The timing could not be more perfect for the launch of the Pestana CR7 hotel range. Within days of the brand's first property opening, its figurehead, Cristiano Ronaldo, led his country to its historic ultimate victory in Euro 2016.
The Portuguese captain may have been off the field injured when the cup was won, but his popularity remains nothing short of phenomenal. Hence, the Portugal-based Pestana Hotel Group has more-than-happily partnered with the devastating striker to create CR7, a Ronaldo-centric series of properties in Funchal and Lisbon in Portugal, and in Madrid, Spain – the home of his professional football life – and in New York, where he bought a $23 million apartment earlier this year.
And the first CR7 – his initials and the number on his Real Madrid jersey, and also the name of his fashion label – on the waterfront in Funchal, shows how Ronaldo-centric they are, even down to little banana ornaments (aah, remember that banana kick?), bronze casts of his hands protruding from walls, framed jerseys, portraits and football-pitch green carpet along corridors, among many other touches.
Despite all that – though fittingly for a space dedicated to one of the most stylish men in the world – the CR7 Funchal design by Lisbon-based designer Cristina Matos, is all about contemporary elegance, with rooms and suites reflecting current trends in modern luxury hotel design. It has 49 rooms featuring mid-century and industrial-style furnishings and more banana references on throws and cushions.
A striking feature is the pink-tiled pool on a deck overlooking the harbour with rows of deckchairs beside it, perfect for working on that Ronaldo-style tan.
And perhaps also fittingly for a place dedicated to a man whose life is lived in the celebrity fish bowl, rooms in the Praco do Mar location face a cruise terminal, giving passengers a box seat view.
The CR7 Museum is just down the road. Lisbon's CR7 opens later this year with the others to follow in 2017.
Rooms from $310 a night. See pestanacr7.com