Interview: João Pinto Coelho, Sales Director at Quinta da Marinha, Lisbon

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Obviously 2020 and the start of this year have been extremely difficult for the golf industry and tourism as a whole. How has the golf course and the resort at Quinta da Marinha dealt with Covid-19?

It’s been a huge challenge for all of us in Golf industry, specially because we rely a lot on international markets that have been unable to travel. We had to adapt and focus on the domestic market which is much smaller and guests don’t need to sleep in the Hotel or Villas.

The occupancy rate of the resort has dropped dramatically, felt like a big hotel turned into a boutique hotel, so we took the opportunity to deliver higher levels of service, including lots of personalised details during the stay of our customers.

What are your lasting memories from Lockdown going to be?

On the bad side, not being able to hug family and friends. (please don’t cry 😊)

On the good side, less e-mails, more time to enjoy meals and nice conversations…

Have there been any changes in the last few years at the resort and golf course that our readers should know about?

We did a big upgrade to the Hotel, including all rooms, new signature suites, lobby, bar and restaurant.

We finished all this heavy work just before the first lockdown.  So, we still have some rooms that haven’t been used yet.

How do you see the recovery for golf and tourism post lockdown going for the rest of 2021?

During the last 12 months, all we did was forecasting based on wishful thinking.  So, we didn’t get one forecast right.

Having said this, I don’t mind trying again 😊

We have hope that in spring we might start receiving some international golfers. A very small number and very last minute but will be the beginning.

In Autumn , we expect to start having a big increase but still very far from the numbers of 2019.

How is Quinta da Marinha going to entice golfers back to the Cascais area post lockdown?

We are finalizing the works on our Villas, a considerable investment to improve them and make them more modern and comfortable.

Our driving range also improved a lot, a new putting green will soon be available with a new and big esplanade to enjoy the sun and some nice food.

Basically, we will rely a lot on communicating product and service improvements that we prepared during this long slow period.

Tell our readers something about you that they may not already know?

I can tell you three 😊

  1. I have an identical twin brother who has never beat me in golf, ever ! (ok, maybe I don’t remember some matches)
  2. I have no TV at home, saving me time to read more and to do sports, I do sports everyday (mainly running)
  3. I have a blog with local tips about Cascais, restaurants etc, www.LocalCascais.com

What is your favourite restaurant in Cascais and what is your favourite restaurant in Lisbon?

Monte Mar Cascais, fish and sea food, is my favourite but doesn’t count because it belongs to our group.

So, excluding that one, I have to choose “Hifen”, kind of a hip place with wonderful food.

In Lisbon, I love “Praia no Parque”, great food and good fun.

You can see more pictures and read here the fascinating history behind the holes at Onryia.