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Seaside revival

A lesson in “monochromatic modernism” on Portugal’s Atlantic coast, Memmo Baleeira has long established itself as a hub for design aficionados, surf junkies and nature lovers. Not content with standing still however, the first sun-dappled days of spring herald the unveiling of the 144-room hotel’s fresh new look—the results of an extensive renovation project including the creation of restaurant Fornaria Memmo, complete remodeling of the outdoor pool area, and a reinvigorated look.

Set amid a dramatic landscape that is characterized by pristine beaches, jagged cliffs, and the thumping roar of the Atlantic surf, the creative team at Memmo Baleeira looked to its surroundings for design inspiration. The hotel’s former white-on-white aesthetic has been lifted with earthy tones and the use of raw, natural materials, while clusters of lush foliage are a nod to the area’s pastoral verdure. In the public areas, neutral, sand-colored rugs and sofas upholstered in tonal linens add warmth while maintaining the hotel’s unique brand of restful minimalism, allowing for its spectacular locale to take centerstage. The guestrooms now have a refreshed color palette of grays and browns, augmented by signature design pieces such as the blue-and-white throws traditionally crafted from pure mountain wool by sustainable Portuguese brand Burel.

Paying homage to the area’s gastronomic heritage is central to the ethos of the hotel’s first-floor restaurant Fornaria Memmo. An open wood-fired oven is at the heart of the culinary concept, which focuses on regional produce and locally-caught fish prepared simply in dishes. The simplicity of the menu is complemented by the clean lines of the restaurant’s interiors, which are defined by off-white walls and natural wooden cabinetry. Cozy rattan sofas with plush throw cushions and Scandinavian chairs from the hotel’s original ‘60s incarnation sit alongside modern design masterpieces from the likes of Philippe Starck and Tom Vac, while the stoneware is a feat of ceramic craftsmanship courtesy of Costa Nova.

Providing the perfect perch from which to soak up the breathtaking views, the outdoor pool area has undergone a complete transformation. A sun-drenched deck dotted with loungers frames the heated pool, while the newly established poolside bar ensures that sundowners flow way past sunset.