fantastic. See you soon.
I'm sorry that we were not able to meet up when we were in Viana. On our too brief visit we did however enjoy a coffee in the square!
We greatly enjoyed our holiday in Northern Portugal. Having been involved in town planning for the Porto Metropolitan Area in the mid 70's I was impressed to see the new development that had taken place since that time, particularly the investment in road infrastructure.
Thank you so much for the suggestions you made for our holiday, making all the hotel and pousada bookings and for putting us in contact with your associate car hire and villa companies. We were unfortunate that the weather was cool and wet for the first week spent in the villa near Paredes de Coura. However we greatly enjoyed the second week touring the north and staying in pousadas. The accommodation in the pousadas was excellent and we will I am sure return to the north in the not too distant future to visit other areas and pousadas. When we do we will definately be in touch with you to help make arrangements!
Thank you again.
Regards, Peter Cockhead
Recently I was part of a group of American vacationers who rented accommodations through Distinctive Portugal. Prior to and throughout our visit, Distinctive Portugal provided a truly remarkable level of service, support, advice, and assistance to our group as a whole and to individual travelers. In addition to arranging for our stay at Villa 223, a stunning estate near Ponte de Lima, Diana at Distinctive Portugal provided extensive advice about leisure and touring activities, from wine tours to hiking to soccer matches. When necessary, Diana made all of the arrangements for various activities, including two incredible Douro River Valleyexcursions for which she arranged transportation to the region, sailing on the river, reservations at top restaurants,and tours and tastings at several fascinating vineyards and wineries. Diana impressed us from the start by responding to all of our queries and requests very promptly, often the same dayeven given the time difference. We all agreed that her assistance enhanced our trip immensely, especially given the lack of English-language information about Northern Portugal on the Internet or in books.
The region is spectacular, but we would have missed a great deal of it if Diana had not provided as much advice and assistanceas she did! In addition, Diana identified two local chefs to prepare dinners for our group, coordinating meal dates, times, and menus both before and throughout our stay. The chefs were wonderfully skilled! The dinners they prepared for us were very reasonably priced and among the very best we enjoyed during our stay.
Diana also identified local babysitters for couples in our group who were traveling with their children, helping them tonegotiate a reasonable daily rate and clarifying requirements before our arrival and during our stay. American travelers might want to note a cultural difference in expectations for babysitting: the sitters were quite competent, ensuring that the children were safe, fed, and getting along well - but they generally were not as proactive in planning activities for the children and required explicit guidance.)
Finally, Distinctive Portugal went “above and beyond” for me personally when my rental car was towed while I was exploring on my own in Viana do Castelo. Because I could not contact my fellow travelers, I e-mailed Diana to ask if she could relay a message to them about my situation. Instead, her husband Sergio showed up at the police station to help me personally, a good thing because none of the officers at the station spoke any English! Sergio remained with me there for more than two hours, handling all negotiations with the police until they expedited the process and returned my vehicle to me that very same night.
I can honestly say that Distinctive Portugal saved my vacation from potential disaster! Northern Portugal is beautiful, and the opportunities it offers for touring and sightseeing are extensive and varied. I feel like I got to know the region quite well, and I hope to return some day. And when I do, I definitely will make arrangements through Distinctive Portugal, not only because the company provides access to truly unique and historical accommodations, but also because I know Diana and Sergio will help me enjoy a great deal more of what the region has to offer.
Just a quick note to say that we had a fantastic week at the villa. The weather was great, and as always, the villa was delightful. Portugal is a beautiful country to visit. Hope to use your services again sometime in the future.
Just a short message from me. I expect Joyce will fill you in later with the information she promised you.
I'm really grateful for the Portuguese lessons you gave. They gave me some of the listening practice I desperately need, but more importantly it was good to get some insight into Portuguese daily life and culture.
However, I have to admit to a lot of frustration when I try to listen and understand people speaking. Perhaps I shouldn't be eavesdropping, anyway ! When I watch telly, I can understand the political news or when there's been an accident (!) but the presenter of O Preco E Certo is completely impossible and the presenter of the Peter Pan programme I half understand (but not the children) I have to be patient. I must also admit that my vocabulary is not wide enough.
The other frustration is when I take the trouble to speak Portuguese I get English answers for my efforts. Some people take the trouble to stick to Portuguese. But others think they are helping by using English. But they might be right: I sometimes admit defeat and ask for English.
We enjoyed our 4 weeks in Portugal thoroughly. Joyce will probably tell you more. She has already started looking at websites for next year. For now, all the best from cloudy Yorkshire.
John Hoskison, UK, 2011
Hi Diana and Sergio
Thank you both very much for all your work to ensure great stays during our visit and good choice of auto. Sergio - we so much enjoyed our chat. A big thank you for taking the time to show us those lovely places and giving us some great insight about the area. Sorry we did not receive the kind offer of your bottle of wine but we left the next morning as we were meeting some friends in Porto and we had to be at the airport early the next morning - so - we concluded that it was best to stay in that area. Please let us know when it is convenient to call you for a further chat about the possibilities that we discussed.
Thank you so much, Diana!
It's nice to hear from you. The villa you describe looks like it will be lovely and, although Portugal is not in our plans for 2012, we had a lovely time there last summer and will surely visit again in the future.
