Alentejo welcomes €110 million luxury hotel

Alentejo welcomes €110 million luxury hotel

The small town of Redondo, in the Alentejo, is about to be put on the tourism map. All thanks to the luxury hotel that is being built on the Herdade da Palheta - with heritage dating back to 1428 - between Évora and Redondo. The tourist project, financed by the Global Real Estate Fund and managed by the financial company Arbra Partners, will be a "natural and cultural refuge away from the hustle and bustle of urban life".

With 300 hectares, the new tourist development called Palheta will have an investment of 110 million euros. "It's a brutal investment and I dare say that Portugal still doesn't have a project of this level and it was time to have something like this," Lucas Bitencourt, founder of Arbra, the asset management company that is promoting the project in the Alentejo, told Expresso.

The tourist complex aimed at the luxury segment includes a five-star hotel with 60 rooms, 35 villas and 20 country houses. It is scheduled to open in 2028.

In addition to the set of tourist accommodation properties, the villas and country houses, with private pools and gardens, will be offered for sale and will have all the hotel's facilities. "Palheta is expected to attract international guests, properties and the local community," says the development company.

The project is designed by British architect John Pawson, who has visited the property in the Alentejo several times - and was enchanted by Palheta's landscape, which is "of extraordinary beauty". It will be his biggest project in Portugal to date.

"Our collaboration with John Pawson is a deliberate choice to create a landmark that elevates the natural and cultural richness of the Alentejo through architectural excellence. Palheta is more than a destination, it's a journey towards a slower, more considered way of life," explained Bitencourt.

The executive also compares this complex to projects such as Château La Coste, in Provence, France, or the hotel at Reshio Castle, in Tuscany, Italy. "It's the closest thing to what we want to do in Portugal. The Alentejo has the potential to be like Provence or Tuscany, but it isn't yet," he says.

In addition to the units, the development will feature a wine club in a century-old winery, an open-air amphitheatre, an art pavilion, artists' studios and residences. "These have been designed to foster a creative community, providing a space for artists to stay, work and exhibit their creations by promoting a seasonal curation of exhibitions and events," they explain.

The health, wellness and spa centre, the sports centre with indoor and outdoor pools, as well as the tennis courts, playing fields, studios and private fitness areas are other highlights of the complex that will be built in the Redondo area. It will also include an organic farm, a rural children's playground, a farm-to-table restaurant, an equestrian centre and spaces dedicated to handicrafts and agricultural production.

Construction is due to start in 2025, after demolition work is due to begin at the end of this year. The tourist project will be born on the property "where the insolvent Vila Sol group had been developing a mega-business for a long time, but the building has since been abandoned". Vila Sol Évora was due to open in 2009, with a 73-room hotel and golf course, but was never completed due to the insolvency of EuroAtlântica III, Empreendimentos Urbanísticos, which was the promoter of the complex. 

Now, the new developers, who have "a different and more sustainable vision", intend to "take the oversized project that existed with a view to transforming it, recovering what is possible". 

Demolitions will be unavoidable, since the previous project already had hundreds of houses under construction, which those responsible consider to be "totally disproportionate to creating a top-of-the-range concept that will elevate the destination". The golf course that was planned in the previous project will also be left out because "it doesn't make sense in the Alentejo". "Palheta is a project with an Alentejo soul and this won't be our only project in Portugal, as the country still has a lot to offer," says the investor. 

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