The Women of PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection

the women of phc hotels Portuguese hospitality collection

The power of another woman’s story can be oh-so-powerful! At LH, we love sharing the stories of women behind brands they have dreamt of, founded, and built. These are the women who bring companies to life—women who are living, working, creating, inspiring, raising families, and more. In The Women of … series, we delve into the minds and worlds of these women to share their empowering and uplifting thoughts and stories. Up now, The Women of PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection.

Meet PHC Hotels, A Brand Fueled by Passion, Preservation, and Innovation

Founded by the Maximino family in Lisboa, Portugal, PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection is on a mission to honor the past and reinvent the future of hotels. Led by Carla and Mário Maximino, who strive to honor their parents’ hospitality industry legacy, PHC Hotels’ portfolio includes four stunning properties in Lisbon.

First up, the iconic Hotel Mundial and its 60+ years of history in the heart of Lisbon. Next, the boutique Hotel Portugal in Baixa with its offering of refined elegance. Followed by My Suite Lisbon, modern serviced apartments in the trendy Principe Real neighborhood. And last but certainly not least, Convent Square Lisbon Hotel, Vignette Collection, a peaceful retreat set in a 13th-century convent in Baixa—we needn’t say more!

Excellence in customer service, a passion for economic sustainability in the hospitality industry, and a love for people are the core of PHC Hotels. The talented team driving PHC forward and upward is composed of hundreds of skilled and passionate individuals. Today, we highlight the brand’s female leadership! Read on to learn the story of PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection, meet the women behind the name, and discover their quintessentially Lisboa locations.

The Women of PHC Hotels

Carla Maximino


Carla Maximino CEO PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection

When did your love affair with hospitality begin? And how did it make you feel?

The hotel industry has always been part of my life. I grew up in the Lisbon hotel my parents invested in at the beginning of the 80s, and I never left it again!

I’m sure that part of my personality, how I relate to others, has a lot to do with the characteristics necessary for anyone who works in hospitality: friendliness, dedication to people, and an eagerness to find solutions. In my case, I dare to say that these Public Relations characteristics are innate!

Tell us a bit about your path and what led to your decision to start PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection.

I always knew that my professional future would be in this branch of the family business. Although there were other options, they didn’t catch my eye. But in the hotel industry, I wanted to grow personally and professionally. From a very early age, I started to pay attention to details. And to understand and value the work and dedication of the professionals. Many of whom remained with the company for over 40 years.

I graduated in Business Management, not focusing on hospitality in particular. I left this specialization to my eldest son. This year, he completed his studies at Glion, one of the best schools to obtain a degree of Excellence in hospitality and luxury business! But for my journey, after finishing the course I immediately joined the company. I took on roles in the promotion and sales areas. I followed the path of promotion with travel agencies and international tourism fairs. Then, I took my first steps in the marketing department.

Later, I started to get involved in the development of the Hotel’s expansion and renovation projects. And, of course, thinking about the company’s growth. With my brother “on board”, who had also completed his studies in Business Management, we started with our father to acquire other buildings to adapt into hotels. The end of the 90s showed us the announced growth in tourism. For Portugal in particular, with the launch of two major national projects: Expo 98 and Euro 2004.

phc hotels hotel munidal view of lisbon at night
Hotel Mundial

The Hotel doubled its capacity in time for the European Football Championship—it now has 350 rooms—and construction began on two other buildings in Lisbon. One of them was sold to another national hotel group shortly before we completed the work. The other, a boutique hotel right in the city center, which won lots of awards in this segment, opened splendidly during the Portuguese tourism boom.

The Beginning of PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection

An unexpected event—the passing of our father—forced us to reevaluate the company’s management and the path to follow. I am convinced that the project we designed was the best. We modernized processes, launched new hotel products and services, and renewed infrastructure. We created more conditions for our employees to integrate into the company’s culture and decided to buy other buildings.

We created PHC Hotels in order to have a brand that brings together a set of units, different from each other, but with a common denominator.

