The former Hotel Guadiana was located at the mouth of the namesake river and is said to be the oldest hotel in the south of Portugal. Or to be more precise, south of the Tagus river, marking the beginning of tourism in the Algarve in the start of the 20th century.
Designed by Swiss architect Ernesto Korrodi (1870-1944), who worked on more than 400 buildings in Portugal during his lifetime, the Hotel Guadiana opened in 1926 and was arguably the most modern and refined venue of the area at the time.
For the construction of the hotel, the two-storey fishing cooperative building planned by the Marquis of Pombal was demolished. The eclectic combination of decorative richness, Art Nouveau elements and a touch of Baroque would become a distinctive feature of Korrodi’s personal style.
The hotel was headed by the German Konrad Wissman, who began his career in the country and is regarded as Portugal’s first hotelier. Born in 1859 in Nieder Rimsuigen, Wissman remained in Lisbon during the last decade of the 19th century and became the managing director of the Bragança and Central de Lisboa hotels for several years. He later opened the Palace Buçaco, as well as the Grande Hotel da Curia, the Palace Hotel, the Metrópole Hotel de Lisboa and the Hotel Caramulo. While Portugal’s hotel industry was still in its infancy, Wissman had already reached the peak of his career, owning five hotels and being equally respected and envied by his peers – but then World War I broke out. Portugal’s government confiscated the German entrepreneur’s hotels and Wissman and his family were deported to Spain, where he lived in distress. After the war, he resignedly accepted a position in one of the houses he had founded and was finally invited by Manuel Ramirez to run the Grande Hotel Guadiana.