By Antler's roaming editor, Sarah Jappy
Welcome to the debut edition of Unpacked, our brand-new hotel series profiling exciting places to take your Antler luggage to. First up: M.Ou.Co. in Portugal. Enjoy.
In three words: ‘Stay. Listen. Play.’ (This is M.Ou.Co.’s motto, after all.)
Born from a love of music and created by three vinyl-junkie friends, M.Ou.Co. is a hip hotel cum cultural space in Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal. Set in a vast former warehouse spanning 5,000 square metres, M.Ou.Co. opened at the end of 2021, adding a generous dash of cool to a city better known for its industrious side.
Style-wise, the hotel channels an artful vintage vibe, in a nod to Porto’s abundance of vintage stores and love of mid-century style. More than 50% of the furniture is second-hand, with rugs, lamps, chairs, sofas, plant pots and more sustainably sourced from across the city; bespoke modern pieces have been deliberately designed to echo vintage classics. In a nod to its sartorial leanings, the hotel is launching a vintage tour this autumn, showcasing the city’s best stores, warehouses and eating-and-drinking spaces with retro credentials.
There’s (a lot) more to M.Ou.Co. than stylish sleeping quarters and covetable furniture, though. In addition to its 62 bedrooms, rewards for guests include a 50-seater restaurant, a bar, a garden with al fresco dining, a little outdoor swimming pool, a wonderful music library, musical instruments for free hire and a concert hall with a capacity of 180 seated and 300 standing guests. Cor blimey.
You’ll find M.Ou.Co. in Porto’s characterful, eastern Bonfim district: a quiet residential area that’s rapidly rising in the cool stakes. M.Ou.Co. is tucked away down an unassuming side street, with the closest Metro station (Heroísmo) a short walk away, connecting guests to the city centre in less than 10 minutes.
Continue the music connection and enjoy porto tónicos in the shady courtyard garden at local café and bar Dona Mira, run by two musicians from Brazil (admire the photos on their wall of fame). Order light bites if you get hungry. Speaking of food, don’t miss Porto’s charming Tia Tia restaurant, which shares M.Ou.Co.’s passion for art and music. Run by a husband-and-wife team, Cátia Roldão and Tiago Feio (hence the name), Tia Tia offers contemporary, meat-free Portuguese cuisine and a superstar natural wine list.
There’s a stash of vinyls to (almost) rival M.Ou.Co.’s and the restaurant’s bright-white walls are decorated with witty, colour-pop artworks, many produced by lovely artist Cátia. Modestly titled dishes showcase fresh produce and thoughtful flavour-and-texture combos: mackerel with almond cream, apple and radishes, or a dessert of banana mousse with nutty granola and S. Jorge cheese, for example. Pick up Portuguese gifts from concept store Good Things Will Happen Soon (and stay for a glass of wine or two in the sun-soaked garden).
What to pack
Sneakers for cobbled-street Porto strolling; an appetite for music.
Get the look
Dinner at M.Ou.Co.’s excellent restaurant (order the clams if they’re on the menu and crunch away happily on the crisp, fried bread slivers that accompany them, dunking said bread in the deliciously oceanic broth). Borrow a guitar from reception and strum away in your room. Request an in-room turntable and raid the music library for new and old favourite vinyls. Sip a coffee starring M.Ou.Co.’s own blends in the mellow bar with a pastel de nata (custard tart). On warm days, cool down with a dunk in the hotel’s shimmering cerulean pool and admire the russet-tiled, Porto-rooftop views. If you’re inspired by your bespoke, in-room artwork (courtesy of artist Xan_Xan and COISA atelier), take a trip to Serralves art gallery and gardens.
Our editor says
‘M.Ou.Co. is an unmissable treat in characterful Porto, arguably Portugal’s most delicious city. Enjoy tomato rice and octopus in the restaurant, give the likes of Miles Davis a spin on your in-room turntable and embrace the M.Ou.Co. approach to life: relaxed, cool, playful – and always with a focus on musical satisfaction. The hotel has a refreshingly chilled approach to hospitality and an effortlessly cool design, with covetable, butterscotch-coloured leather furniture, paint-free interiors and creative branding. Just go – your ears, eyes and taste buds will thank you.’
With M.Ou.Co.’s focus firmly on the music, it’s gotta be Stamford, our quietest suitcase yet. Thanks to Stamford’s double-spinner Hinomoto wheels, developed in collaboration with Mitsubishi, your luggage won’t cause any squeaky, creaky interruptions to the hotel’s masterful playlists. Phew.
Rates B&B priced from €85 per room per night. Find out more.