At that time, we created PHC Hotels in order to have a brand that brings together a set of units, different from each other, but with a common denominator. We acquired a small unit already in operation in a premium part of the city, and a 13th-century Convent in the capital’s historic center. The detailed and time-consuming work of restoring and maintaining the entire built heritage of a building with those characteristics resulted in an incredible hotel.

Convent Square Lisbon Hotel Courtyard, Vignette Collection - PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection
Convent Square Lisbon Hotel, Vignette Collection

The next project began to take shape, which is perhaps the most ambitious to date. We will soon begin the total and in-depth renovation of the group’s first unit, Hotel Mundial, so that it remains a reference in the hotel industry in the center of Lisbon. When completed, it will be a new and fresh hotel, even better in terms of positioning, infrastructure, and services.

Being a family Company and having your brother Mário as Co-CEO alongside you, how do you work as a team, and what is the secret to keeping the business healthy and growing?

We have a common focus, and we understand the business the same way. Above all, we will always honor the memory of our parents. This is the legacy we received and assumed at a very young age. We truly work as a team. Although our training is equivalent, we have completely different skills. My brother is a manager and a pure financier. I am a hotelier and PR.

We complement each other, and the company grows through the intervention of each person in their area. As they say, we take no steps bigger than our legs. And we listen to each other and trust each other completely.

Who is Carla Maximino, The Woman of PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection?

Carla is a 50-year-old woman with the strength of a 30-year-old! She works with rigor and dedication but always has time for family, friends, and another trip. She likes to receive and spoil friends at home. Go to parties, especially the most intimate ones. And spend quality time with her children and husband. This gives her the energy that, say those who know her, never ends!

Carla Maximino - PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection

When women invest in other women, we all rise together. Do you have any specific thoughts you would like to share about the women on your team? How do they make a difference on the Strategic and Operational levels?

At this moment, we proudly have almost 300 employees on our staff, a slightly higher percentage of women than men. At the management level, the same happens; at PHC Hotels, the number of women and men is quite equal.

Few tasks are more specific to men or women. When recruiting and selecting professionals, what interests us is their training, expectations, enthusiasm, ambition, and commitment. It is not the imposition of quotas by the government and other organizations that moves us. At PHC Hotels, any woman wants—and enjoys—to be recognized by the meritocracy system!

But we also feel that women have a more refined sensitivity. They are often more organized and are more willing to listen and speak, often exposing their feelings. This naturally facilitates communication.

Who/what has contributed most to your success?

Success transcends mere material wealth or societal recognition. It encompasses personal growth, resilience in the face of challenges, and the cultivation of authentic connections and relationships.

Success is not only measured by external markers but by the alignment of one’s actions with their values and the pursuit of goals that bring about genuine fulfillment and contentment.

What drives me to continue the legacy of my parents and make this company a benchmark in Portugal and around the world is the success of my teams.

Early on in my life, my mother and father set an example for me. They always inspired me to strive for excellence. Today, what drives me to continue the legacy of my parents and make this company a benchmark in Portugal and around the world is the success of my teams. It’s the results we achieve across various dimensions: quantitative, qualitative, social, and environmental. Having the right people is crucial: those who inspire me and challenge me always to strive to be better as a person and as an administrator.

koket reve mirror - black and gold luxury handmade mirror wall art

As an international lifestyle traveler, what do you love most about hotel details? What is the most curious experience that you have lived in a hotel?

Traveling—whether for work or leisure—is essential for happiness. It challenges us and broadens our horizons, expands our cultural awareness, and exposes us to trends. Above all, it makes us aware that the world, despite globalization, remains immense and renewed!

For me, hotels and the world of hospitality are an important part of the travel experience. There are incredible units—of all categories—all over the world. The same goes for wonderful and different restaurants, bars, nightclubs, or beach clubs. It’s so gratifying to arrive at a place and feel that, in addition to its setting and architecture, it presents new features in terms of equipment, technology, decoration, and never-before-seen details! And, of course, the level of service and the ability to anticipate customer needs.

Traveling—whether for work or leisure—is essential for happiness.

