The Oitavos, Cascais, Portogal: Tried and true
Since the 1920s, the Champalimaud family’s history has been linked to a beautiful spot. Right on the Atlantic coast, just 25 minutes away from Lisbon, they have developed a design hotel boasting contemporary architecture. Miguel M. Champalimaud, Hotel Director, told us all about its history, the best places and the architecture.
The Champalimaud family has been working on The Oitavos for 100 years and it has evolved a lot over the past century. Tell us about your hotel’s history.
My family bought Quinta da Marinha (where The Oitavos hotel is located) in 1921 but the hotel was only built in 2010. Quinta da Marinha evolved a lot over the past century. The plot, around 1,200 hectares, was bought with the purpose of developing what my great-grandfather Carlos Champalimaud named “The Garden City”.
And what was his plan for “The Garden City”?
A luxury residential and tourism destination. After buying the property in 1921, he started stabilising the dunes, planted the umbrella pine forest and secured water for the property from the nearby Sintra mountains. The property came with an equestrian facility that was extended and upgraded at the beginning of the 1930s. From the 20s/30s through to the late 80s, not much was developed besides some family houses. The umbrella pine forest kept growing and a farming lifestyle took root. There was the 1929 stock exchange crash, the death of my great-grandfather in 1937, the Second World War in 1939 and the property was divided among different family members.
How has it finally become The Oitavos?
Jumping ahead to 2001, we opened the Oitavos Dunes golf course to the public, then in 2004 we opened a big sports facility called the Health & Racket Club, and in 2010 we opened the hotel. Quinta da Marinha is both a physical space and a brand shared by different family and non-family members today. The Oitavos hotel and Oitavos Dunes golf course are the two “stars” of Quinta da Marinha. Right now, there are no changes or additions to the hotel planned other than continuing to provide the best experience possible for those who visit us.
How would you describe The Oitavos in your own words?
The Oitavos is a place where you can disconnect 100% from your day-to-day life and create memorable moments.
What can guests expect when they arrive at The Oitavos?
Guests can expect a personalised, non-branded experience throughout their stay. Guests often tell me and our team members at the hotel that at The Oitavos, you just feel special. Although the hotel is grand (142 bedrooms and suites, conference centre, spa), you feel like you are in a cosy ambience created by the family that manages daily operations. The Oitavos is more than a hotel, it’s a location – it’s Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, Guincho beach, the local clients that attend it, it’s the people that work on it for you. It’s a place everyone should go at least once in their lifetime.
What is your favourite place at The Oitavos?
The rooms! They’re so different yet so comfortable and spacious. Also, the outdoor pool, terrace and adjoining restaurant during spring and summer, and the indoor swimming pool, the bar and the indoor restaurant in autumn and winter.
What do you like most about the hotel’s architecture?
The fact that the hotel is made mostly of steel and glass, and also the interior flexibility with layouts and décor. Having glass from the floor to the ceiling in all areas gives you a feeling of being “sunkissed” all the time and offers great views over the ocean, sand dunes and pine trees.