After traveling to Trancoso on vacation, the creative director of Diesel, Wilbert Das, fell completely in love with the small fishing village. A few return trips later, he decided to buy a place–an old house facing the town’s Quadrado (historic square overlooking the sea), which had been restored to an Indian-style pousada with a beautiful but overgrown garden hidden behind the house.
Wilbert was in the middle of remodeling it as a second home/design studio when he had the idea of restoring some of the nearby houses as a community like “a hotel that’s not a hotel.” Enter Uxua: nine individual, seriously stunning homes, all built or restored by local artisans, plus a social lounge, bar and library. Luxurious, yes, but in a rustic, traditional way.
Fallen tree trunks are carved out to form sinks, baths and showers; roof tiles are restored from old farmhouses; and local ceramics cover floors and act as décor. When Wilbert was renovating the spaces, he wanted to honor the color, exuberance and spirit of the centuries-old village. He used local craftsman, recycled and repurposed materials, and even designed many of the pieces himself (including the beautiful chandeliers made from dried indigenous berries).
“Some of our decorative elements were made by Pataxó Indians who live on a reservation just up the coast from Trancoso. One of these Indians loved the old trees and variety of plants in the garden of the property and described the place to me with the Pataxó word for ‘marvelous,’ which I borrowed and translated as UXUA, giving the hotel its name,” says Wilbert. “I’m a very rational Dutch guy but for me the Quadrado has some magic power that I have only encountered here, it completely relaxes me and takes away all the stress the minute I step foot on it.”
[All photos by Fernando Lombardi unless noted otherwise.]