Portuguese company launches experiential brand

Following, perhaps, the biggest trend in the hotel business, Portugal’s Discovery Hotel Management (DHM) has formed a new brand that puts a much more authentically local emphasis on the hotel experience.

Octant Hotels, which is comprised of eight converted hotels from Discovery’s portfolio of 18 properties, puts local experiences first and aims to showcase the best that the location has to offer through food, wine and experiences. The properties are in the Algarve, Alentejo, Azores, Lousã and Castelo de Paiva.

DHM CEO Luís Mexia Alves told HOTELS that the group saw a gap in the Portuguese market for a hotel brand that meets the needs of more modern travelers. “The company sought to bridge that gap by bringing in a new wave of hotels that put the guest first, offering a product that was luxurious yet still accessible,” he said.

Octant Évora pool suite in Portugal

Moving forward, the Octant business model includes looking for existing hotel properties that can be rebrand and remodel in interesting Portuguese markets. “They will lead to new jobs, a vibrant new community within that location, and drive tourism to lesser-known areas of Portugal,” Alves added. “With this in mind, there will absolutely be new hotels added to the group when the right opportunity arises.”

While growth is definitely in the cards for Octant, Alves added that there are no new properties confirmed as of yet . “For now, DHM is planning on ensuring the switch over is as smooth as possible,” he said. “We are going further to develop the Octant brand to ensure that it really stands up against all other competitors and becomes the pioneer of modern travel in Portugal.”
Providing informal, luxurious, and sustainable stays based on an authentic connection to their unique locations and people, each hotel will offer an entirely unique proposition while remaining committed to the brands ethos of localism and freedom.

While the hotels were rebranded, Alves said there wasn’t a need to update the interiors as they are already “aesthetically beautiful.” He said what really changed is the service and the way the hotels are run under the Octant brand. “The real changes are within the mindset of the hotels,” he added.

Among the signature elements of Octant is giving guests the ability to use the hotel’s facilities at any time of the day. If they want breakfast at night, for example, it is available. Curated experiences are the other critical component of the brand. Food and beverage at each hotel is unique to the region, featuring local delicacies and specialties, as well as regional wine varieties from hero producers.

Experiences are developed by local purveyors, whether it be a pottery session with a local artisan, olive oil tasting with a local producer, or cooking with a local culinarian. There are already more than 200 local suppliers being used by Octant Hotels and the goal is to reach over 400 within the next year.

Discovery Hotel Management, which over the past 10 years has reimagined properties that were previously in administration, currently employs over 1,300 staff.