I have had many incredible experiences and been very happy on all continents. Of course, depending on the country’s culture, there are different ways of being welcomed. But as a smile always makes a difference, I remember the genuine smiles I received from Iceland to Greece, from Brazil to Kenya, from the Maldives to the Philippines, and from the United States to Mexico!

How do you describe each hotel? And how do they complement each other in terms of Guest Experience?

The Unique Charm of PHC Hotels in Lisbon

Nestled within the vibrant streets of Lisbon, the PHC Hotels offer a collection of distinct properties, each with its own character and allure. From the historic charm of Hotel Mundial and Boutique Hotel Portugal to the contemporary serviced apartments of My Suite Lisbon at Principe Real and the luxury lifestyle of Convent Square Lisbon Hotel Vignette Collection, these establishments embody the essence of Portuguese hospitality while offering diverse experiences to their guests.

Hotel Mundial: Where History Meets Timeless Comfort

Located in the heart of Lisbon, Hotel Mundial is a landmark of the city’s hospitality scene. Boasting a rich history dating back to 1958, this iconic hotel seamlessly blends its traditional charm with modern amenities. Guests are treated to spacious rooms adorned with classic decor, along with breathtaking views of the city skyline, especially from the Varanda de Lisboa Restaurant and the Rooftop Bar with 360º Panoramic view. With its premium location and warm hospitality, Hotel Mundial serves as a gateway to Lisbon’s cultural treasures and vibrant atmosphere.

most beautiful rooftop bar in lisbon at hotel mundial
360 View Rooftop Bar at Hotel Mundial

Hotel Portugal: A Refined Elegance

Nestled in the historic Baixa district, Hotel Portugal exudes timeless elegance and sophistication. This boutique hotel captivates guests with its intimate ambiance and impeccable attention to detail. From its stylishly appointed rooms to its Premium Wine House with unique wines, every aspect of Hotel Portugal reflects the essence of Portuguese luxury. Whether savoring local “petiscos” at the Jony Rules or exploring the nearby attractions, guests are immersed in an unforgettable experience of refined comfort and hospitality.

Lobby & Guest Suite at Hotel Portugal

My Suite Lisbon: Modern Serviced Apartments at Principe Real

For travelers seeking contemporary apartments, My Suite Lisbon offers an urban sanctuary of style and comfort. Situated in the trendy Principe Real neighborhood, this brand redefines urban living with its sleek design and upscale amenities. Each suite is meticulously crafted to provide a sense of modern elegance and comfort, complete with daily facilities and personalized service. Whether unwinding or exploring the city’s vibrant nightlife, guests are immersed in a world of trendy indulgence and urban lifestyle.

my suite lisbon apartment guest suites PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection
My Suite Lisbon Serviced Apartments

Convent Square Lisbon Hotel, Vignette Collection: Luxury hotel in 13th Century Convent

Tucked away in the picturesque Baixa district, Convent Square Hotel offers a tranquil retreat from the bustle of city life. Housed within a historic convent dating back to the 13th century, this charming hotel exudes a sense of serenity and authenticity. Guests can unwind in the peaceful cloister or retreat to their elegantly appointed rooms. Set in the original chapter house, the noblest room in the convent, Capítulo Restaurant & Bar is where travelers and locals meet to experience traditional Portuguese flavors. Enjoy an awe-inspiring dining experience featuring Chef Vítor Sobral’s signature creations paired with a selection of Portugal’s finest wines.

convent square hotel, vignette collection lisbon portugal
Capítulo Restaurant & Bar at Covent Square Hotel

With its serene ambiance and timeless charm, Convent Square Hotel provides a unique opportunity to experience Lisbon’s rich cultural heritage in a tranquil setting.

Complementing Each Other for an Unforgettable Guest Experience

While each PHC Hotel offers a distinct atmosphere and experience, they collectively contribute to a holistic guest experience. Together, they showcase the diversity and richness of Lisbon’s hospitality scene. Across our properties, guests have the opportunity to explore different facets of the city’s culture and heritage. Whether seeking romance, relaxation, or adventure, the PHC Hotels provide a perfect blend of comfort, convenience, and charm, ensuring an unforgettable stay in the heart of Lisbon.

