|80 years in Hotel Business||est. 1931 - "Tradition" is more than a simple word...|
Maria Hermínia Rosa e Augusto Duarte Alegre met in Luso when Maria Hermínia Rosa, home-born at Barril (Mortágua), moved there to work in 1917. They got married in 1920 and soon appeared the "sprouts": António Duarte Alegre (1921), Mariana Augusta Rosa Alegre (1924), Manuel Rosa Alegre (1927) and Oscar Rosa Alegre (1929).
With four children, soon seemed, especially to the mother of the family, that they would have to search for another solution to get enough income that would allow them to educate suitably their children.
Such a solution arised in May 1931, with the establishment of the Pensão Alegre. Both building and services were continuously developed and modernized since then, growing in quality and classification to met the actual designation of "Alegre Hotel"
The first localization found for the Pensão Alegre was a building that belonged to Alexandre de Almeida and that existed in the same place where it is now the Eden Hotel.
Endowed with an innate aptitude for business and for cookery, Maria Hermínia soon expanded the company, starting to use as an extra zone of rooms the building placed in front (nowadays the Residencial Imperial) and later becoming the concessionary of the "Tea House of St. John's Fountain", where she sold her famous pastry (photo below with Isabel Ferreira Pedro Alegre)
The times were of increasing numbers of thermal users at Luso and the demand for accommodations at Pensão Alegre didn't stop to increase during the following years.
In the Tourism Review of May 1939 -nr. 22 ( 3 months before the beginning of the 2nd World War ), it was published the following advertisement that shows, in some way, the thermal spirit that was popular at the time.
At an epoch that the Grand Hotel of Luso was still a project, the growing demand for the Luso Spa made necessary to change the Pensão Alegre into a larger building, with more space and more rooms.
In the same review it appears also the first reference to the change to the present building - the Palace of the Count of Graciosa - ancient Hotel Coimbra (photo below)
Although it had been closed and in very bad conditions of preservation for many years, the new house was the ideal to go on with the expansion followed till then.
Some restoration had to be made immediately in order to allow the necessary conditions of hygiene and functioning indispensable in such a house.
Not guessing the times of war that were approaching, it was once more and with extreme courage that a new stage was initiated in the history of the Pensão Alegre.
Even with Portugal's neutrality during the war, Luso continued to be seasoned in relation to the thermal demand, so the only solution for the sons was to work elsewhere.
Later on, the owner of the house and a great friend of the family, D. Francisco Osório, Count of Foz de Arouce, who didn't have direct heirs, proposed that the house should be bought by the family instead of going on being rented.
At the time, only Mariana Alegre and Manuel Alegre move forward to buy the building that was finally acquired in 1956.
With their own personal problems growing, the sons started to go away in search of new horizons (some times forced by the events), but in a general manner, always connected with hotels (the life they had always known).
By this time, it was Mariana Alegre who, in face of the ageing of the house's founder, assumed the direction of the house, which she maintain until 1986.
During that period of time, Oscar Alegre worked in Coimbra, Monfortinho, Lisboa, Luanda (where he got married with his wife Isabel Ferreira Pedro) and Viseu (where he ended his working career as sub-director of the Hotel Grão Vasco). Of his marriage, he has got one daughter, Ana Margarida Ferreira Alegre that chosed to be a teacher, not following the family's hotel tradition.
At the same time, Manuel Rosa Alegre worked in Coimbra, at the Grand Hotel of Luso, Hotel Astória of Monfortinho (where he met his future wife Maria Ressurreição Soares Gouveia), Hotel Turismo of Castelo Branco, Hotel Praia Mar in Carcavelos, Pousada da Ria in Aveiro,returning again to the Grand Hotel of Luso, where he retired from his life of working at the hotels industry.
Mariana Alegre, single and with no children, living very much only for her nephews, asked then for her brother's support asking them to assume the direction of the house.
Unfortunately, as a result of the decrease of thermalism and maybe owed to the fact of not having children, Mariana Alegre, during several years didn't take some decisions that were essential for the expansion and modernization of the business.
It was in a relatively old state of the structures of the house that Manuel Alegre and Maria Ressureição Soares Gouveia Alegre assumed the direction of the company in 1986.
From their marriage, Manuel e Maria Ressureição had two children, Maria de Fátima Gouveia Alegre and Nuno Manuel Gouveia Alegre.
Born and raised in the heart of hotels' industry, while their father was a hotel's Director and their mother was a Governess, soon they developed their own "addiction" for hotels' industry and for the art of well receiving.
With the support of their sons, it has been since 1986 that Manuel Alegre has successively remodelled and modernized this house, transforming it into a market lider and in a landmark of the quality hotels' industry in the village of Luso.
Always trying to keep up with the modern hotel client needs, the company created it's first web page in 1996 and ever since then, started to use internet for sales and marketing, working with most of the great travel agencies of the world
Some with the necessary creativity for new projects and others endowed with the management ability to solve the daily problems, this is the team that will certainly carry on, in the XXI Century, a project born in 1931 and that is proud to make feel welcome all of those that, demand to spend their leisure times with us
WELCOME TO OUR HOTEL ! ...
...We are proud to have you as our guest!