The Casa Melo Alvim is located in the centre of Viana do Castelo in the North of Portugal.
Casa Melo Alvim, the oldest urban mansion in Viana do Castelo, was built in manueline style in 1509 by Pedro Pinto, brother-in-law of the famous Vianense navigator Joao Alvares Fagundes, discoverer of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.
By the end of the century, Francisco Melo Alvim, the original owner's son in law, extended the building doubling its size and adding the oriental crenellations which he had seen whilst travelling in the new lands found by the Discoverers in the East.
It was further extended in the 17th and 19th Centuries.
The house has been sympathetically converted into an hotel, retaining a wealth of original features, not least of which is the impressive Baroque staircase leading up from the entrance hall.
The public areas are comfortably furnished and create a calm and relaxed atmosphere to sit and read or to chat with friends.
The sixteen bedrooms and four suites are individually furnished in traditional Portuguese style. All the rooms are air conditioned and have en suite bathroom, cable television, direct dial telephone, mini bar, safe and hairdryer.
Facilities at the hotel include air conditioning, bar, television room, art gallery, two meeting rooms with audiovisual equipment and data show. There is also a lounge with fireplace and games table. Casa Melo Alvim has car park.
Featuring on the menu in most restaurants is 'bacalhau' the national dish of Portugal and always served at Christmas time.
This specialty is because the Portuguese fishing fleet followed Joao Fagundes to the Grand Banks and delivered the cod to a settlement he had founded in Newfoundland. There it was dried and salted for the journey back to Portugal. This dried and salted fish is more expensive than fresh cod but nowadays the main supplier is Norway due to over fishing.
The 'Piano Bar' provides a restful area for a drink. Outside is the garden with shaded nooks for enjoy on a hot summer's day.
The Hotel is situated in the centre of the old sailing city of Viana do Castelo. The area which was within the previous walls has been pedestrianised and has many fine squares and buildings.
The city became very prosperous from trade with Brazil which was a former colony of Portugal. The Portuguese government passed a law which required all goods going from Brazil to Europe to pass through Portugal.
There are a number of excellent golf courses in the area.
Casa Melo Alvim has bicycles available for guests. Free wireless internet is available at the hotel.
As well as the many interesting towns and cities of Portugal including Porto, Braga, Guimaraes, in Galicia in Spain, you have Vigo, Baiona and, further afield, Santiago de Compostela.