A Conversation with Rodrigo Machaz about Memmo Príncipe Real in Lisbon

February 11, 2018

Rodrigo Machaz is the creative mind behind Memmo Príncipe Real, a contemporary boutique hotel with an old-world soul, in the fashionable district of Príncipe Real in Lisbon.

A Conversation with Rodrigo Machaz about Memmo Príncipe Real in Lisbon

“At Memmo Príncipe Real we want you to feel like royalty.”

Congratulations on the third venture from the Memmo collection. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Memmo’s mission and goal is not to create a hotel chain but a collection of authentic and memorable hotels. So, by definition, a new Memmo will always be different from the others while sharing the same core values: hospitality, contemporaneity and originality in all details.

We knew from day one that Memmo Príncipe Real would have the potential to become Memmo’s premium offer. It’s not about stars but about positioning. If at Memmo Alfama, we wanted you to feel at home, at Memmo Príncipe Real we want you to feel like royalty.

The entire Memmo team was involved in the process of making the hotel special and charming in all its details.

What makes Memmo Príncipe Real a special hotel?

I think what makes Memmo Príncipe Real a special is the blend between a contemporary style with the heritage of the classic Palace Hotels.

A sleek four-story geometric building. Unifying the design aesthetics of the three Memmo properties, the Memmo design team, coordinated by João Corrêa Nunes and architect Samuel Torres de Carvalho, set out with a challenge to create a new build that would house a mix of modern elements using classic materials and details.

We really enjoyed our dinner at Memmo Príncipe Real, the colonial-inspired menu blends perfectly with the whole concept of the hotel. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Our restaurant, Café Príncipe Real, is a celebration of the roots of Lusophony through Portuguese and international dishes that reflect the influences of Portugal around the world, and especially in Brazil, Africa and Asia.

We wanted to deliver international cuisine with an authentic flavour. Under the supervision of our young but already well-known Chef, Vasco Lello, whose aim is to provide local and traditional food with a contemporary twist. Be ready for a delightful journey through some of the most desirable flavours.

We also wanted to invite the local community to be part of the Memmo Príncipe Real atmosphere. With this in mind, we have promoted Café Príncipe Real as a place for conversation, creating a sense of community and a feeling of being in a melting pot of Portuguese heritage around the world.

“M’ FOR ARTS”. In a 42-series of drawings made for Memmo Príncipe Real by Miguel Branco, an interior of a restaurant is suddenly populated by monkeys that are scattered on the tables.

You previously commissioned street artist Vhils to create a fantastic mural by the entrance of Memmo Alfama. You have now invited Barahona Possolo, another Portuguese artist, to create a bespoke artwork, an impressive oil portrait of Príncipe Real D. Pedro V. Is this something you plan to do with all of the Memmo hotels?

We promote Portuguese artists in all Memmo hotels. The “M’ FOR ARTS” program is the main part of Memmo hotels’ identity. It fulfils our commitment to provide our guests with enriching interactions and cultural experiences from high-quality local artists that, like our hotels, bring creative flair and imagination to everyday life.

Inside the hotel, the entrance is overlooked by the royal prince D. Pedro V himself, represented in a big oil painting by the artist Barahona Possollo that balances with the timeless and contemporary architectural style of the space. Exclusive pieces designed by the architect live side by side with other classic vintage furniture.

That, together with the sublime and contemporary paintings by Miguel Branco and a special piece by Iva Viana, make the interior design of the hotel incredibly special and unique.

“The interior design of the hotel is incredibly special and unique.”

What’s your favourite object in the hotel?

The portrait of the royal prince at the hotel entrance is my favourite object. I think it reflects the hotel’s soul! At first glance, it’s a very classic and aristocratic oil portrait, full of heritage and history. But if you look closer you will find details that show the contemporaneity of the portrait.

The existing views of the hotel and the Memmo symbol (the chameleon) on the prince’s neckless are just two examples. In the portrait, you will find more details that will take you from the past to the present. On the other hand, I love to see our prince at the entrance as the first guest and guardian of the hotel!

As the name would suggest, the Royal Prince plays an omnipresent role at the hotel. Mounted stoically at the entrance, The Portrait of the Eternal Royal Prince (D. Pedro V) by Carlos Barahona Possollo is a re-interpretation from Winterhalter’s original dated 1854.

As a family man living between Sagres and Lisbon, it must be hard to get time off, but if you had a full day to enjoy Lisbon how would you spend it?

Although I was born and brought up in Lisbon I'm not much of a city guy. If I had a full day in Lisbon I would enjoy the outdoors. The mornings are perfect for a bike ride.

The new bike track that takes you from the city centre Marquês de Pombal Square to Monsanto Park is simply amazing. Then you can head downhill to Belém through a scenic track along the river to the “Praça do Comércio”. In the afternoon, when the wind usually starts to pick up, I love to take my boat and sail the Tagus.

At night, I would go for dinner with friends at Pinóquio. They have a great outdoor sitting area as well as the best shrimp and beer in town. That to me sounds like the perfect day in Lisbon!

“I would go for dinner with friends at Pinóquio. They have a great outdoor sitting area as well as the best shrimp and beer in town.”

Last time we spoke you were going on holiday to a surf hostel in Morocco with some friends. Any trips planned?

For 2018 I would love to take my family to Bali. We have friends living there and I would love to show the kids a new culture and go deep into the island.

There is a beautiful part of Bali, less touristy and more authentic, that I would like to explore with my wife and kids. And of course, there’s are always some good waves to surf for me and my kids!

Memmo now has three hotels under its belt. What’s next?

It’s a little bit unpredictable at this stage. We are sure the next venture will be in Portugal. And definitely in an authentic location. It will have to be a hotel that will add something to our Memmo collection.

Thank you very much for this interview Rodrigo.

Thank you too!

The first boutique hotel in Lisbon from the Memmo collection is also on JO&SO, check it out. We truly love both offers - if you want to be steps from all the cool action stay at Príncipe Real, if you want romantic alleyways and fado stay in Alfama.

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. 🤗

Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know about the latest cool hotels in Portugal.

Joana and Sofia

Check out our full report on Memmo Príncipe Real

© Photos by JO&SO and courtesy of Memmo Príncipe Real.

No items found.

Please note that sometimes we use affiliate links and receive a small referral commission from sales, at no additional cost to you. Everything we recommend in our website is handpicked by ourselves and 100% because we like it. By booking through JO&SO you are supporting what we are doing, helping us to keep running the website.

Share This

For further reading, below are some articles we like

No items found.

Find your perfect hotel in

From the Journal

No spam, we promise ✌🏽. By subscribing you agree to receive emails from JO&SO and accept the terms of our Privacy Policy.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again later.
Be the first to know
Follow us on Instagram