• House
The hotel’s ground floor is the vibrant heart of ROSA ET AL Townhouse and opens up to the neighborhood quartier, pulsing with creative stores and guests day and night. The glorious mix of vintage and contemporary design of the townhouse embodies the spirit of collaboration that underlines the hotel.
The ground floor space is divided into a reception desk/concept store and bar/restaurant. ROSA ET AL Townhouse’s luminous and airy front desk leads into the cozy and comfortable brunch/dining room and the backyard's aromatic garden, each with its own special details. Some suites and common spaces are hung with original art pieces by Portuguese artists.
ROSA’s restaurant is a charming mix of vintage and retro elements, such as the lighting, chairs, tables… The centerpiece of the space is a big table full of teapots that is made with an original front door. So simple and yet so elegant. Another table can be admired in the reception.

read the interview with Emanuel de Sousa, townhouse architect

architect and co-owner
Emanuel is an architect graduated from Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto with further education at Technische Universiteit Delft and Berlage Institute Rotterdam. He concluded his PhD at Architectural Association London. He is a registered architect who has previously worked at Steven Ehrlich Architects in Los Angeles, Peter Eisenman Architects in New York and with José Manuel Carvalho Araújo in Portugal.
Tell us a little about the history of the building before it became ROSA ET AL Townhouse?
EMANUEL – The building is located between the old and the newer part of the city. It’s a 19th-century wooden structure townhouse in a traditional narrow and long lot. It served as storage and office for the Portuguese publisher CIVILIZAÇÃO until the mid-’90s and then it was derelict for almost 15 years. But more than a hundred years of history — the built plot was already represented in early 1800’s city plans — hides many stories still to be discovered among older neighbors and the unofficial history of the city of Porto.
The building was really run-down before we turned it into a small boutique hotel. Water was getting inside, so part of the wood was not in a good state. There were only rooms filled with empty shelves. We renovated it to stabilize the structure, got rid of everything that wasn’t original to the building and brought back the traditional elements, and finally added a mix of contemporary furnishings and objects, which brought it back to life. In the end, we found the beautiful vintage street sign by CIVILIZAÇÃO publisher that we salvaged and it is now proudly in display in our brunch room.
Can you talk about your initial plans?
EMANUEL – The main thing was to 'clean' the building to its original charm and beauty. Restoring the proportions and spatial features of the original building, demolishing all other not original interventions made in the meantime. As it was in a rather ruinous state, some of the decorated ceilings could not be saved (with exception of the first-floor suite, which maintained the original Riga wood board flooring and the decorative ceiling with natural features), but we tried to save as much as possible of the original atmosphere, including the amazing central skylight that crowns the original staircase. Although simplified and redone, the atmosphere recalls the era, light, clean, classic. This process of 'cleaning' was complemented by another process of transforming this nineteenth-century townhouse into a contemporary hospitality structure with all the commodities that our present life demands, all done without interfering with the atmosphere and the illusion of going back in time.
What was the true concept behind all this?
EMANUEL – More than preservation or conservation, the project at ROSA ET AL Townhouse was about discovering the contemporaneity of the original structure. We decided that we would not mimic and reproduce every single feature to its original state, but give notice of the aging process of the structure itself, without losing its locus, its soul, its coherence.
How elaborated was the decoration project?
EMANUEL – Part of the furniture was acquired during the refurbishment of the building when the works in the main building were underway but there are also pieces collected in our trips through Europe in recent years. Some pieces came from London, where Patrícia and myself were living at the time of the refurbishment. We love vintage furniture, especially 12th-century pieces, good design and good construction. We thought the furniture would make a nice 'bridge' between the nineteenth-century structure and the contemporary living that we would like to create with this hospitality project. From then on, we just curated the furniture collection to give life to these spaces recounting the history of design throughout the 12th-century, with well-known and iconic pieces but also with others that were just too good of a design to be forgotten, namely mid-century Portuguese pieces.
What is your favorite place in ROSA?
EMANUEL – A cup of tea or a glass of wine in ROSA ET AL’s garden can be an amazing relaxing experience. Our Townhouse is a haven of traditional comfort, good food and good taste, but it’s outside that you will want to be in a spring afternoon, a summer morning or even an autumn warm and sunny day. It’s not so much the size (let’s be honest it is small) of our garden as the fact that it exists at all: an expected private space in the hotel backyard, in the center of Porto. Side by side a magnificent kitchen garden, an essential piece to creating our seasonal menus, a flowered garden (house of our bird community) and an aromatic plant garden that produces some of the best herbal teas on our menu. All of them share the same space with some young fruit trees that are growing up at the same time that ROSA ET AL is. Those who visit us leave delighted by the beauty of our small but sensational garden. Especially the ones who stay in one of the 3 KING GRAND DELUXE SUITES, all with a garden view. Of course, the luckiest ones are the guests of ROSA ET AL Garden Pavilion. The seventh suite is a luxurious experience that you will not forget.

Emanuel de Sousa was interviewed on JULY 2019
Find out more about Emanuel de Sousa architectural practice and hotelier life here.


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