A Conversation with Fernanda Gramaxo about Armazém Luxury Housing
Fernanda Gramaxo is the founder and creative mind of Armazém Luxury Housing, a 19th-century iron warehouse lovingly converted into a boutique hotel in the heart of Porto.
“I wanted to create a magical place, different from others already open in the city.”
– FERNANDA, OWNER
You have been a nursery school teacher for many years. How did the idea of starting a hotel come about?
The idea was to create the same magical ambience that I had with the children, but this time with adults. I wanted a magical place, different from others already open in the city.
Did you always know that you wanted the hotel to be based in this neighbourhood?
Yes. The historic part reminds me of my childhood. When I was a child I used to come to this street with my grandmother. We used to visit antique shops. The smells, the colours, the narrow streets have always been etched in my mind. Also, I think this is the best area to explore the “real” Porto, as everything is within walking distance.
“The historic part of Porto reminds me of my childhood.”
– FERNANDA, OWNER
How did you find this building and what drew you to it?
I knew that I wanted a building in this area and after a lot of research, I found this striking ruin that was once an iron warehouse from the 19th century. I immediately felt the desire to bring some 'light' to the space. It needed it to come alive again.
How do you describe the architecture and interior?
Armazém (which translates to Warehouse) is a daring project. It tells you a story. We kept the original stone walls and the ironwork and we introduced the concrete and wood that contrasts with the delicacy of the fabrics. The majority of the furniture was designed by our architect Luís Sobral and we also found many unique pieces in local stores. We restored some items that were already here like the safe that became our bar.
What inspires you?
The inspiration came with the features of the building. The challenge was to create a cosy ambience with its own soul in a luxury industrial context.
What part of running a hotel do you most enjoy?
Receiving and getting to know the guests.
What distinguishes you from other places to stay in Porto?
We are a private hotel. To enter the door, you must ring the bell. The guests feel at home but with a high-quality service. We tell a story which makes us unique.
What’s your favourite object in the hotel?
The letters AMOR [which translates to LOVE], because of its meaning. Everything we do is with love and passion. These letters belonged to the factory MABOR, we removed the B and changed the order of the letters.
What are the things to do or see in Porto that a first time visitor shouldn’t miss?
A tram tour through the Douro River promenade until Foz, feel the magic of Livraria Lello and have a cup of tea at Café Majestic.
Describe your perfect day off in Porto.
My perfect day off involves starting the day jogging in Afurada's promenade and enjoying the amazing view to Porto. Afterwards I'd likely have brunch with my daughters at Foz. During the afternoon I'd visit the latest art show at Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art. I would then end the day having dinner at Casa de Chá da Boa Nova. They have the best vegetarian degustation menu.
Thank you very much for this interview Fernanda.
Thank you too!
Here's hoping you create new memories here in Portugal. Tag us on Instagram (we would love it if you do!) and let us know how it goes. 🤗
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Joana and Sofia
© Photos by JO&SO and courtesy of Armazém Luxury Housing.
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