|Project Name||Aethos Ericeira||Posted in||Hotels, Architecture, Design, Interior Design||Location||
Rua da Estalagem
|Telephone||+351 261244510||[email protected]||Interior Designer||Astet|
|Completed||2022||Rooms||46 rooms and 4 Suites||Visit Website||aethoshotels.com|
When it comes to selecting a holiday getaway to escape the stress of daily life, the old adage “location, location, location” duly applies — a hotel’s location both informs its character and complements its amenities, in other words, it’s an integral part of the hospitality experience. The recently unveiled Aethos Ericeira in Portugal demonstrates this point rather effectively. Nestled on top of a 40-metre sandstone cliff an hour’s drive north of Lisbon, the luxury hotel stands out as much for its sophisticated design, focus on wellness and sense of community, as for its unrivalled views of the Atlantic Ocean, dramatic coastal landscape and proximity to some of Europe’s best and most beautiful beaches. Such a privileged location would be enough of a selling point for any new hospitality project but the hotel has gone one step further; conceived as “an authentic reflection of the local environment” per hospitality brand Aethos’ philosophy, it allows guests to truly surrender—body, mind and soul—to the wholesomeness of this seaside community.
Designed by Barcelona-based multidisciplinary design studio Astet and Portuguese architect Luis Pedra Silva, the hotel feels both refreshingly modern and intimately warm thanks to a soulful palette of earthy tones and textures inspired by the surrounding beaches, dunes and cliffs. Centred on dreamy ocean views, the soulfully styled, unpretentious interiors open up to a series of outdoor areas, including a sheltered dining terrace, majestic outdoor pool, yoga and meditation deck, and a vertiginous wooden walkway that takes guests along the edge of the cliff.
Like all of Aethos’ properties, the hotel takes wellness very seriously, from its emphasis on sourcing local food produce, to the daily yoga and meditation classes, through to its full-service spa; unlike other properties though, it’s also big on surfing. Crowned as Europe’s only “surf reserve”, Ericeira is a surfer’s paradise, offering a dedicated surf concierge, professional coaching and complimentary surf storage. Catering to modern luxury travellers and the surfer community alike, suffice it to say that Aethos Ericeira is no run-of-the-mill five-star hotel.
When it came to designing the hotel’s public areas, Astet’s primary goal was to create spaces that could be as welcoming in the summer when the weather is beach perfect, as they are cosy during the colder winter months. Their answer, creating a harmonious dialogue between cold and warm materials underpinned by an earthy colour palette that echoes the natural surroundings. Establishing a functional layout was deemed just as important as creating the right ambience which meant that the existing farm building, which the hotel occupies along with a new extension, had to be completely reconfigured. Therefore, the team opened up the space to create an open-plan lobby area centred around a double-height lounge where the views of the ocean take centre stage.
What the interiors may lack in decorative flourishes, they more than make up for in noble materials, well-crafted details and a collection of sculptural furnishings and decorative objects that blend modernist and vernacular elements. Natural wood textures complemented by leather, velvet, soft fabrics and plush carpets imbue the spaces with warmth, while cooler materials such as stone and marble offer refreshing counterpoints. Design aficionados will observe that there are no ‘azulejos’ in sight, Portugal’s world-famous ceramic tiles known for their decorative patterns and vivid colours. “We didn’t want everything to be too literal and use Portuguese tiles because I think that’s the first thing that everyone associates with Portugal”, Astet co-founder Óscar Engroba explains. “We wanted to achieve a more sophisticated twist to what Portuguese materials and interiors and architecture look like.” Tying everything together, a muted colour palette of sandy hues accentuated with splashes of blue and green ties everything together thereby conjuring the rugged beauty of the clifftop location albeit through a filter of contemporary minimalism.
More than a stylistic predilection, Astet’s eclectic version of contemporary interior design – think Scandinavian minimalism meets vernacular craftsmanship meets modern surf style – manages to capture the authentic spirit of the local environment and Aethos’ laidback sophistication as well as conveying a sense of belonging to guests.
At the restaurant, Onda (‘wave’ in Portuguese), expansive ocean views compete with the show kitchen for the guests’ attention where chef Afonso Blazquez and his team do their culinary theatrics. Blazquez’ s menu combines sustainable fish and seafood from the surrounding coast with plenty of seasonal vegetables in shareable dishes such as asparagus with fresh green curry, bergamot gel and sourdough croutons, and squid “noodles” with pickled mushrooms and dashi. A semi-covered dining terrace protected from the wind means that it can be used for al fresco dining almost year-round.
When it came to the design of the hotel’s 50 rooms and suites, Astet’s goal was to instil a sense of openness. To achieve this, bathrooms have been integrated into the main living spaces using glass partitions and retractable wood and wicker panels for privacy, while large mirrors have been added so you can enjoy the majestic views of the Atlantic or the hotel’s lush courtyard garden from every corner. Combined with the light-toned colour palette, the use of natural tones and textures, and the minimalist aesthetic of clean lines and simple forms, the bright and airy guest rooms are an elegant haven of comfort and relaxation providing soothing sanctuaries to escape the stress of modern life.
Wellness is an integral part of the Aethos brand, and the hotel definitely doesn’t disappoint featuring a gym with expert trainers, yoga classes with world-class instructors, a meditation deck overlooking the Atlantic and a stone-trimmed saltwater pool, plus signature spa treatments with organic products from Sweden’s Under the Skin brand. Of course, as we mentioned beforehand, the hotel’s most priceless feature is its location which is why it offers guests complimentary e-bikes and beach buggies so that they can discover the property’s beautiful surroundings and nearby bike paths and beaches. Add in all the amenities for surfing enthusiasts, including its relationship with Joana Andrade, Portugal’s first female big wave surfer, champion several times over, and founder of Portugal’s first female surf school, and it becomes apparent that Aethos Ericeira is just as much about thrill seeking as it is about slow living.