Companhia das Culturas

ECO BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN THE ALGARVE
From €70 per night

Design Eco Hotel in Algarve Companhia das Culturas Facade - JO&SO
Design Eco Hotel in Algarve Companhia das Culturas Bedroom - JO&SO
There are nine uniquely decorated rooms.

Quirky eco boutique hotel with beautiful vintage decor in Castro Marim, in the southeast Algarve.

Surrounded by 40 acres of pine, cork, carob and olive trees, plus a biological garden, Companhia das Culturas is a boutique hotel in the Algarve offering a truly relaxing experience.

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, and a gorgeous hammam.

Apart from the mattresses, 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.

If you’re not fussed about TVs (there are none), air conditioning, 24 hour room service and other luxuries but you’re looking to relax, enjoy walks and nature then you’ll love it.

Awesomeness

A wholesome organic breakfast with homemade, seasonal and local produce, including eggs straight from the coop – absolutely delicious!

Laze by the pool.

The nearest beach is 1.5km away.

A yoga/tai chi room – the Corkbox – which looks like a beautiful art installation.

Complimentary yoga classes every Tuesday and Saturday.

Experience an Olive Oil tasting session at a farm nearby. Properly good stuff!

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, although you might get some signal in your room.

Service is very low key but that’s part of the charm.

Wild cats often wander around – they’re small and harmless (do not feed them, though).

There isn’t any nightlife nearby.

The hotel is closed during the winter but they might be able to accommodate for big groups.

Design Eco Hotel in Algarve Companhia das Culturas Ceiling - JO&SO
Design Eco Hotel in Algarve Companhia das Culturas Vintage Details - JO&SO
The apartments are located right next to the farmhouse.
The four beautiful apartments all have a kitchenette.
The wonderful hammam (steam room).
Design Eco Hotel in Algarve Companhia das Culturas Living Room - JO&SO
Design Eco Hotel in Algarve Companhia das Culturas Living Room - JO&SO
The cosy communal living room is perfect for curling up with a glass of red wine during cooler evenings.
Corkbox: Fully lined in cork and comfortably bare so you can take your shoes off, this is a space for sound and image, yoga, tai chi, dance or brainstorming. We had an awesome yoga class with the lovely Peki.

Activities:

Beach
Biking
Bird watching
Farm activities
Fishing
Golf
Hammam (steam room)
Hiking/trekking
Historic towns
Kayaking
Massages
Scuba-diving
Swimming pool
Villages
Workshops
Yoga

Local Action

According to the season, guests can participate in some of the farm’s activities – picking fruit, aromatic herbs and greens.

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.

Jo at the Castle of Castro Marim in the Algarve.
Oysters Praia Verde Beach - JO&SO
Try the famous local oysters from Ria Formosa, they're delicious!
Visit Castro Marim's castle (6km) so you can pretend you're on Game of Thrones.
Restaurante Dom Petisco View - JO&SO
Restaurante Dom Petisco - JO&SO
Restaurante Dom Petisco Food - JO&SO
Restaurante Dom Petisco Dom Rodrigo Dessert - JO&SO
Delicious traditional Portuguese food at Dom Petisco, just by the border with Spain - nice view too :)
Monterosa Olive Oil - JO&SO
Monterosa Olive Oil - JO&SO
Monterosa Olive Oil Farm - JO&SO
Monterosa Olive Oil Farm Vintage - JO&SO
Visit Monterosa's farm (37km), an excellent Olive Oil maker.

We interviewed Eglantina at Companhia das Culturas.

Design Eco Hotel in Algarve Companhia das Culturas Eglantina Monteiro - JO&SO

How did you come up with the idea to start Companhia das Culturas?

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.

How long did it take to get everything ready to open?

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.

What was your experience working with hotels?

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.

"This farmhouse had belonged to the family for seven generations … it was important for us to respect the heritage."

– Eglantina, Owner
Design Eco Hotel in Algarve Companhia das Culturas Bedroom - JO&SO

Architecture

A collaboration with the architect Pedro Ressano Garcia. One of the rooms reveals an original beautiful stone wall which hasn’t been plastered over on purpose.

Design Eco Hotel in Algarve Companhia das Culturas Vintage Deco - JO&SO

Favourite Object

One of Eglantina’s favourite objects is this massive vintage mirror which we too love.

 

Some objects already belonged to the house but once in a while Eglantina sources some more from vintage shops. Objects are also recycled and given a new purpose.

How do you describe the architecture and interior?

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.

Please tell us a bit about the rooms in the hotel.

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.

What’s your favourite object in the hotel?

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.

We find it amazing how relaxed the whole place feels yet we can tell every object is very carefully placed – you have some truly beautiful vintage pieces and furniture. Where do you find them?

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.

"We work with our own products and those from our neighbours."

– Eglantina, Owner
Design Eco Hotel in Algarve Companhia das Culturas Corkbox - JO&SO

The corkbox

The corkbox is an old threshing machine garage turned into a unique room – made to practice yoga, tai chi, qigong or to dance. But here you can also just enjoy a total silence, or listen to music or watch a movie.

Bistro and Pool Snacks

Based exclusively on the Southern Portuguese diet, the breakfast and appetizers served at Companhia das Culturas, are made entirely from local produce of the season: eggs straight from the coop, fruit from the orchards, vegetables from the garden and other nearby plants, sheep and goat cheeses, smoked meats, and preserved fish from Isla Cristina to Faro – salted or smoked.

The compotes and chutneys come from the farm’s own fruits.

 

Design Eco Hotel in Algarve Companhia das Culturas Nature - JO&SO

Seasonal and local produce play a strong role in the hotel’s concept.

According to the season, guests can participate in some of the farm’s activities – picking fruit, aromatic herbs and greens – as well as their transformation and conservation.

Hammam

Guests can enjoy a complimentary hammam (a steam room, similar to a Turkish bath) everyday from 6pm.

 

The corkbox is like a beautiful art installation and we really enjoyed the yoga class. How did the idea to build it come up?

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 loved the different delicious breakfasts we got every morning, very original. Where do you and your team get your inspiration from?

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.

The food at the hotel has such a strong focus on local seasonal produce. What do you think are the ingredients/flavours that surprise the guests the most?

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.

You’ve recently opened the Hammam (steam room). Can you tell us more about this?

The Haman 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.

Is there a gem in the region that tourists are not usually aware of?

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.

What sets your guests’ experience apart from other hotels?

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.

What’s your favourite hotel worldwide?

Hotel Therme Vals – 7132, a project by Peter Zumthor.

Where do you tend to go on holiday and which hotels do you stay in?

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.

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Fazenda S. Bartolomeu
Rua do Monte Grande
8950-270 Castro Marim
Portugal

Airports

Faro (FAO) – 59km
Lisbon (LIS) – 317km
Porto (OPO) – 593km

By Car

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.

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