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From Madeira to the World. Group Pestana celebrates its 40th anniversary

Memorable Moments around the World 90 hotels, 13 countries, 3 continents.

Group Pestana celebrates its 40th anniversary today, the 20th of November 2012.
Celebrating a successful four decade journey the Group now owns and manages more than 90 hotels in Portugal and abroad, one air charter company, six golf courses, two casinos, three real estate tourism complexes, 12 timesharing developments and one tour operator that offer integrated and attractive packages to the markets. In the industry and services, the group, led by Dionísio Pestana owns the local Madeira Brewery (ECM) and has a stake in SDM that runs the International Business Centre of Madeira (CINM). In all Pestana operates in nine business divisions: hotels, golf, gaming, real estate tourism, aviation, tourism distribution, timesharing, industry and financial services.


It is, however, in its main business, the hotels, that Pestana Group is recognized as a leader. Over the past 40 years, the group, which has experienced cycles and counter cycles, has continued to grow and invest in a sustained manner. This year alone, the largest Portuguese Hotel Group opened the Pousada of Cascais, the largest in the country, the sustainable award-winning Pestana Tróia Eco-Resort & Residences and the first unit in Colombia, Pestana Bogota 100. They will be followed by the group’s first hotel in Morocco and in the USA: the Pestana Casablanca and the Pestana South Beach, in Miami that are due to open later this year.


It all began in Madeira, where the group opened its first hotel in 1972, the iconic Pestana Carlton Madeira. A hotel with more than 300 rooms, built by Manuel Pestana, the Group's founder and father of Dionísio Pestana, who returned to his homeland to fulfill the dream of building a luxury hotel in the island. It was from the innovative vision of the young Dionísio Pestana, who returned from South Africa in 1976, that the current international group began to take shape. In the seventies, in a context of national crisis, it took the company a few years for the first hotel to reach its anticipated excellence. To this end, the timesharing model implemented by Dionísio Pestana, at the time a complete innovation in Portugal, contributed decisively to leverage the brand development.


Gradually a strategy of sustainable growth based on the diversification into complementary services took shape. The following strategic moves in the nineties were made in real estate tourism and golf that enabled the Pestana brand to set foot on solid ground in the Algarve, the key national tourism territory and its first step towards leadership in the country. Then followed the first stage of the internationalization that took place in 1998, with the opening of the Mozambique units and, the following year, the Pestana Group bought its first hotel in Brazil, the Pestana Rio Atlântica in Rio de Janeiro, that was later followed by 8 more units in the country.


In 2001 the Group inaugurated its flagship hotel in Lisbon, the Pestana Palace Hotel & National Monument, resulting of the restoration of the Valle Flor Palace and its gardens, both national monuments, a "The Leading Hotels of The World" unit.


Two years later, in 2003 and still in Portugal, Pestana Group won the international tender to manage the Pousadas de Portugal, the country’s historic hotels chain


South Africa, Cape Verde, São Tomé, Argentina and Venezuela were added to the increasingly global map of the brand Pestana, along this first decade of the 21st century. The opening of the Pestana Chelsea Bridge, Hotel & Spa, in London in 2010, initiates a new axis of the Group's expansion towards the European capitals. Berlin was the second European capital outside of Portugal one year later, in 2011, with the opening of the Pestana Berlin Tiergarten.


The outcome of this 40 years route is clear: the Pestana Group is currently the largest Portuguese hotel group with presence in 13 countries on 3 continents.


“The journey to get this far is built everyday with passion and enthusiasm, initiative and spirit, with teamwork and constantly seeking to exceed results. Our growth and diversification has been guided by the attention to our guests’ needs and expectations and also by constantly seeking to exceed the results, with a sense of hard work and social responsibility. For me, the Group’s 40 years are a milestone that requires us to honour the work of those who contributed and continue to contribute to strengthen the Pestana brand that continues pursuing its sustained growth objectives despite the global crisis.”, said Dionísio Pestana, Chairman of the Group.


40 Years on the Group continues to explore new ways of development, within and outside the country.


In the coming years, the main European and South American cities will continue to be the group’s strategic goals.


To celebrate this anniversary, the Group has designed various initiatives throughout the year at all its units.


  • Pestana
  • Pousadas de Portugal
  • Pestana Residence
  • Madeira Casino
  • Pestana Golf Resorts
  • Pestana Vacation Club
  • Pestana Holiday Club
  • Euroatlantic


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