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“In a globalised world, where people and cultures are seemingly more accessible than they have ever been before, we noticed that it can actually be a challenge to find the city behind the ‘travel product’,” says Annassurra co-founder Steen Bock. With this in mind, Steen and his friend and business partner Per Enevoldsen founded Annassurra — a collection of travel and hospitality projects based in Copenhagen and Porto — to create hotels with deep connections to their surrounding cities.
Per, who co-founded jewellery brand Pandora in Copenhagen in 1982, first met Steen when the latter established the franchise of Pandora in the Middle East. The pair have been working together ever since, becoming firm friends in the process. Bonding over their shared love of travel, Per and Steen went on to co-found Annassurra in 2016; seeking an antidote to the homogeneity and formalism they often experienced during more “high-end” excursions. The philosophy behind Annassurra is deceptively simple: craft elegant, understated, but highly considered spaces, fill them with locals who have a natural penchant for hosting and emphasise spontaneity and authenticity over predictability wherever possible. Per and Steen believe the resulting combination — an invigorating mix of genuine hospitality and unique experiences — is the essence of what makes the act of travel so transformative.
With its playful intersection between craft, community, heritage, arts and gastronomy, Per and Steen sensed that Porto was the perfect location for their inaugural project, The Largo, which opened its doors in May 2023. The Largo is an eighteen-room hotel sat across five heritage buildings in the city’s Largo de São Domingos neighbourhood. The design ethos marries heritage and innovation; channelling a homely, “hygge” atmosphere with communal areas modelled directly on the living areas one would find in a typical northern-Portuguese residence. Creative direction of the food and beverage offering across The Largo and its sister projects, the street-facing restaurant Cozinha das Flores and cocktail bar Flôr, is headed by internationally acclaimed Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes. Mendes is equally known for his restaurants’ emphasis on conviviality and
connection as he is for his Michelin-star awarded food; something which shines through both the menus and the design of the projects’ dining areas.
Praised in the short time since opening for its “more than a hotel” approach to art, both in its collection of works and for involvement in the local community of creatives and craftspeople, The Largo further embodies Annassurra’s core ideals of celebrating heritage whilst embracing innovation. The project includes pieces from established names such as Álvaro Siza Vieira and Rui Chafes, but The Largo also champions emerging artists from the local region, including works resulting from an open call grant given to students from the Fine Arts University of Porto.
One key element of Annassurra projects is the in-house experience curation. All guests staying at an Annassurra project will benefit from “experience details” — small gestures of attention and curation, as well as access to the team’s intimate knowledge of the city, upcoming events and other insider connections. Those who wish to extend the team’s insights and introductions can have a completely bespoke journey planned for them by the in-house experience curation team, indulging the guests’ existing pursuits and piquing new interests; discovering locals and activities that might otherwise be inaccessible or unknown to travellers and travel agents. A sense of reciprocity with local project partners and community and leaving room for spontaneity and serendipity are the polestar of such experiences.
To anchor this deep connection between people and place, The Largo’s close-knit team members are all either “Portuense” or long-term residents. Sommeliers Gabriel Monteiro and Ivo Granja are local winemakers; and experiences curator Matilde Carolina Barroso has been working with local businesses for years as a brand consultant. The crew members of The Largo’s private Riva motor yacht, Largo, have navigated the waters of the Douro River since they were children learning how to sail, and guests can charter the yacht for trips up-river to the Douro wine region.
Following the hugely positive reception of The Largo, Annassurra is looking for a site for its next project, continuing its emphasis on fostering genuine connections between travellers and their chosen destinations.
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