Pestana to open five-star “pousada” in VRSA

Portuguese hotel group Pestana has announced plans to open a five-star, 57-room “pousada” (state-owned historic hotels run by the group) in the centre of Vila Real de Santo António.

Representing a €3 million investment, the hotel is set to open in the summer of 2018 and will be divided into four buildings located in and near the town’s Marquês do Pombal square.

The buildings will be rented out to the group by the council for 30 years. A fifth building could also be included in the project.

Construction work is expected to start in the third quarter of this year.

The pousada will include indoor and outdoor pools, a spa and restaurant, and create around “30 direct and indirect jobs”.

The news came in a press conference held on Monday (May 22) at the town’s former customs office.

“We think this is the perfect place for our new vision of our pousadas. On the one hand, we have to be where tourists like to be – in the Algarve. On the other, we want to take advantage of buildings that are already built and classified,” said José Theotónio, CEO of the Pestana group, adding that he has “no doubts that a region like the Algarve, given its characteristics, has advantages compared to rival destinations.

“If we work well and make the right investments, we will always be competitive on an international level.”

The company’s goal is to target a different market in VRSA and attract a new type of tourist.

“The pousada won’t try to compete with the already existing hotels,” said Luís Castanheira Lopes, president of the pousadas group.

Meanwhile, VRSA mayor Luís Gomes is confident that more luxury hotels in the town will mean good news for the borough.

“Twelve years ago, nobody heard anything about five-star hotels here in the centre of our town. Now we have two moving forward – the Guadiana Hotel which we hope to open at the end of this summer, and the pousada which will open next year,” he told reporters, adding that there are also plans to build a new hotel inside the borough’s sports complex. Gomes said construction work should begin by the end of 2017.

What is a “pousada”?
Pousada is the name given to 34 state-owned hotels in Portugal which have been run by Pestana since 2003.

They are generally located in architecturally-interesting historic buildings throughout the country. The Algarve has three pousadas: one overlooking Cape St Vincent in Sagres, another a former palace in Estoi and the third a converted convent in the historic centre of Tavira.