In your words, why has Lisbon become such an important destination, and why do people fall in love with this city?

Lisbon, Portugal, has captured the hearts of travelers worldwide and evolved into an essential destination for those seeking a unique and enchanting experience. Several factors contribute to its allure.

Firstly, Lisbon’s rich history is palpable in its cobblestone streets, ancient ruins, and colorful neighborhoods. From the imposing São Jorge Castle overlooking the city to the picturesque Alfama district, where Fado music echoes through narrow alleys, every corner tells a story of centuries past.

Secondly, Lisbon boasts a vibrant cultural scene that appeals to a wide range of tastes. Art galleries showcase both traditional and contemporary works, while museums delve into Portugal’s maritime history, explorers, and artistic achievements. The city’s culinary offerings are equally enticing. With fresh seafood, delectable pastries like pastéis de nata, and a burgeoning craft beer and wine scene.

Lisbon’s blend of history, culture, cuisine, natural beauty, hospitality, and affordability creates a magnetic allure.

Moreover, Lisbon’s mild climate and stunning natural surroundings add to its allure. With its location along the Tagus River and proximity to beautiful beaches like Cascais and Estoril, visitors can easily combine urban exploration with coastal relaxation.

Additionally, Lisbon’s welcoming atmosphere and friendly locals contribute to its charm. Whether chatting with vendors at the bustling Mercado da Ribeira or sharing a meal with newfound friends in a traditional tasca, visitors often find themselves embraced by the warmth of Portuguese hospitality.

Lastly, Lisbon’s affordability compared to other European capitals makes it an attractive destination for travelers seeking both value and quality experiences.

Lisbon’s blend of history, culture, cuisine, natural beauty, hospitality, and affordability creates a magnetic allure. It captivates visitors and leaves them longing to return, earning it a well-deserved reputation as one of Europe’s most beloved cities.

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PHC’s most recent project, Convent Square Hotel, Vignette Collection, sets the tone for lifestyle hospitality. What are the main unique selling propositions that you consider vital for its success?

The Convent Square Hotel offers several unique features that set it apart from other accommodations:

Historic Charm: Situated in a converted convent, the hotel exudes historic charm and character. Guests can immerse themselves in the rich history of the building while enjoying modern comforts and amenities.

Central Location: Located in the heart of the city, Convent Square Hotel provides convenient access to popular attractions, shopping districts, dining options, and public transportation hubs. This makes it an ideal choice for travelers looking to explore the city with ease.

Tranquil Atmosphere: Despite its central location, Convent Square Hotel offers a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere, allowing guests to relax and unwind after a day of sightseeing or business meetings.

Unique Architecture: The hotel’s architecture showcases a blend of historic and contemporary design elements. It is a visually stunning environment that enhances the overall guest experience.

Convent Square Hotel, Vignette Collection

Exceptional Service: The staff at Convent Square Hotel are known for their attentive and personalized service, ensuring that guests feel welcome and well taken care of throughout their stay.

On-Site Amenities: Convent Square Hotel offers a range of on-site amenities designed to enhance the guest experience and cater to their needs. Upscale dining options and wellness facilities with an indoor plunge pool, sauna, and fitness room are all designed to elevate guests’ experience.

Overall, Convent Square Lisbon Hotel, Vignette Collection is a 13th-century convent thoughtfully reimagined for the 21st-century traveler. It provides a memorable and distinctive stay for travelers seeking a combination of history, convenience, tranquility, and exceptional service.

The iconic Hotel Mundial is starting a requalification, and we know you have an emotional connection to this hotel. How do you balance the emotional side with the more rational decisions?

As the iconic Hotel Mundial embarks on its journey of requalification, we recognize the deep emotional connection many have with this historic establishment. While emotions undoubtedly play a significant role in decisions surrounding such beloved institutions, it’s essential to strike a balance with rational considerations to ensure the success and longevity of the transformation.

