When we think of Portuguese treats, chocolate isn’t the first sweet that comes to mind. We’ve been so distracted by the scrumptious pastel de natas that we almost missed this. Big mistake. Because Portugal is home to Fabrica do Chocolate — a chocolate factory that’s been converted into a hotel. And oh boy, do we ever want to pay a visit.
Fabrico do Chocolate, was built in 1914 in Viana do Castelo by local entrepreneur José Lima. It is the oldest chocolate factory in Portugal. Sadly, by 2004, the factory stopped producing chocolate. Never fear reader, this made way for its current incarnation. Because bigger is always better, especially when it comes to chocolate, we want to introduce you to our new favourite place. Behold a chocolate-themed hotel, a chocolate shop, restaurant and there’s even a chocolate museum.
Of course, we can’t talk about a chocolate-themed factory hotel without at least a passing reference to Willy Wonka. There’s an entire hotel suite dedicated to the beloved fictional character. Guests will enjoy a load of brilliant chocolate books, including the Roald Dahl classics.
It doesn’t stop there. There’s also a suite themed around the film Chocolat. And you’ll find a Dali-themed room here as well. Fun fact, he was known to be a huge chocolate lover. We can’t say we’re surprised. And of course, there’s a super romantic chocolate room full of tasty clichés.
Once you finish eating all the chocolate in your room, try your hand at making your own with the chocolate workshops. First, make some bonbons. Then, try your hand at some chocolate craft. And finally, take part in any of the other scrumptious activities on offer.
And of course, there is plenty of chocolate on the restaurant menu. If you have something of a sweet tooth, the whole chocolate experience is magical. Especially for kids.
Fabrica do Chocolate hits the nails the themed hotel thing on the head. It also happens to be in a beautiful location inside a historical Art Deco building.
We reckon once you’ve arrived, you’ll never want to leave. Nor do we blame you. Just let us know when you want to go and we will help you sort out your tasty stay!
Viana de Castelo, north Portugal
You can visit any time the chocolate craving strikes. And if you are anything like us, that means all the time!
What you need to know:
This hotel is busy over Easter and school holidays so book well in advance. Make sure to book early and take advantage of the special surprises and arrange one of the birthday treats on offer.