History - Hotel Castelo Santa Catarina



The history of the Castelo de Santa Catarina, a building of singular beauty, dates back to 1887 when it was first registered in the land registry, coinciding with the beginning of the construction of the private chapel in honour of Nossa Senhora da Conceição and subsequent construction of the tower.

This building was commissioned by Comendador António Pimenta da Fonseca, a distinguished textile industrialist of international renown.

The Commander decided to build this space as a private family home, with the intention of receiving his guests and showing off his economic and social power.

He surrounded himself with the best artists of the time to enhance the beauty of the final result. The commander’s daughter was born here, and it was also the place where his first wife passed away.
He continued to live in the castle, where he remarried. After his death, the relationship between his second wife and his daughter deteriorated, so they decided to donate everything in the chapel and the castle, leaving the property abandoned for many years.
In 1969, Joaquim Teixeira Brás, a hotel entrepreneur, saw a clear business opportunity in this magnificent space as he identified unique characteristics that would deem the property appropriate to become a 5-star hotel, so he decided to acquire it.
However, for reasons beyond his control, the transformation into a five-star hotel never happened, mainly due to the revolution of April 1974 and the years that followed. However, in order not to give up the idea of opening the Castle to the city, he decided to go ahead with the opening, at that time as a residential building in collaboration with his son João Brás.
Maintaining a space with so much history, preserving it and adapting it to the demands of modern times was a challenge; an effort that was recognised by the Porto City Council, which classified it as a building of heritage and architectural interest.
Joaquim Teixeira Brás suddenly passed away in 1999, leaving his son to continue the legacy. In 2008, João Brás became the rightful owner of the building.
This date symbolises a new stage for the Castelo de Santa Catarina. Thanks to the constant remodelling of the space, it has become a welcoming place where tradition and modernity blend seamlessly. A place of excellence in the centre of a big city.