Located at the Santa Apolónia train station, the Editory Riverside has expanded Sonae Capital Hotelaria’s portfolio. To explore this place that is part of Portugal’s history, Sandra Ramos took us on a journey intertwined with the Tagus River and the light of Lisbon. Departures and arrivals remain, but now it is a meeting point for various languages that merge in every corner where paths were once woven within and beyond borders.
This is a place with a rich history. What was the approach to designing the hotel?
The Editory Riverside is a hotel that reveals a lot of history. Besides the railway history, it is part of Portugal’s history. We are in a building that was originally a convent, founded in 1662, and only in 1865 was the Santa Apolónia Railway Station inaugurated. And so, the history of our hotel began. The architectural firm Saraiva + Associados preserved as much as possible to ensure that the past endured. Those staying here will undoubtedly feel the essence of bygone eras, as the current rooms were once the offices of the workers who operated this place of departures and arrivals, from where many of our emigrants departed.
Are the guests aware of the significance of this place?
We brought the railway history into the hotel, and this is the theme we use to convey to our guests. When they arrive, they are guided to their rooms, where we share part of this history. We explain the reasons behind the decoration and what they will find, including various pieces of recreated furniture and original pieces that are part of Portugal’s Infrastructure inventory. It was an immense effort of research and utilizing authentic relics that the younger generation probably knows little about.
How were the rooms designed?
In total, we have 126 rooms with 11 different types, including the iconic Deluxe Junior Suite Rosacea, which is a work of art due to the restoration of a stained glass window that must have witnessed many travelers. For special occasions, there is the Master Suite River View, located in the former office of the station chief, now transformed without sacrificing the view of the river and the city, observed from the fantastic balcony. Considering its location, the influx of light offers a memorable experience. However, all the rooms were once the workers’ offices, and despite the installation of security doors, the original doors were preserved, as well as the ceiling lamps that line the corridors leading to the rooms. On the first floor, the tiles are original from the ancient convent.
Is the restaurant also reminiscent of those in trains?
Yes, our restaurant Impulso is very versatile, and the bar in the center recreates an ambiance that takes us inside a bar carriage, filling our imagination when we think of luxury train journeys. However, we are not a restaurant exclusively for hotel guests: in total, we have 122 seats and are open to the public. During the week, we serve the executive menu for lunch, and for dinner, the service is à la carte. The dishes are created by chef Hugo Dias and are inspired by Portuguese cuisine. In total, there are about 500m2 of space, divided between seating area and restaurant, with an open kitchen, reminiscent of a ticket office with windows facing the station.
How did you address sustainability concerns?
In all the hotels of the Group, practices are implemented to ensure effective and responsible environmental management. This includes special attention to water and energy conservation, preservation and promotion of local natural resources, and a preference for seasonal ingredients from local suppliers. As our chef says, “in the kitchen, nothing is wasted, everything is used from peel to pit.” The Editory Riverside is BREEAM certified, an environmental assessment method that measures building performance in various categories, but now the goal is to achieve a Very Good rating.
Is the hotel’s location a strong point?
Certainly, the location of the Editory Riverside is one of our highlights, besides the public transportation being right here; after all, we are in the city center. We have a fantastic view of the Tagus River; we are a sunny country, and our location allows us to enjoy all of this. And from here, tourists, whether national or foreign, can travel anywhere in the city or the country.