Praia da Rocha´s oldest hotel revamped

Hotel Bela Vista, in Praia da Rocha, has recently reopened after a three-year renovation project that cost several million euros and saw the distinctive gothic building emerge as a five-star, luxury boutique hotel and spa.

Algarve Car Hire Hotel Bela Vista Praia da RochaIncluded in the conversion is a new bedroom wing, a complete overhaul of the exterior to create a decked swimming pool and contemporary relaxation area, and the redecoration of the main house’s existing bedrooms and communal areas.

Thanks to the new wing the number of bedrooms has been increased from a dozen to 38. A Spa and a conference room, which boasts natural light and beach views, will be up and running as of 1 March, next year.

In total, €7 million was invested in the revamp.

Sales Manager Gonçalo Narciso told The Portugal News: “There was a niche for such a product in this area and the family has been looking to renovate the hotel, so everything fell into place.

“It all went to plan but building a swimming pool, which the hotel did not have before, from scratch, took its time.”

Opened in 1918 as a palatial family home the building was reinvented as a hotel in the 1930s and is argued to have been the first hotel to open in Praia da Rocha.

Owned by the Proença de Carvalho family, it was decided a few years ago that the management should be handed over to a company specialising in luxury and boutique hotels. In 2009 the Phoenix Hotel Management company was appointed to take the reins. Some of Phoenix’s other units include the Château de la Chèvre D’Or, on the Côte D’Azur (France), the Riad Villa Blanche, in Agadir (Morocco), and the Port Palace, Monte Carlo (Monaco).

The family also enlisted the services of acclaimed interior designer Graça Viterbo to reinvent the guestrooms and communal areas. Taking into account original features such as the tiled plaques, stained glass windows and wooden elements like the sweeping staircase – all of which are almost a century old – the designer carefully chose colour schemes, fixtures and finishings to complement these features. She successfully pulled off a fusion of traditional Portuguese-Algarvean heritage and clean-cut modern design.

In testimony to its successful rebirth Mr. Narçiso said that many of the hotel’s current guests, who are regulars and knew the Bela Vista ‘before’, are all very impressed with its new image.

He also said that the Proença de Carvalho family are “very pleased” with the outcome. “It was a family-affair and they were very involved” with the transformation, he said.

Another new introduction arrived in the form of Chef Rogério Calhau, whose ambitions for the Bela Vista’s Restaurant include, ultimately, giving Praia da Rocha its first Michelin star. The chef’s menu promises to offer modern, gourmet food made from fresh local and regional produce that reflects the surroundings.

In an attempt to share the hotel’s new-found identity with the greater public, the Bela Vista is encouraging non-guests to sample its facilities. Chill-out evening sessions with various DJs will be held on the pool deck, weekly, from Thursday to Sunday, starting 8pm onward.

The restaurant is also now open to the public.

Currently enjoying a “soft-opening”, the Bela Vista Hotel & Spa will close on 1 November this year before opening “for good”, on 1 March, 2012.


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