In Southern Portugal there is time for everything; it is so peaceful that you can feel the tranquility and serenity of the region. But if you do want to go to the cinema or theatre you can always go by car to Portimão or Lagos, even if it is not right on your doorstep the facilities are there. If I could have my time over I would have moved here much sooner. Now I am starting a family and I believe that 2018 will be a really good year.
Vicentina Hotel is a family project: this property, where the hotel now is, used to be a farm where my grandparents grew oranges and peaches. I am originally from Setúbal, where I lived until the age of eighteen, at which time I moved to Faro to study chemistry. Years after the death of my grandfather my father began work on his father’s dream: he used to say all the time that if we have a guesthouse or hotel, because of the property’s good location people will visit Aljezur. So my father initially built twelve apartments in 2008, but we subsequently converted the 80 square meter apartments into 26 rooms. Since joining the Rota Vicentina it has been easier to connect with the travel agencies and has also given us bigger visibility through its website. I know that some guests come to our hotel only because we have the Rota Vicentina sign on the door.
I was working for a pharmaceutical company selling prescription medicines to doctors, and when my father started building the apartments I decided to change my life; I left Setúbal behind and I moved to Aljezur. I wasn’t enjoying my life in Setúbal any more, because of the high volume of traffic I was spending all my time in my car on my way to appointments in Lisbon, Évora or Beja. Down here you have time to think and to concentrate, I still work hard but it’s much more satisfying as I can see the results of my work. All my friends kept asking why I was moving here, and saying that I was totally crazy. But I knew that I had enjoyed all the holidays that I had spent in Aljezur since I was a child, I had loved how quiet it is, and that it would be a good move for my family and for myself. By taking this decision I have had the opportunity to learn how to manage a hotel and how to motivate and teach other people. It is great motivation to see how it is growing and I wouldn’t change it for anything. And our goal is to be sustainable, which would be super important for the environment and good for us financially as well.
The hospitality of the local people is one of the biggest assets of this area: this in in our Portuguese genes, we want everyone who comes here to feel at home. In other countries, when you check into a hotel, they just ask for ID. Here you get a smile as well.
The photos were taken in Vicentina Hotel.