When we were there in June at villa 219, I had mentioned that I was writing a book on villa travel, and as of last week it is now available. I thought you would want to know this for two reasons -- one is that Distinctive Portugal is mentioned in the book as a website we'd used and were pleased with the results from, and I'm sure it's nice to hear about "good press." The other reason I thought you might be interested is that the book is not so much a travelogue of our own experiences as it is a "how to" guide for prospective villa renters.
For a decade now, my friends (generally a much larger group than the one you met last June) have placed their trust in me to find and organize our villa (or chateau or castle) vacations. It's been a pleasure and a privilege from the start, but there actually is quite a bit of organizing, decision-making and finance-planning involved, and each year I find I learn something new about how to successfully navigate the process. Acquaintances and colleagues I've told about our villa adventures often react as though it's a nice but too-overwhelming idea, so I thought you might want to mention the book on your site as a resource for turning what may seem like a large undertaking into a simple one. The book is called Friends, A Villa & A Travel Bug (the byline being "How to Arrange a Fabulous Villa Vacation for Yourself and a Few Dozen of Your Closest Friends") and it can be purchase on amazon.com, BarnesAndNobel.com or most any other book sale site. Here's the link to the amazon.com page:
Thank you again for your help in making our time at Villa 219 lovely, and I look forward to contacting you to arrange our villa the next time we plan a visit to Portugal.?
We had a wonderful time at the villa. It was perfect for two families together. All the rooms were large and comfortable and the views from the balcony were fabulous. We loved the pool (and the way it had night lights and was always kept in superb condition). All the communal areas such as kitchen, dining room and sitting room were very well equipped and comfortable and easily large enough for this number of guests. I couldn’t recommend it enough and really hope to go back sometime.
Regarding our interaction with your company - I would also like to thank you for the quick way you responded to every question we had. Also, the meal by the local chef was just amazing and well worth every penny.
We were very satisfied with booking and advices before our trip. We also had to change our last night to airport hotel and also this was done quickly and without extra costs or hassle. The house was beautiful, host family friendly, scenary was just astonishing and surroundings exceeded our expectations in all levels.
Thank you for your message. We enjoyed a lot. A few of the group said that it was the best holiday of their life. We might try another country for change next summer but we hope to come back to Portugal as soon as possible. Here is a comment:
We spent a week and half in villa 234 on June 2011 with a group of 20 persons from Finland. We were very happy with the property. The villa was much nicer than the photos suggested. The kitchen was modern and big and well equipped. We had a cook twice to cook a dinner and we found it very delicious. We made a wine tour with a minibus in Douro Valley that Distinctive Portugal arranged and it was wonderful. We also tried horseback riding, hiking and a trip to nature park Peneda do Geres etc. Ponte de Lima is our favourite village to spend our vacation and we would recommend Distinctive Portugal to anyone. Liisa from Finland.
With kind regards
Dear Diana and Sergio,
We rented Villa 223 through you last spring and had an absolutely marvelous time. The accommodations were just spectacular and the location was terrific. Your services were wonderful. Maria was a delight and we loved her food. My friends who took your wine tour told me it was the highlight of the trip for them.
Now its time to look into a trip for 2012 and we are thinking about Spain....specifically the Rioja area. Does Distinctive Portugal have any contacts in that area? If so, we would love a referral.
I just think you all are the best! Hope this note finds you well.
Our stay was fantastic, we all loved the property and really appreciated your suggestions for things to do in the area. Our day trip to the Douro and our meal at DOC were definitely a highlight of the entire trip. The pool was very well used, and the maid service was appreciated (nothing like clean clothes when you are travelling).?
The booking process was very easy, the website was accurate in the way it depicted the property and I was very impressed with the ease with which the transaction was done, from half way around the World. Everything was clear and there were no surprises, which is always a good thing when you are booking on behalf of a number of people, sight unseen. Overall our week in the Villa has been described as the ‘best part’ of our three week trip.
Beste , Het was weerom een prachtige vakantie in Portugal. De villa was SUPER. Zoals je dus al eerder vermeld had was de locatie inderdaad rustiger dan de vorige . De villa was zeer ruim en netjes. We hebben wel geen afgevaardigde gezien van het bureau om een waarborg aan te geven,maar hadden wel een nummer van de poetsvrouw gekregen in geval er problemen zouden zijn. Nu zijn we weer een dikke maand later en hebben we allemaal toch weer ontzettend veel zin om de klok effe terug te draaien om te genieten van een gezellig samen zijn en te genieten van de kinderen en het "niets" doen. Hierbij zouden we je ook nog eens ontzettend willen bedanken voor de ongelofelijke assistentie en informatie die we telkens weer van je konden ontvangen. Ik heb in onze vrienden en familie kring al véél reclame gemaakt over jullie organisatie . Omdat dit jaar het derde op rij was dat we naar Portugal zijn geweest,opteren we om volgend jaar Italie een bezoekje te brengen. Hebben jullie daar ook iets ? Nogmaals bedant voor de fijne samenwerking en misschien tot later!
Coming back from Portugal with great satisfaction. We loved the ease and sympathy of people and the beautiful land. Your wish came true, we had an enjoyable stay in Portugal and the land of the Pousadas as you can see from the photos attached.