The hospitality industry in the most westerly country in continental Europe is now being shaped in part by the Far East.
Thailand’s Minor Hotels has added Portugal’s Tivoli Hotels & Resorts to its brand inventory and also brought a weighty name in Thai resort circles to the Iberian country, thereby introducing elements of Thailand hospitality and culture to southern Europe.
Minor converted a Tivoli Algarve property to the Anantara Vilamoura, making Portugal the first and only European country to date to have a resort by Thailand’s Anantara chain, known for its upscale retreats.
“We are very proud [of Portugal being Anantara’s first European destination],” Cristina Borges of Minor Hotels’ Algarve office told PressToday of the property, in which guests can find the likes of Portuguese and Thai restaurant dishes, Thai massages in the spa and even a couple of tuk-tuks – smallish, open-air vehicles that serve as taxis on Bangkok streets – to carry people between the resort and the beach and beach club. Regular shuttles are also available.
The Anantara Vilamoura is about five minutes from the beach and surrounded by an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course.
The Algarve is promoted as a year-round destination, with its mild winters meaning that visitors can play the likes of golf any month. Tourism officials add that the region – known primarily for its beaches – is also culturally interesting, among other things having architecture that tells of the long Moorish presence there.
Andrea Granja, spokeswoman for Tivoli, said Minor has invested a lot of money in its Portuguese operations, with, for instance, the Tivoli Lisboa Avenida Liberdade seeing major renovations that were completed last year and included the redoing of guest rooms and the lobby, and the addition of a restaurant. The five-star hotel is Tivoli’s flagship, found on a trendy Lisbon street and dating back 85 years.
“It’s where the Tivoli brand was begun,” Granja says of the hotel, which includes a skybar. Opera singer Maria Callas and pop singer Beyonce are among notables who have stayed in the hotel.
Tivoli has more than 10 properties in Portugal, about half in the Algarve. The brand also five-star properties near the coastal Brazilian city of Salvador and Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well. The Salvador-area resort is in a sparsely populated area and the builder was conscious of the environment, with the structure not rising over a mature palm tree and having a program to help safeguard endangered sea turtles. The Sao Paulo hotel, in turn, has a 750-square-metre presidential suite, reportedly the largest presidential suite in all South America.
Tivoli also has properties in Qatar – two in its capital of Doha – with visitors able to experience both modern and traditional.
Among other brands Minor acquired is Spain’s nh Hotels,
Pictured are Granja and Borges.