After 30 years of abandonment, Dona Chica’s Palace, in Palmeira, located on the outskirts of Braga, Portugal, is undergoing a remarkable transformation into a luxurious five-star hotel. The project involves the meticulous renovation of the castle’s four floors, which will house a total of 10 accommodation units, including one single room, seven double rooms, and two suites.
The hotel’s interior architecture aims to harmoniously blend with the castle’s enchanting charm and reflect the exquisite luxury of the development. The goal is to create an exclusive and sophisticated ambiance, complemented by distinctive and tasteful decor.
In addition to providing luxury accommodations, the hotel will offer two distinct gastronomic spaces: a bistro and a main restaurant, serving lunch and dinner seven days a week. An outdoor lounge area will also be available for guests to relax and enjoy their meals.
Dona Chica’s Palace dates to the early 20th century. It’s construction, that exudes an emblematic palatial architectural style, started in 1915, designed by architect Ernesto Korrodi. It was ordered by João José Ferreiro e Rego to accommodate his wife’s desire, Francisca Peixoto do Rego, of owning a luxury palace style house to throw fabulous parties. Four years later, their marriage came to an end and the palace remained unfinished.
Nestled amidst a vast rural expanse, Dona Chica’s palace is a unique architectural structure, just a mere four kilometers away from the bustling heart of Braga. This four-story architectural gem is encompassed by a protective wall and enveloped by dense vegetation, boasting an impressive array of exotic and native species – Francisca Peixoto do Rego made a point of importing many of the arboreal plant species from Brazil. The carefully curated landscape included plants like Pau Santo, alongside the stately Brazilian almond and majestic pine trees.
Walking trails meander through this verdant oasis, inviting visitors to explore the harmonious blend of national and international flora. Here, one can encounter eucalyptus, maple, wild pine, Portuguese cedar, the list goes on. Amidst this natural wonderland lies a small lake adorned with a picturesque grotto, designed to emulate the charm of the Romantic era. The grotto, in true nationalistic fashion, mimics the organic beauty of the surrounding woodland, forsaking geometric Baroque stylings for a more rustic allure. A captivating sight to behold, with its artificial stalactites suspended from above.
Each of the four magnificent storeys stands as a testament to a harmonious fusion of diverse popular styles and materials. Each individual space within this grand structure exudes its own unique aesthetic, seamlessly connected by bridging elements, both in materials and decorative themes.
In a captivating blend of architectural elements, Dona Chicas Palace stands as a remarkable testament to its original exterior image. The grandeur of this rural gem is embodied in its meticulously crafted surfaces, adorned with exposed shale masonry and facades of finely carved granite. Towering turrets, resplendent in sturdy granite, punctuate the structure, while columns and friezes of lioz limestone add an elegant touch.
The windows, a study in craftsmanship, present an intriguing juxtaposition of wood and iron, or at times, an artful combination of both, leaving one to ponder whether their treatment was an integral part of the original design by the architect Korrodi or an intentional addition during the building’s evolution. In stark contrast, the green roof tiles bear the signature of their designer and effortlessly blend into the verdant landscape.
This harmonious interplay of materials creates a visual spectacle that captures the essence of Dona Chicas Palace, elevating it to an architectural marvel.