Pousada de Mong-Há

The Educational Hotel of Institute for Tourism Studies

Enchantment

With the enchantment of an ancient, bygone world, the cannons and embattlements of the eminent XIX century Fortress at the top of Mong-Há Hill never did get to serve their purpose and were later to be abandoned, to be hidden by an assault of looming trees and heavy shrubbery. It so remained for probably half a century until in the early 1970's a young Portuguese Officer was to challenge this silence when, appalled at the living conditions of sergeants at their living quarters at Calcada de Santo Agostinho at Macao's popular Praia Grande seafront, he proposed to build a new military barracks for them at the Mong-Há Hill.

Surrounded by a patchwork of early Buddhist temples, commanding spectacular views of the Pearl River, the Fort again took up military residents, secluded and shielded this time in its grounds and gardens. The "Red Carnation Revolution" in Portugal, in 1974, would again make residence in Mong-Há grounds short lived, when all the military were called home. After 1979 when the Macao Government Tourist Office took over the operation, turning it into a Pousada*, the barracks used to house overseas civil servants, was adapted as a training unit for the Hotel and Tourism Training School that would later merge into IFT. When the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) was formed in 1995, the Pousada de Mong-Há opened its doors to the public and reinforced its purpose as a training unit, being entirely run by IFT students.

Guests now enjoy the beautiful "azulejos" (Portuguese hand painted tiles) while savouring the home-made bread and jams at the romantic breakfast room giving panoramic views of the herb garden and the bird-feeders. They explore pathways that gracefully meander through lush gardens and colourful foliage, and can occasionally notice a lone rustic cannon peering through waving branches - their time is long over, as the Pousada is now home to guests wishing for unrivalled attention to detail and service, when either for business or pleasure, they spend their afternoons not as Mong-Há was originally quite intended, but working or lounging in serene rooms, on shaded patios and balconies with an ambience of effortless enjoyment.

The Pousada de Mong-Há is a place where history itself has created an atmosphere of romance, allowing guests to indulge in excess in one of Macao's most tranquil settings and IFT students to excel in a place with character and human warmth.

* 'Pousada' is a Portuguese word meaning' a place of blessed repose'

 

Glenn McCartney & Virginia Trigo

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