Hotel Bela Vista, Portimão, Portugal
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member manchanegra
N 37° 07.110 W 008° 32.263
29S E 541068 N 4108118
Quick Description: The hotel Bela Vista, situated on the cliffs of Praia da Rocha, was built in the 19th century as a stately home. With private access to the beach and located a mere 800 meters from the new Marina of Portimão, it was the first hotel in the Algarve.
Location: Portugal
Date Posted: 12/25/2006 4:59:39 PM
Waymark Code: WM12FF
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member NFreitas
Views: 50

Long Description:
With total respect for the glamour of the turn of the century, the hotel maintains much of its original decoration, including, in some rooms and common areas, 17th and 18th century tiles, signed by Victoria P., and ceilings of precious Brazilian wood, worked and painted by Pereira
Cão. The tiles, furthermore, tell the history of the golden age of the Portuguese Discoveries, excerpts from "Os Lusíadas" (epic work of the great Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões) and of the Arab occupation of the Iberian Peninsula.

Built as the private residence of a wealthy family, Magalhães Barros, it was later leased to a cousin, Henrique Bivar de Vasconcelos, who transformed it into a hotel in the 1930s, at a time when the first intrepid tourists discovered the Algarve and managed to arrive at Praia da Rocha by boat.

The hotel preserves its history and its treasures from a glorious past, and with its simplicity, friendliness and dedicated staff, you

are sure to feel as if you were visiting friends and family with none of the impersonal atmosphere of the large cosmopolitan hotels.

Curious facts

One of the most outstanding periods of Bela Vista is the 40s decade, the years of World War II. Portugal, being politically neutral, worked as a place for the exchange, crossing of information. The hotel, thanks to the comfort, isolation and self-sufficiency that it could offer during those times, served as a privileged and adequate local for the meeting of spies, secret agents and "postmen", who knew the hotel's location by the sea.

It has always kept its guestbooks, which are a "living" registration of well spent vacations. The older ones include, among others, signatures and comments by Sidónio Pais (former portuguese

President) and his train, by the king Humberto de Saboya, Fuljencio Baptista (after Fidel Castro took the power, in Cuba) and by the great hero Mannerheim of Finland's personal doctor, who left a signed manuscript, eulogizing and describing the magnificent vacations they spent in the hotel, from where the hero left after a two-months recovery and completely re-established.

And one of the most interesting stories tells us about

a less well-intentioned employee kept the guest's letters and money, which, purportedly, should have been sent by mail. He kept the money to himself and never gave the letters away, hiding them in the reception.
Thirty-five years later, during the hotel's restauration, these were discovered and sent away, some of them possibly being love letters. Some time later, grandchildren and great-grandchildren from the addressees arrived at the Hotel, coming from all over the world, from Australia to the United States.

Silver and golden weddings also happen quite often. Many couples choose the Bela Vista to "re-create" their honeymoon as it was 25 or 50 years ago!

Name of the Hotel: Hotel Bela Vista

Avenida Tomás Cabreira Praia da Rocha Portimão

Number of Rooms: 14

Height in floors: 3 Floors

Hotel Rating: 4 Stars

Hotel since: 01/01/1930

Date Building was built: 01/01/1800

First use of building:
stately home

Historic Hotel (Historic Building, National Monument or similar): yes

Urban Hotel (located in a village or town): yes

Mountains Nearby (less than 25 Kms / 15 Mil): yes

Beachs Nearby (less than 25 Kms / 15 Mil): yes

Historic Place nearby (Unesco or National monument/site less than 25 Kms / 15 Mil): no

Major Pilgrimage Place Nearby (less than 25 Kms / 15 Mil. Consider any religion).: no

Hotel website (if available): [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
Photo of Hotel and your impressions of it.
Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Antique Hotels
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
PINGUIM RIDER visited Hotel Bela Vista, Portimão, Portugal 3/9/2011 PINGUIM RIDER visited it
bmps2003 visited Hotel Bela Vista, Portimão, Portugal 9/10/2010 bmps2003 visited it

View all visits/logs