Looking for a hip music-themed hotel? Head on over to Porto in Portugal and stay at the M.Ou.Co. hotel where you can hire guitars and listen to records.
Introducing you to the M.Ou.Co. hotel in Porto.
When I say Porto’s nightlife is eclectic, I really do mean it. The bars in Porto can be found in the most random of places from former churches to courthouses.
If you are looking for a great night out in Porto, you won’t be disappointed. However, nocturnal shenanigans aside, there’s a whole lot more to Porto than meets the eye, but as House of Coco’s Music Editor, one of the main things I look for in a city break is what gigs are on whilst I am in town.
There’s just something about going to a gig in a different country isn’t there?! So, when I had the opportunity to visit Portugal’s second largest city, the first thing i looked at was what bands were in town during my visit.
As luck would have it, there were a few gigs on – Simple Minds and James. Both of which were absolutely incredible.
It was clear that this trip was going to be heavily music-focused and a large part of that was where I stayed, at the music-themed hotel M.Ou.Co. in the hip neighbourhood of Bonfim.
This quirky district is a twenty minute walk from the centre of Porto and is chock-full of coffee shops, little bars and the odd vintage boutique or two. Despite being a relatively busy district, it’s a peaceful escape from the city. There’s a sun-drenched courtyard where you can relax or enjoy a drink or two and there’s even has a swimming pool which is a lovely addition.
If there was ever an ideal hotel for a Music Editor to stay, it’s M.Ou.Co. whose ethos is “Stay. Listen. Play.”. Even the name M.Ou.Co. – M=música; Ou=outras; Co=coisas (Music and Other things…) emphasises how music is EVERYTHING at this hip hideaway.
Fancy channeling your inner Sheeran, Swift or Styles? Why not try one of the musical instruments available to play in your room and rock out? We hired the most beautiful Ibanez guitar that played like an absolute dream! What other hotels can lay claim to having their very own guitar menu?!
There are also rehearsal rooms where you can rock out and a treatment centre where musicians can enjoy specialist treatments. M.Ou.Co has devised a collection of unique ‘Music and Health’ programmes where musicians can visit the performance clinic and have a specialist assess and advise how to integrate health into instrumentalist training.
The night prior to our arrival, the hotel hosted indie rockers James who used this space as a warm up gig prior to their electric gig at the Super Bock Arena in Porto which was one of two gigs we attended whilst staying in Porto. On Saturday nights, they even have a DJ on hand to get the party started.
It’s fair to say that music is at the heart of everything at M.Ou.Co.- you can even pick five vinyls to listen to in your room too. Whilst there’s some eclectic choices in the music library, there’s also some evergreen classics in the shape of Nirvana, The Doors, Beastie Boys and Curtis Mayfield.
Whatever your musical leanings, you are certain to find what you are looking for in the music library which has over 600 records to choose from.
The hotel’s friendly staff had set up a record player in our room and it was really lovely to enjoy some downtime from exploring the city and relaxing with a coffee while listening to records.
You can even borrow books too – all music-orientated as well. Music is piped out everywhere in the hotel, at the bar, and in the restaurant and you can expect to hear tracks from everyone from The Beatles and The Cure to blues artists and more.
There’s a professional sound bar system and sound amplifier which you can use in conjunction with any of the musical instruments that you hire from reception.
Whether you are a newbie wanting to test the waters of guitar playing or you are an experienced musician, you will be impressed with the different guitars available at M.Ou.Co. You can borrow guitars from world-renowned brands like Gretsch, Gibson and more.
M.Ou.Co. is a relatively new hotel, a former warehouse that has received a meticulous redevelopment, it’s been transformed into a contemporary space filled with light (and music!) the rooms are a smidge on the small side, but are light and airy.
Like the rest of the hotel, the aesthetic is minimalist with post-industrial leanings, with large windows and high ceilings, but still retains a real sense of chic.
There’s plenty of storage which is always helpful, although a couple of things that were omitted from the room such as toiletries and bathroom hooks which would have been appreciated. Again, thematically, all the rooms are named after a piece of music which is a lovely touch.
Guests are presented with a smartphone upon arrival which is a nifty little addition which provides you with a direct way to contact the hotel. It also has little guides and recommendations for local attractions, things to do and restaurants.
The breakfasts in the hotel are excellent, as a coeliac on a gluten-free diet, they were able to provide me with some delicious treats which included gluten-free bread, pastries and muffins. The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner and is set in a relaxing room with exposed brick walls, lush greenery and some of the best coffee in the city.
We ate both lunch and dinner at the restaurant and were really impressed with the food that was served. If you are looking for a budget-friendly lunch, then definitely eat at the hotel’s restaurant, the menu changes every week and you can enjoy three courses (which includes a starter and dessert buffet) plus a ‘main’ for less than 20€ each.
When in Porto, there’s no shortage of amazing restaurants to choose from, but by far and away our favourite was tia tia. Not only was the food absolutely delicious, but guess what? It was music themed too.
Similarly to M.Ou.Co. guests can choose what they want to listen to – there’s a fantastic selection of records to choose from and we adored trying some of chef Tiago Feio’s menu which is centered around a combination of pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan dishes.
Tia tia’s style of cuisine is contemporary, seasonal Portuguese and all ingredients are sourced locally. We enjoyed carefully-crafted dishes like turnip, cashew and chilli oil, the most amazing mackerel, almonds and apple dish and line-caught hake, carrot and chard – absolutely exquisite! The service was exceptional and I would strongly recommend visiting tia tia whilst in Porto.
If you are looking for a city break that delivers on incredible things to do, an excellent selection of restaurants, a lively and vibrant nightlife coupled with a hotel that offers a completely unique experience that focuses on music, then definitely add Porto to your travel bucket list.
How to book:
Stay – Rooms at M.Ou.Co. start at 78€ for a basic room or 110€ for rooms with a kitchenette. Book via the hotel’s website for the best price. It’s situated around 45 minutes by metro from the airport and is a mere five-minute walk from Heroismo metro station.
Fly – Fly with TAP Air, Portugal’s flight carrier. We flew from London Gatwick directly into Francisco Sá Carneiro airport in less than two and a half hours.
Explore – We were lucky enough to be gifted two Porto cards from Visit Portugal which is essentially a city pass and a great way to explore the city on a budget. You can purchase one for 24, 48, 72 or even 96 hours which will give you free entry to the main museums, monuments, and tourist attractions in Porto. You are also entitled to a huge 50% discount on the entrance fees to a further 14 landmarks such as the Clérigos Tower, the Military Museum and many more.
You can purchase the Porto Card directly upon arrival, at the Airport or at any of the official tourist offices in the city.