Paradise search : Companhia das culturas, Portugal

Let’s put it simply: Companhia das culturas has pretty much everything I’m looking for in a hotel.
Even though the small-scale hotel with an agritourism flair is a frequent encounter these days, they really take the idea further here, with an extra dose of personality that really makes the place unique.
We’re at the Southern tip of Portugal, only a few kilometers from Spain, in the Algarve region. Here, with the help of architect Pedro Ressano Garcia, they have brilliantly renovated an old local farm and turned it into a seven room hotel, while maintaining an organic farm activity.

The whitewash walls and the soft red of the doors are kind of the signature earthy-yet-graphic palette of the place.

companhia_das_culturas_portugal_thevoyageur_19The place still retains a lot of traditional details and colors which go alongside beautifully with more modern ideas like concrete floors, cork details and pared-down spaces.

companhia_das_culturas_portugal_thevoyageur_05Behind the giant rusty doors of the old barn is a floor-to-ceiling “cork box” which is used for yoga classes. There are plenty of cork trees in the area and I was amazed to see what they manage to do with it.

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Sculptural chair and trees: you can tell there is something arty in the air.

companhia_das_culturas_portugal_thevoyageur_15In the rooms you find a great mix of tradition, modernity and 50’s design. Ours had a mezzanine, a vintage daybed, cork bedside tables, a concrete shower and a beautiful window…but they are all different! On our arrival we found fresh water and homemade sweets and were also offered breakfast since we arrive very early. This almost makes up for the 6 a.m departure from Paris!

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The house is filled of inspiring objects and details (which also deserve a post of their own!). There is a giant living room in what used to be an olive press where you can relax and enjoy the view.

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Breakfast is really a special moment here. Not only do they only serve local, organic products, but they also get very creative with it, always surprising us with novel combinations and rare products while managing to do subtle variations on what was on offer the day before. This will call for a dedicated post, but in the meantime let’s just say that it found a place in my unofficial Top 5 of breakfast spots!

companhia_das_culturas_portugal_thevoyageur_18Wonderful colors and plants in the garden, this will inspire a great dedicated Green Delight!

companhia_das_culturas_portugal_thevoyageur_03You can tell it’s a quiet place, right? I wish I had a fig tree like that at home…

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They also offer lunch and dinner, with that same local, organic and creative philosophy. It was a delight and I can’t wait to make you discover the great things we ate. Above you can already see fried goat’s cheese with tomato on toast, honey and olive oil orange salad and lemon sardines. It felt fresh, healthy and surprising…perfect!

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Don’t expect a lot of tourists in the small village of Sao Bartolomeu, instead the farm surroundings are a mix of beautiful vegetation, wild horses and quiet village houses.

companhia_das_culturas_portugal_thevoyageur_0250’s rattan chairs by the pool: a good reading spot in the shade!

companhia_das_culturas_portugal_thevoyageur_14The corridors leading to the rooms made me think of the architecture of Luis Barragán. Portugal can be little a little piece of Mexico only two hours away from Paris!

companhia_das_culturas_portugal_thevoyageur_01The garden isn’t that big, but it’s filled with nice spots to hang out. I particularly loved the collection of patterned day beds.

If you manage to get out of the property there are plenty of nice things to do, from biking around the quiet country roads (they provide the bikes and the itineraries!) to going to the beach in the Ria Formosa (a natural park closeby) and visiting the historic town of Tavira or the little villages in the area.

Great natural surroundings, gorgeous cuisine, inspiring decor and of course the exceptional Portuguese welcome make this place a precious gem. Go there, but don’t talk about it too much!

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The website.
If you wanna know more, go read Eglantina’s interview on Welcome Beyond!
These pictures were taken with a Sigma dp2 Quattro.

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