1920s Hotel Guadiana reopens as the five-star Grand House
The Guadiana Hotel in Vila Real de Santo António, renamed the ‘Grand House’, the 1920s building that has been undergoing extensive renovations, reopened its doors today, February 7th.
The interior has been remodelled to upgrade the hotel to five-star and the exterior has been saved from further degradation by a complete renovation.
The building work was carried out by the Municipal Council of Vila Real de Santo António’s company VRSA SGU, at a cost of around €2 million.
The funding came from the Jessica initiative, an investment fund developed by the European Commission in collaboration with the European Investment Bank and the Development Bank of the Council of Europe.
The Grand House hotel now has 15 doubles, 3 junior suites and 13 single rooms, all with the current standards of comfort and exigency.
The project included the restoration of a property in Ponta da Areia at the mouth of the Guadiana River to create a beach club. The hotel also has a business centre, bar and a restaurant.
The hotel and the beach club will be managed by the Grand House Algarve group, under a contract in which the company will pay monthly rent to the municipality.
In parallel with the restoration of the old Guadiana Hotel, it is agreement with the Pestana hotel group to convert to number of old Council-owned properties in the city centre, into accommodation.
The original Hotel Guadiana was designed by the Swiss architect Ernesto Korrodi and was built between 1918 and 1921, opening in 1923 mainly serving guests doing business with the cannery, Manuel Ramirez.
The Hotel Guadiana, as the name implies, was located at the mouth of this important river and is said to be the oldest hotel south of the Tagus River, marking the start of the Algarve tourism at the beginning of the 20th century. The existence of this building is due to the initiative of the industrious Manuel Garcia Ramirez, who also became renowned for his family fish tin business.
Having been designed by Swiss architect Ernesto Korrodi (1870-1944), who worked on more than 400 establishments in Portugal in his lifetime, the Hotel Guadiana opened in 1926 and was arguably the most modern and refined to be found anywhere in the area at that time.
At the helm was hotel director Conrado Wissman, considered the first hotelier of Portugal,who launched his impressive career in Portugal after coming from Germany in the last decade of the 19th century. An eclectic combination of decorative richness, Art Nouveau elements and a touch of baroque style would become characteristic of the personal style of Korrodi, who was also responsible for the restoration of the castle and the famous Church of Santa Catarina da Serra in Leiria.
The main facade of this beautiful hotel, which has three floors and an attic, is adorned with a tile panel featuring decorative motifs typical of the time, painted in various colors. Within Vila Real de Santo António, the hotel is superbly located, right in front of the marina overlooking both the Portuguese and the Spanish coast.