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"the villa and its walled garden are a bit of a sanctuary"

We booked this villa to serve as accommodation for a family gathering for a family wedding in Porto. From the moment we arrived, Sebastian and his wife (Helder's stepfather and mother) could not have been more helpful (communicating in a common language of French because we don't speak Portuguese), providing 3 sets of keys and gate remote controls so that the different family units could operate independently. There were sufficient bedrooms to accommodate 10 of us in privacy and comfort. The days we spent at the villa were centred on the pool house and swimming pool and although the kitchen area is a bit cramped we tended to cook outside on the BBQ. The villa is about 15 minutes' drive from the airport on the A41, leaving at Junction 7 and ringing the bell at the tall wrought iron gates for initial access (after which we could use the remote controls provided by Sebastian). There is a very good rail service in to Sao Bento rail station in the centre of Porto (Euro 3.35 for an adult return) from Ermesinde, about 5 minutes' drive from the villa, where there is free parking at the station. The chapel in the villa grounds is dated 1740 and the pool house is dated 1883 but the surrounding area is mostly relatively new urban developments, so the villa and its walled garden are a bit of a sanctuary. However, there are 2 supermarkets and a pharmacy within easy walking distance and the local shops just outside the gates include a hair dresser and fishmonger (who advised us which fish were best for BBQ!). We loved the villa and its amenities (pool, tennis court, snooker table...) and its seclusion and the space - we were able to host a post-wedding get -together for 18, in total! However, we can't thank Sebastian and his wife enough for their kindness. On the second day of our stay, my wife damaged her back seriously enough for us to seek medical attention at the nearby private hospital. Sebastian drove us to the hospital in his car and explained to the staff what the problem was and ensured that my wife was seen by an English-speaking consultant. He waited for the 2 hours or so we were at the hospital and then drove us back to the villa. He also provided hot pads to ease the discomfort and frequently asked my wife how she was feeling. On the day of the wedding, he even offered to drive us to the wedding venue! The villa accommodates a lot of people so we may not have the opportunity to rent it again but, if a wedding anniversary party for similar numbers was in the offing, we would not hesitate to return, especially as my wife was unable to take full advantage of the luxurious accommodation on this occasion.

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