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Photo: Hotel Vila Foz
Portugal‘s Porto is an iconic city that has become an increasingly enormous global tourist location. This isn’t without reason: Porto has a wealth of experiences in plain sight, wearing a lot of its history proudly on its sleeve. More accurately, on its various public walls and hotels. Here, tourists will find plenty of culturally significant art casually hanging around for all to enjoy and experience. They are draped over buildings to showcase the location’s richness to the general public. However, these artworks aren’t the only sign of the city’s spirit. Also present are art museums to help people experience seminal sights and sounds that make Porto the place that it is. All of this creates a thriving tourist culture that Porto actively leans into.
Hotel Vila Foz promises a different experience. According to CEO Paulo Costa, their intention with designing Hotel Vila Foz was to not only bring the neighborhood of Foz to tourists wrapped up into a building but to create a space that honors the sea-filled history of the town it inhabits. Foz’ history is reflected in the building’s location at the Mouth of the River near the ocean, the rooms that accommodate this seaside view, and the tours that the hotel offers.
Luxury Hotels in Portugal – The Rooms Are Magnificent
One of the most important things to understand about Foz is its history with the ocean. Foz is right on the edge of Portugal, making the Atlantic Ocean a very important part of the culture there. Very early on, Foz was set in stone as a prime place to catch fish and other sea creatures. A port for fishing was developed here. Eventually, this slightly subsided, and people moved to this area of town more permanently. Most obviously, this has affected the building itself. When creating the hotel, Paulo Costa wanted to keep this spirit of summer vacation alive by utilizing an area with some of the Manor Houses wealthy families used to stay in when visiting the neighborhood. Not only does this building play into the nostalgic longing and rumination of wealthy families past, but it also has plenty of accommodating things in the present. The Manor House has rooms that are perfectly situated to soak up and enjoy the ocean. The Manor House rooms range from 24 to 39 square meters, so all of them are incredibly spacious.
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Paulo Costa deliberated on who he wanted to design the rooms’ architecture. To figure this out, he first had to think about his ultimate bigger-picture goal for how he wanted Vila Foz to come across to the average tourist. Costa hoped to mix old and new cultural signifiers that showcase the duality of Foz. The Manor House it resides next to was built in the 1800s and the building incorporated design choices from the Manor House such as built-in concrete with reinforced glass and plaster. Slowly but surely, it leads to some more modern features. The modern comforts include plenty of things: walking showers, complimentary tea, multiple different floors each designed with a different purpose, and access to various associated facilities to name a few. Eventually, Costa settled on brilliant architect Gabinete Miguel Cardoso Arquiteto and interior designer Nini Andrade Silva. Their genius work on this project proves that older and culturally significant architecture is important to appreciate, but enjoying it in the context of the security of the present makes it that much sweeter.
Hotel Vila Foz – The Ocean Can be Found in the Spa
Inspiration from the Atlantic can be found in many different parts of the building as well, and not just in the building itself. One prime example is the spa. The spa offers ten different spa treatments, including kinesiology, abhyanga, lymphatic drainage, Bowen therapy, yoga, meditation, and more. The Wellness and Spa Center also offers other kinds of treatment categories, such as exclusive journeys like holistic medicine and unique exfoliation. Vila Foz claims to use the energy of the Atlantic Ocean to create these therapeutic routines, and the spa facility faces the big blue tide to get this effect.
Its location isn’t just special in a historical sense. While the fishing history is an important element of understanding Hotel Vila Foz’s major selling point, it has plenty of other things it highlights. For example, the environment is incorporated into the hotel’s philosophy in a major way. There is a Metrosideros tree stationed right next to the main building, and the gardens that the hotel has created are centered around this. This construction around the environment doesn’t stop at the local trees. The materials used in making large parts of the hotel are light and transparent. This was done specifically to call attention to the Atlantic and the beautiful blue sky.
Restaurants Contain Multitudes and Nods to the Ocean
An important aspect of the Foz, like any other culture, is the food. Hotel Vila Foz is associated with a couple of different restaurants that have many different kinds of region-specific food. The Vila Foz Restaurant promises a trip from wines inspired by the old world and wines inspired by our current world. Pairing the perfect wine with the perfect dish is crucial in the eyes of head Chef Arnaldo Azevedo.
The Maresia Restaurant specifically crafts its exquisite cuisine around the fact that the city is on a coastline. The menu involves plenty of seafood and animals native to the area. This adds a lot of personality to the restaurant and contributes to the interconnectivity between the hotel and the ocean that Vila Foz tries to stress. Food that reflects the culture is nearly tantamount to experiencing the most important part of a culture.
Hotel Vila Foz is a spectacular explosion of the old and the new, of Porto and Foz, and last but not least, a beautiful culture rich in history and various lived experiences. Paulo Costa spent an immense amount of time planning how to practically incorporate these things into the design and the ambiance of the hotel, as evidenced by the recruitment of famous architects and designers and an expertly laid out central design.
By Zachary DePiore
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