Acknowledging the sentimental value of Hotel Mundial, we must approach the requalification process with sensitivity and respect for its legacy. Preserving key elements of its identity, such as architectural features, historical significance, and cherished traditions, can help maintain the qualities people hold dear.

Hotel Mundial reconfiguration design
Hotel Mundial reconfiguration design

Simultaneously, rational decision-making is crucial to address guests’ evolving needs, industry trends, and competitive dynamics. Thorough market research, analyzing performance metrics, and soliciting feedback from stakeholders can provide valuable insights. These help inform strategic decisions regarding renovations, service enhancements, and branding initiatives.

This balanced approach ensures that the requalification preserves its heritage while also enhancing its appeal in a dynamic hospitality landscape.

How do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I see myself with another 10 years of wisdom, knowledge, and new projects completed, whether professional, family, or social. I see myself with more white hair but always dyed, with more wrinkles but always well-made-up. And above all, I see myself as more thoughtful and happy!

Do you have any mottos you like to live by?

I always remember two sentences from my father who, with his characteristic humor, said, “Luck takes a lot of work.” And another: “There is nothing like a little difficulty!”

Words from The Women of PHC Hotels Leadership Team

Ana Cristina Guilherme

Head of Marketing & Communications

phc hotels ana cristina guilherme Head of Marketing & Communications

In the realm of hospitality, particularly within the sphere of PHC Hotels, branding and marketing play pivotal roles. They help shape not only the identity, but also the success of the Portuguese Hospitality Collection establishments. As I’ve often emphasized, effective branding fosters a connection with guests that goes beyond mere accommodation—it becomes an experience.

The brand is the soul of PHC Hotels, encapsulating its essence and values. This vision permeates every aspect, from the most intangible, such as ethos and culture, to the most rentable, like occupancy rates and revenue. From the logo to the ambiance, every aspect contributes to crafting a narrative that resonates with the target audience. It evokes emotions and builds loyalty. Moreover, robust marketing strategies amplify this narrative, ensuring it reaches the right audience through targeted campaigns across various platforms.

In a competitive landscape where choices abound, strategic branding and marketing serve as powerful tools to not only attract guests but also to retain them. We are fostering enduring relationships that are fundamental to PHC Hotels’ sustained growth and prosperity.

Elsa Rodrigues

Business Development Director

elsa rodrigues phc hotels Business Development Director

I am a passionate hotelier and a firm believer that results are largely dependent on hard work and genuine commitment toward your projects and goals, your teams, your focus, and your drive. In this respect, I couldn’t be happier or more enthused to be working at PHC Hotels Portuguese Hospitality Collection. And to contribute towards the growth and transformation process that our company is undergoing now.

I’m proud to be a part of the amazing team at PHC Hotels, which has an incredibly special human dimension. I’m also highly grateful that my path has allowed me to meet so many extraordinary professionals who have inspired me to reach higher along the way.

Sofia Varandas

Financial Director

sofia varandas - Financial Director - portuguese hospitality collection

“Embrace, respect and cherish the PAST, focusing on the milestones, goals and purposes of the FUTURE.”

Ana Parreira

Quality & Sustainable Manager

ana parreira Quality & Sustainable Manager

My professional life is marked by the attitude of resilience and non-conformity that, deep down, has always characterized me, and that I bring to each project. It is this kind of restlessness that makes me want to continue evolving, exploring new paths, and always learning more, with a level of persistence that is only possible when you believe in a project and the transformative role that we can play in it.

Gabriela Correia

Human Resources Director

gabriela correia Human Resources Director

“The greatness of a company lies in its ability to learn from the past, adapt to the present, and anticipate the future.”

Peter Drucker

In the journey of life at PHC Hotels Portuguese Hospitality Collection, each employee/person is a protagonist shaping their professional path, where challenges are steps for growth and achievements are chapters that tell the story of personal accomplishments.

Explore PHC Hotels!

Introduction & Curation by Anna Beck, Copyediting by Bridget Kitson
All Photos Courtesy of PHC Hotels – Portuguese Hospitality Collection

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