New DNA Hotels find: Dona Emília, Viana do Castelo – Portugal

Dona Emília is a boutique guest house located in the heart of Viana do Castelo overlooking Praça da República. Set within a century-old building, the central staircase is the focal point and access point between the three floors that are filled with art, contemporary furnishings, vintage finds and precious curiosities.

Common areas include a kitchen which opens to the public every Friday lunchtime for private tastings; an art gallery; store (featuring products from local artisans); and a retro-inspired lounge and terrace.

With three rooms that can be changed according to the specific needs of each reservation (single, double, twin, triple, quadruple or dormitory) and three suites, the house offers different typologies and modalities of accommodation. In the garden is a seasonal outdoor pool. Free use of bicycles to explore the surroundings (or visit the beach).

Exhibitions, art residencies, and workshops form part of a cultural programme that’s open to visitors and public.

Your hosts: Rute Esteves & Nuno Freitas

✅Free Wi-Fi
• 3 rooms, 3 suites
• Hotel opened: August 2016
• Interiors: Rute Esteves & Nuno Freitas

The DNA: The idea for the name is an homage to Emília Freitas, 90 years old and a full life. Besides her culinary and sewing skills, Dona Emília, as she is simply known in the city, is mostly remembered for renting rooms and singing fado, sheltering the resistance during the dictatorship and fighting for equal rights for women. Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren inherited the family values of social solidarity, democracy and liberty. For the hosts, the grandson Nuno Freitas (architect), and his wife Rute (teacher and performer), the choice of the name explains the identity that they wanted to give to their project, combining human and affective aspects (here each guest is a friend and may feel literally at home) with a strong cultural dynamic. Exhibitions, workshops and art residencies are part of the activities regularly presented to visitors and open to the public. The aim is to present the city, which is traditionally appreciated for its natural diversity, lifestyle and traditions, as a destination not only directed to the conventional tourist, but also as a place of excellence for the artistic creation.

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