Is this the coolest boutique hotel to open in Portugal this year?

Forget Lisbon for the moment, and instead join us in Cascais – the ‘the Portuguese Riviera’, which is home to a new 19-key Artsy Cascais that could just be Portugal’s coolest boutique hotel to arrive in 2023…

A contemporary suite in Portugal that works with the architecture

Artsy by name, Artsy by nature, Artsy Cascais in Cascais – the ‘the Portuguese Riviera’ could possibly be the coolest boutique hotel that has emerged on the Portuguese hospitality scene this year.

It has grown out of a 19th-century mansion, in which guests checking in breathe the history not only of the property but also of the village. It sits alongside a newer, more contemporary building that has a striking facade designed by local urban artist Vhils, whom who some critics have called the Portuguese Banksy. This external Vhils piece is one of the most impactful and differentiating aspects of this hotel.

Exterior of Artsy Cascais - new and old building

Image credit: Matilde Espirito

Central to the hotel, which is a meeting place between craft and history, is the art narrative that plays out in the 19 rooms and suites – from the lighting to the walls. From photography to contemporary works, the art has been curated to add a new layer to the design. What’s more, guests who stay in the modern wing with six Artist Rooms (two of which with a small terrace) have the unique experience of sleeping inside a sculpture and waking up surrounded by the light that passes through the exterior’s artwork. The historic wing has 13 rooms with high ceilings and large windows that allow for ample sunlight and magnificent views of the streets and gardens of Cascais.

A contemporary suite in Portugal that works with the architecture

Image credit: Conçalo Miller

Architect Pedro Gomes Fernandes oversaw the re-imagination of the original building that combines the modern with the historic, maintaining the original Rococo features that date from 1899. The link is apparent in the purity of forms and in the use of materials that respect the delicacy and elegance of the old construction, integrating it with what is new. A glass structure now unites the two buildings, representing the ‘direct’ passage between the 19th century and the 21st.

A lit orignal fireplace in Portugal boutique hotel

Image credit: Matilde Espirito

Trained architect Marta Carreira oversaw the transformation of the property. Although she is an architect by trade, she found a passion for interiors having worked with Atelier Graça Viterbo. While Artsy is Carreira’s first luxury hotel project, she brought character to the project.

Her guiding idea was to immerse the hotel in its surroundings, bringing elements of the sand and the sea into the rooms. Her work also takes us back to the beaches of Cascais and to the bohemian vibe of a village that’s often called the Portuguese Riviera.

A contemporary, modern and design-led restaurant – with long table and statement chairs

Image credit: Conçalo Miller

However, she didn’t neglect the historical memory. She collaborated with Fipsi Seilern, a London-based artist who explores urban art and who designed a copy of a self-portrait by Rembrandt that superimposes this same piece of graffiti.

Like art, lighting plays a major role in this hotel. Carreira worked with designers Gwendolyn and Guillane Kerschbaumer from Atelier Areti on the light fixtures for the restaurant and hotel passageways. In the rooms and suites, meanwhile, there are lamps from GUBI, a Danish brand linked to Bauhaus, and MENU, another, more contemporary Danish brand.

A modern, clean hotel suite

Image credit: Conçalo Miller

Timeless pieces such as the suspension lamp by Gino Sarfatti in the library bar reinforce the idea of the balance between novelty and permanence. All the furniture in the hotel was designed by Carreira, except for a set of striped sofas by Ferm Living in the library bar.

The character of the interior design scheme spills out onto the rooftop, which is the perfect location to leave you; poolside while enjoying a sundowner overlooking a beautiful and perhaps different perspective of this part of Portugal.

> Since you’re here, why not listen to our latest podcast episode, which explores ‘unconventional narrartives in design’? 

Main image credit: Gonçalo Miller