The history of Longroiva spa is similar to that of most spas in Portugal. The rudimentary medicine that was practised for centuries – consisting of guesswork with shamanistic characteristics – made these thermal water springs one of the most recommended prescriptions.
Longroiva Hotel grew from the need to enhance and obtain a return on the recentlybuilt baths, the result of heavy public investment, which needed a hotel unit to accommodate persons coming to use the spa. It consists of a main building, the restoration of the original late nineteenth century edifice, a terrace of suites on the escarpment and bungalows to the rear.
The first sensation we have is of contemplating the typical rows of vines in the Upper Douro, which is the boundary line of Longroiva. The row of rooms set into the escarpment skilfully lightens the weight that construction on a hillside usually imprints on one’s gaze. The bungalows, above the rooms, manage to avoid an aggressive skyline on the landscape due to the materials used – wood – and the colour selected – a dark, chocolate brown.
The walls defining and delimiting the various spaces are made of schist, a local material, and rhythmically punctuate relations between the various materials. The result shown is one of successful complicity between escarpment and construction, between available and reclaimed space, between geography and architecture.
The swimming pool water comes from the hot springs which also generate heat and power for the hotel, and can be used even in winter and under extreme outdoor weather conditions.