I just like building a perfect hotel: Interview with Paulo Barradas Rebelo

Torre de Palma Wine Hotel is an old estate in the south of Portugal, which is located on the border with Spain, a 2-hour drive from Lisbon. A stunning old estate with horses, delicious wine of its own production, and amazing olive gardens.

Paulo Barradas Rebelo is the owner of Torre de Palma Wine Hotel. Besides, he is the Founder & CEO of Bluepharma. In today’s interview, Paulo speaks about building a perfect hotel and the secrets of the hotel business.

The famous book «Hotel» by Arthur Haley describes the image of a perfect hotel. Have you ever seen a hotel in your life which is close to the ideal?

Yes. Our hotel is in our humble opinion, close to the ideal. Torre de Palma Wine Hotel is a unique place full of history and details that make our guests feel at their country house in Alentejo region.

Why did you choose the hotel industry? After all, most businessmen prefer an easier and faster way to enrich themselves, besides, you have another business?

I am a pharmacist, but since I was young I had a huge interest in the business. I have built a business in the Pharmaceutical industry called Bluepharma, which is now 19 years and employs more than 600 people in Coimbra. The hotel industry happened later in our life when we found a beautiful and very old property that was on sale and was the perfect setting for a luxury hotel.

Did you start earning money very early?

When I was a teenager I started doing business, selling products from the farm of my grandparents. For me, it was very important to be financially independent.

Your family helps you run the business. Is it a secret to success?

Yes, I met my wife at University, and we started working together since we finished our studies. We have always done business together and to have the support of my wife makes a huge difference.

Do you plan to stay a single hotel or turn TORRE DE PALMA into an international network?

We have plans to build more hotels, in particular, the next one will be in Coimbra. Our focus is to maintain the authenticity of the buildings and service and make people have a great experience.

The hotel is built on the basis of the estate with its own history. What do you think, is this history and wine that attract visitors from all over the world?

Torre de Palma is a property with centuries of history. Romans have lived in this estate from the 1st century until the 5th century, they produced wine, olive oil, and horses. Then, this property belonged to the Royal Family of Portugal and was a land of cereals. This region is very good for agriculture and in particular for wine. Alentejo is the biggest wine region in Portugal and is full of beautiful wineries that attract visitors from all over the world.

All products, from wine, olive oil, and up to vegetables from the beds are located on the hotel’s territory. Whose idea was to grow only fresh food to the table?

We believe in sustainability, and we think that people who come to Torre de Palma Wine Hotel want to taste the products of the region. This region has delicious gastronomy, very good vegetables, fruits and of course wine! Our guests at Torre de Palma can taste our wine, olive oil, vegetables, and cheese.

How many staff members are needed to service the hotel, vineyards, gardens, and stables?

We have 40 people working with us. It takes a very good and dedicated team to make this beautiful project.

Your amazing wine is already known all over the world. You work for export. Which countries? Are you planning to expand supplies?

We export our wine to countries like the United States of America, Canada, Brazil, China, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and others. Our goal is to continue exporting to bring our wine to different countries.

Among the services provided by the hotel is a turnkey wedding on the hotel’s territory. You have a chapel and everything needed for a luxury holiday. How many weddings did you have? And which one was the most memorable?

Each year we have around 12 weddings at the hotel. Every wedding is memorable because each wedding is unique and special. At our hotel we make all wedding dreams come true!

And I can’t help from asking about the design of the hotel. I know that the designer was from Portugal, as well as your spouse took an active part. Tell us a bit about the highlights of the interior?

Our interior designer is Rosarinho Gabriel, she is a very creative professional. She was able to design our 19 rooms and suites in a unique way. Every area is different and tells the story of the property

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