THE MALTESE President, His Excellency Fenech Adami, officially inaugurated Lisbon’s latest luxury five-star hotel last week. The Hotel Corinthia Alfa, formerly the Hotel Alfa, has been completely gutted, renovated and updated by Maltese hotel group Corinthia Hotel International (CHI). The group was founded in Malta in 1962 by the Pisani family and this flagship hotel is the latest in a string of European acquisitions, including hotels in Prague, Budapest, St. Petersburg and Tripoli.
The opening ceremony, which was also attended by the Portuguese Minister for Tourism, Dr. Telmo Correia, included a five-course gala dinner and an hour-long classical music concert by the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra. Under the guidance of conductor, Brian Schembri, the orchestra delighted an audience of around 500 guests with light-hearted and playful pieces by Edvard Grieg, Amadeus Mozart, Gioachini Rossini, Pyotr Il’yich and Tchaikovsky.
During the gala dinner, attended by the cream of Lisbon’s business community, the President of Malta was presented with a gift of Atlantis Crystal by the President and Chairman of the Corinthia Hotel Group, Alfred Pisani. He went on to address the minister and guests, saying: “I thank you for sharing this evening with us, and, more importantly, for allowing us to become investors and hotel operators in your beautiful city.”
The hotel was originally built in the 1980s, as a four-star property by German developers, and for many years was a leading congress hotel in the heart of Lisbon’s new financial district. In August 2001, the now public company International Hotel Investments Plc (IHI) bought the property and immediately began planning the the total refurbishment and upgrading of the hotel to a five-star rating. These plans were finalised in February 2003 when the building was shut down and transformed in a 14-month refurbishment project. It was stripped of all its interior decorations, brought back to a concrete shell, and given a complete refit.
The top four floors of the hotel, which had never been used by the former hotel owners, were also included in the redevelopment, thus increasing the total number of bedroom from 430 to 517. There is now an executive lounge and plans for a health and fitness spa. “I sincerely believe that we have, in the new Corinthia Alfa Hotel, a truly modern and functional hotel, that can take pride of place among the leading establishments in this beautiful capital city,” added Alfred Pisani.