As Corinthia Lisbon launches a new hammam-inspired treatment using Claus Porto products, creative director Anne-Margreet Honing shares her insight into Portuguese culture, and the country’s indelible tie to the 130-year-old brand.
The new treatment itself not only brings Claus Porto products to life, but brings two spa traditions together. Yet the brand is Portuguese to its core, using local vintage prints for packaging, remaining in Porto for production and, to this day, mining the surrounding country for inspiration. Perhaps one of the brand’s biggest achievements is championing Portuguese scent and beauty the world over, taking a page out of Portugal’s pioneering playbook and keeping their culture and standards of excellence at the forefront of what they do, whether in a spa treatment at Corinthia Lisbon or on the shelves of a global store.
This Portuguese history is something Honing has been protective of during her time as creative director so far: “I am very careful to respect this particularity. We don’t want a mass-market Dutch lookalike brand, we don’t want a wannabe French brand, we want a poetic, strange and colourful Portuguese brand.”
It’s an approach that is serving Claus Porto well in their mission to change the global image of Portugal itself, revealing hidden depths beyond sardines and wine. Historically, the country has been a “great traveller and sent ships around the world”, so Honing is determined to continue this tradition for contemporary audiences:
“Portugal had the curiosity to open up towards the world… it has the same ‘savoir-faire’ as Italy. How come there is no luxury brand in Portugal? We can change it, the potential is here on every level.”
Such an alignment of brand and place is a rare achievement in any industry, and it’s been hard-won by extensive research and diving into the archive. To build the brand’s foundation, Honing went back in time: “You have no idea how many insanely beautiful strange fonts or colours are collected in the old brand books. Colours that the industry of today is incapable of making.”
Though so much of the inspiration has come from history, far from feeling old fashioned the brand manages to strike a balance between feeling fresh and modern, with a respectful nod to the past. The perfect finishing touch on a Portuguese spa treatment, with small enough products to take back home in your suitcase.
My first impression of Portugal was:
Wow. Your country is beautiful, full of soul, kindness and amazing light.
Nowhere else can beat Portugal at:
Football hahaha! I don’t compare countries, I love differences and I enjoy each country for its own specifics.
I get my inspiration from:
Everything, especially nature, poetry, and art.
I could not live without:
Art and nature
My best travel tip is:
Respect the country, the people and nature.
My favourite place in the world is:
So many places… raw untouched nature, museums, my art studio and anywhere with my baby girl.
You can experience the hammam treatment using Claus Porto products at Corinthia Lisbon: 50 minutes, €170
What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness, has a meaning that changed for me over the years. At first it was linked to the idea of sport, healthy food, working on getting in a good shape, becoming healthy and better looking. Today, wellness means a space where we can be at peace, out of time, out of the noise and the turmoil of daily life, a space to reconnect with the present and being fully present in that moment. It can happen in a yoga class, during meditation or during a great massage.
What does your ultimate ‘self-care’ Sunday look like?
It means waking up without an alarm, when the body and the mind are ready and have had enough rest. It means a nice healthy breakfast, full of fruits. A massage and a yoga class followed with a facial and a great mani-pedi. And a big hug with my baby daughter.
What wellness trend will you be following in 2020?
Pilates, I am a yogini since 1998 but Pilates on the machines is really great. I am also a massage expert, so if I find the time, I would go test new hands.
What’s going to be lifting your spirits this January?
More nature! More hands in the soil, gardening and walking
A family break to sunny Lisbon. Make it an Easter to remember.