The owners, Eglantina and Francisco, are proud of the produce of the region and their hotel is a reflection of that. It’s evolved through seven family generations and it took 10 years (it opened in 2008) to create what is today Companhia das Culturas.
There are nine uniquely decorated rooms, four apartments with kitchenettes, two swimming pools, a gorgeous hammam and plenty of spaces to hangout.
Every object in the hotel has been recycled and restored with the use of local materials. The furniture, therefore, is an interesting mix of different periods and styles and the result is both unique and beautiful.
A wholesome organic breakfast with homemade, seasonal and local produce, including eggs straight from the coop!
Laze by the pool or by the sea - the nearest beach is 1.5km away.
The Corkbox, a yoga cork-lined room which resembles an art installation.
Complimentary yoga classes.
Seafood lovers will enjoy the local and super fresh specialities such as oysters, razor clams and tuna.
Bear in Mind
There are no TV’s anywhere (makes perfect sense).
Wifi is available in the communal areas. You might get some signal in your room.
Service is low key but that’s part of the charm.
Wild cats often wander around – they’re small and harmless (do not feed them, though).
The hotel is closed during the winter but they might be able to accommodate for big groups.
“This farmhouse had belonged to the family for seven generations. It was important for us to respect the heritage.”
This is a redevelopment of a farmhouse that has belonged to the family for seven generations. It used to be an urban centre that once housed workers and that served to store and transform agricultural products. With the dismantling of traditional agriculture at the beginning of the 1980s, we needed to give it a new direction.
A long time. The first phase took ten years, it was a stage during which we had to understand the place, the ecosystem, and also the available financing options to keep from resorting to loans, we worked on the basis of how much we could afford and invest by ourselves.
None. It wasn’t an option, but the answer to the question: what to do with a heritage that we need to take care of? As well as continuing with the agricultural production, especially the organic rain-fed orchard. The hotel was the most logical answer.
It’s called the “chã” architecture which can be found in the region. Since its construction, in the mid eighteenth century until now, it has undergone several interventions resulting in influences from different periods.
Additions, such as the needs of agricultural activity, which resulted in new emerging materials and construction techniques. The Modern Style of the late 20s is noticeable – the doorways and high windows, geometric tiles in the main house or the garage for the harvesting machine in the 40s, creates a contrast to the adobe houses of the workers and for storing or for the animals.
The last intervention was done in collaboration with the architect Pedro Ressano Garcia, who worked to adapt what was already here, to the purpose of hosting people.
Each room is a room in itself. One has an adobe wall, another has a part of a stone wall which hasn’t been plastered – each allowing the feel of the multiple layers of time. The window openings are also all different, but all open onto a patio.
There isn’t a corridor, instead there is a labyrinthine courtyard. The lime, the stone, stroked cement, wooden ceilings with a wash of white paint and some objects made of cork are the most used materials.
A coffee table which is now in the communal living room, an old olive oil mill with a glass… I like it because it’s weird, it’s crazy. Also, in the living room there is a massive mirror which is on the floor against the wall and a cabinet with wood on the outside and sheet metal on the inside – it’s vaguely weird too.
Some belonged to the house, others I just keep finding in vintage shops. Some are cleaned or recovered but I also transform some objects, adapting them to their new needs. The aura of the objects is about time and this manifests itself in their marks, inconsistencies and imperfections.
It used to be the garage for a threshing machine. The construction of plastered brick and vain tile roof was very badly insulated. By working with what has been given to us, and seeing as we are part of the cork oak ecosystem, and in some ways also cork producers, its intensive application – on the ceiling, the walls and on the floor – it was a choice that made sense.
We got the inspiration from the ecosystem, keeping up with the principle of working with what is in place at the time – meaning locally sourced and seasonal. We don’t use any processed products from the food industry, or anything from the big urban areas. We work with our own products and those from our neighbours. We see the act of eating as a political one.
“We work with our own products and those from our neighbours.”
The fresh fish from the coast, the meat from grazing livestock, the vegetables and the fruit which are daily picked from the garden, and the carob which is little known outside the region. What really impresses guests is the flavour of the products. Instead of hiding the flavours, our kitchen values them; it celebrates the products and its producers.
The Hammaam is part of the Roman and Arabic tradition of public baths that were a mark throughout the Mediterranean. The Inquisition in the sixteenth century forbade them. We’re inviting and welcoming back the salutary baths that existed in the region for more than six centuries.
The salt marshes and the small Museum at the Castle of Castro Marim, which tells the story of the Phoenicians in search of gold, silver and copper which was abundant in the Lower Alentejo and traded through the Guadiana.
I think that we’re part of a family of hotels that takes hosting as a gesture of being available without being subservient, and as a gift.
Hotel Therme Vals – 7132, a project by Peter Zumthor.
When it comes to picking a spot I’m very flexible and random. My priorities are the location and the architecture. If I’m really tired of my job as a hotel manager then I need to switch off so I might look for a very basic hotel, just with a comfortable and clean bed so that I stop myself from observing every detail.
Thank you too!
Companhia das Culturas can provide you with its own maps of the local footpaths. They also have a variety of bikes, suitable to the different types of terrain. In partnership with local boating companies they offer the possibility to sail on the Ria Formosa with access to its deserted beaches – this is also a great spot for bird watching or kayaking.
We love the nearby village of Cacela a Velha (8km) with its narrow streets and small white houses with colourful windows – its beach is a delight. Tavira (17km) is considered by some the prettiest town in the Algarve.
Visit some of the amazing local producers of salt, olive oil and tuna.
Praia Verde (3km) is a nice and popular beach nearby.
Watch the video above which we did with Condé Nast Traveller. In it we talk about Foz do Douro - the seaside neighbourhood in Porto where we grew up. check out the Full article on their website.
Faro (FAO) – 59km
Lisbon (LIS) – 317km
Porto (OPO) – 593km
It’s a 40-minute drive from Faro to Companhia das Culturas. Hiring a car is highly recommended to get to the hotel and explore the region and the beautiful beaches and villages nearby. Otherwise, you can take a taxi or the hotel can arrange a transfer from the airport.
© Photos by JO&SO and courtesy of Companhia das Culturas (credit: Francisco Nogueira).
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