Portuguese architecture firm Saraiva + Associados has revealed a project to turn Albufeira’s old bullring, which closed definitively in 2021, into a hotel. The announcement was made via Facebook post on March 7.
“This project consists of transforming Albufeira’s Bull Ring (in Algarve) into a hotel. An architectural refurbishment that privileges public space by developing high standard urban furniture. The shading skin cladded onto the existing structure will offer a simple and unifying appearance, of contemporary dynamics, which will provide urban comfort to the adjacent residential area,” said the architecture firm.
Comments on the post have been mixed, with some praising the idea and others questioning whether the project is realistic considering the physical limitations imposed by nearby infrastructures, such as the Aldi supermarket.
The Resident contacted Saraiva + Associados for further information about the project but did not receive a response at the time of going to press.
In 2021, the bullring’s new owners – who purchased the whole complex which includes 40 apartments, a shopping centre, a movie theatre, a disco and a bingo hall – had revealed plans to turn the building into “something pleasant”.
“Our goal is to implement an urban rehabilitation project in the whole area, preserving the memory and identity of the town’s bullring,” Jorge Duarte, the Algarve spokesperson for tourism investment group Corcova, told Lusa news agency at the time.
Located at one of the town’s main entrances, Albufeira’s bullring was inaugurated in 1982 and became arguably the Algarve’s most popular venue for bullfights. Before it closed, it was the only bullring in the Algarve that still operated regularly.
While data from the Inspection Board of Cultural Activities (IGAC) shows that the Albufeira bullring hosted 20 bullfights in 2019, the most out of any bullring in Portugal, each show only attracted an average of 813 spectators. In fact, the number of spectators had been decreasing steadily for four years, says IGAC.
This may have been a result of the growing number of protests that started being held outside the bullring during bullfights, creating constant tension between demonstrators and bullfighting aficionados.