Caldas de Monchique is reborn from the ashes with investment of millions

New owners of the thermal complex are investing heavily in the renovation of the project

Miguel Velez – Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação

It started with the refurbishment of the Hotel Central, about three years ago, and took another decisive step in May, with the opening of Pure, a new boutique hotel. Caldas de Monchique is experiencing a renaissance and there are «several million euros» available to bring the revolution underway in the spa complex and associated hotels to an end.

Who guaranteed it to Sul Informação was Miguel Velez, executive director of Unlock Boutique Hotéis, the company responsible for the management of Villa Termal de Monchique, which was acquired in 2019 from Fundação Oriente by three individual partners, who together created the company Behindhorizon.

The deal was made at a time when Caldas and the municipality of Monchique were still trying to recover from the devastating effect of the 2018 fires, which meant that the summer of 2019 was difficult for the new owners. Two years of a pandemic followed, which had a brutal negative impact on tourist activity.

However, the new managers of Villa Termal never stopped investing.

«We started the remodeling of Caldas de Monchique three years ago. Initially, we remodeled the reception, social areas, breakfast, restaurant, made 10 new suites and renovated 25 rooms at the Hotel Central», explained Miguel Velez, on the sidelines of the official launch of the Pure Monchique Hotel, which resulted from the remodeling of the former Hotel D. Carlos.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


“After that, last year, we renovated the shop, the Alkaline bar and the function room. This year, we completely remodeled Pure Monchique, a unit with 22 rooms and suites, and we are renovating the pool area. At the same time, we are making seven new rooms, where the old spas used to be, and we are renovating two more houses there in the central area”, he added.

The objective is that, «by the end of the summer, everything will be ready. At the outset, the seven new rooms will be completed by July – they may delay a little longer, because of the materials, the staff, and so on, as we live in complicated times».

Miguel Velez hopes that, as of November, the renovation of the spa hotel will be able to proceed, with the aim of «concluding the works by the summer of next year».

“And I don't call the work complete, because this is an ongoing process. We have a very large space, we have 39 hectares of land and three hotels, plus a local accommodation, two bars, a restaurant, and so on. Never ends. In any case, most of it could be completed in a year's time», he said.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


For João Fernandes, president of the Algarve Tourism Region, the recent history of Caldas de Monchique, «is an example for everything».

«We have our little Sintra back in good shape. Monchique and Caldas, in particular, are very different from the rest of the Algarve and are a paradigmatic site for nature tourism and spa tourism», he illustrated.

However, before it passed into the hands of the current owners, the thermal complex was “in a degraded situation and not making use of this potential, which is an added value for the region.

Until it gets here and until the planned interventions are completed, “several million euros” will be spent. But this money was not just spent on works.

“Since 2019, we have never stopped, we have never closed the operation. We never fired anyone during Covid, we were always open, no redundancies. We paid all suppliers, we were always fully active», assured Miguel Velez, while admitting that the last few years were difficult in economic terms, including 2019.

“It was three hard years. First, we had the post-fire. Then there were two years of Covid. And we didn't stop making the investment we had planned, nor did we stop investing in the renovation of Caldas de Monchique with a new offer », he reinforced.


João Fernandes – Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação

«We had investors here who, even after a big fire in Monchique, which plowed here around the complex, decided to persist and invest. And that, from my perspective, is an asset that we should cherish», highlighted João Fernandes.

«Seeing a company that goes through all these difficulties, then goes through another two years of Covid and that today is celebrating the requalification of four buildings of the five main ones, we have to recognize that there is private investment that brings a clear public benefit», he concluded.

However, in 2022, Unlock sees «very positive signs of recovery. We have a lot of demand from national and international markets, expectations are very good for the summer. We are fighting to have those seven rooms ready and we are doing everything possible to make this renovation available in full for the summer.

The renovation underway in Caldas de Monchique is carried out with the signature of Unlock Boutique Hotels, «the largest boutique hotel chain in Portugal», which has 16 units of this type throughout the country.

«What we can bring to the Algarve mountains are high quality products, which are different, and which allow the various national and international segments to get to know another Algarve, where there is much to discover», framed Miguel Velez.

«We are betting on everything that is nature, the natural surroundings and calm, as well as on everything that involves the water of Caldas, whether for drinking or for health treatments. We have therapeutic treatments, leisure treatments and we will continue to invest in these two components», he added.

In this way, a commitment will be made to the renovation, not only of the spa hotel, but also of the spa associated with it.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação