A hotel for all seasons.
Susete Alves, International Sales Director & Management, shares a bit of the family’s history in this hotel, which has a deep connection to Vila Viçosa’s marble industry.
This Hotel represents your family’s feeling towards this noble stone – the marble?
The main goal of the Hotel was to diversify our portfolio of investments. Since 26 years ago, my father’s work this kind of stone – marble – here in Portugal and we have a strong connection with Vila Viçosa because it was where we first invested in Marble quarries and when we had the chance to buy the building they thought about how the tourism could be a legacy for its daughters. Unfortunately the marble industry is a men’s industry.
I know that you have a very old connection. How long are you linked with the extraction of marble?
Here, in Vila Viçosa, we extract marble since 1992 when we bought our first quarry. The connection to marble comes, also, from the grandfathers of my father since that they already had a factory to transform marble in the Lisbon area.
It is true that there is some kind of greatness about marble?
Without a doubt, it is a very noble kind of stone and transmits a gallant atmosphere wherever it is placed. I even dare to say it is a haughty stone but in a good sense. It elevates any place. All of our clients feel that. Also, if we think about that, it is amazing that we can find such precious stone, of a bright white, or pink, or green, or yellow, black miles deep in the ground… of every colour. And it took millions of years to be formed and come to the surface. It is incredible what nature does, but everything it does it does it brilliantly!
Being in the Marmóris Hotel we immediately feel welcomed, nurtured by the people that work in the reception, in the restaurant, in the Spa. This is part of the culture that you wanted to include in Marmóris?
In our Hotel we had the luck to manage to have local workers. And Alentejo has, naturally, welcoming people. We do not teach the art of welcoming, all of our workers have it naturally. Also they are very young, it is something that all of your clients notice and youth is happiness, right? This impacts very positively in the general atmosphere of the Hotel and the clients, even if they do not understand why, they feel this joy and vivacity. We are in Vila Viçosa, here everything is thrilling.
The restaurant was a big decision for you. Your customers are stunned by the work of Chef Pedro Mendes and his team?
The restaurant has the leadership of Chef Pedro Mendes and we have a more traditional menu and we’ve noticed that our clients love the concept. Our clients are astounded, we even have clients that come for the first time and repeat in the next night, and Pedro knows how to be a PR of himself. Which client does not like to have the Chef talking with them? Pedro has this personality and doesn’t mind to share personal insights of his life and this brings intimacy to the relationship with the client. They are dazzled! Besides we have a sommelier, since May if I am not wrong, and sorry for being so honest, but he is TOP! So, yes, we have reasons to invest in our restaurant and we have all the tools we need to make it a success.
The Spa was projected for that type of client that wishes to enjoy fully a stay in your Hotel?
Without a doubt. Beyond the last two prizes we earned, this year we won yet another prize in the World Luxury Spa Awards in the category “Luxury Romantic Destination Spa”. Our Spa Manager attends several courses in order to add new treatments to our list. I can reveal that just now it finished a certification for massages with bamboo that are excellent for the lower limbs, it never stops!
We have a fantastic heated pool all year that conquered the hearts of our more elderly local clients, since it is a lengthy pool and they started to be our clients because it allows them to do their morning exercise with some swimming laps. We do not have sauna, we have hamman which is healthier and it’s not so aggressive and every type of customer with health problems can enjoy it, and a fitness centre for those that rule out physical training (although I must point out that we are in a charming and peaceful village where the tourism is not prominent and, for that reason, the ideal exercise is to go in a walk or a run in the streets performing a track that goes by the Castle, the Palace, the viewpoint, etc., but this you can always ask to our Storyteller, our guide/concierge that helps our guests to have a more enjoyable and rich experience).