Luxury boutique hotel waiting for better economic times

by INÊS LOPES [email protected]

A luxury boutique hotel in Estoi near Faro plans to reopen in the spring, contrary to a report in a Portuguese newspaper which said it had closed and put 21 employees out of work.

Management at Monte do Casal, which has been operating for the last 25 years, was accused by employees of leaving them jobless and owed wages in the report in the Portuguese daily Correio da Manhã last month.

However, a spokesman for the hotel told the Algarve Resident this week that it had cash flow problems which led to delays in payment since November, but that he wanted to clarify the situation and to put the minds of employees at rest.

Briton Bill Hawkins, speaking on behalf of his father Mike Hawkins, director of Paradise Scenery Limitada, which now manages the hotel, said that the employment contracts for the 21 workers had been transferred from the former Monte do Casal Limitada management company to Paradise Scenery Limitada, which, he said, was working hard to ensure a stable work environment for its staff.

“Although Monte do Casal has closed for the winter period, the management company has every intention of opening the hotel in April,” said Bill Hawkins.

“No one has been fired or is in a lay-off situation, and Paradise Scenery has not taken on new staff as was reported in Correio da Manhã. That information is incorrect and it’s unnecessary to cause more frustration and distress to employees, who have already been contacted by the company to clarify the situation.”

He added: “There is a job to come to in the spring and employees will be paid for the winter months as their work contracts have not been suspended.”

Monte do Casal is currently looking for financing and investors to ensure operations and employment stability.

Bill Hawkins bought the 18th century farmhouse some 25 years ago and turned it into a luxury boutique hotel, including restaurant, swimming pools, gym and leisure areas. Although he is currently not involved in the business, he says he cannot detach himself completely from its day-to-day running.

“There’s no denying that times are tough but it is hoped the hotel’s cash flow problems will be resolved soon,” said Bill Hawkins.