quinta-feira, 25 de agosto de 2011

"Boa Vista": brief history

Mais um de diversos post's sobre este edifício emblemático de Macau, desta feita, em inglês... procurando ir de encontro a um pedido frequente dos leitores mais assíduos.
Built in 1870, originally as a residence for Edward and Chatherine Clarke, a British Captain and his wife, they decided in 1890 to turn it into a hotel and named it the “Boa Vista”. Unfortunately their fortunes weren’t so great and they were forced to put it on the market after only a few years. They were about to sell it to the French, who wanted to turn it into a hospital for French soldiers wounded in Indo-China but the sale was opposed by the British who feared a French expansion in China.
And so it went on with several owners, including the Santa Casa De Misericordia (an age-old Catholic charitable organisation that administers various hospitals and clinics and which has an eponymous building on Senado Square). In an unspecified year it was once again turned into a hotel with initially and French, then a  British manager (the latter was deported due to running illegal roulette games in the building – perhaps providing the inspiration to turn Macau into its current status as the worlds biggest gambling twon?) before then being used as a Secondary school (Liceu). All this before 1936.
In 1936 it once again became a hotel, this time under its most famous name as the “Bela Vista” and was unfortunate enough to have its new opening coinciding with the invasion of China by Japan. As a result the place was taken over by the Govt to house Portuguese refugees from China – in particular Shanghai.
The building wasn’t turned back into a hotel again until 1948 when it was bought by three Chinese women. 1948, it seems that the hotels fortunes still had yet to pick up and was hit by more misfortune when its manager, Paulo Chung, suddenly disappeared during the cultural revolution in 1965.  His replacement, Pinto Marques, was luckier staying at the hotel for twenty years until his death – in a chair on the verandah – in 1985. Pinto Marques was a big fan of Napolean and decked the hotel with souvenirs from that era, and was credited with restoring the hotel’s fortunes.
His son Adriano, picked up where he left off but seemed to founder before Excelsior Hotels took out a 25 year lease from the Govt. They decided  a renovation was in order and a couple of local architects were taken on board to see the project through during 1990-92. When it reopened its capacity was drastically reduced (6 rooms) and its financial ruin was more or less secured. It finally closed as a hotel on March 1999. In the end it was taken over by the Portuguese Consul when Macau was handed back to China in December 1999.
From the book called Macao by Phillipe Pons, Hong Kong university Press 
Post em português e com mais imagens (in portuguese and with more images)

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