Surrounded by olive and cork tree plantations Ecorkhotel is admirable for many reasons: for one, this is an echo hotel, as the name might suggest. The main building uses cork as it’s primary coating, which serves as a thermal and acoustic isolator and a visually stunning finish. The hotel is planned and built for maximum energy efficiency: the main building is heated using geothermal energy while solar panels are used to heat the water throughout the hotel suites. There is also a small farm outside of the restaurant with a handful of cheerful sheep wondering about.
The overall decor is clean geometric lines, sterile in shape and colour, creating a rather futuristic utopian world feel. The hotel is located in Évora region, about an hour and a half outside of Lisbon and 15 minutes away from Évora city centre. This distance allows for a tranquil environment – you can hear nature fall asleep at sunset and then watch the stars come up in silence.
There are 56 rooms in the hotel, neatly arranged into rows to the side of the main building. Each room is it’s own house with a private terrace, a spacious bathroom, separate bedroom, and a pullout couch in some living rooms. In-room amenities include a HD TV (or two), mini fridge, hair dryer, bathrobes, WiFi, and a coffee maker. I slept like a child, had a nice shower, and basked in the afternoon sun on the terrace before checking out, taking in the view of my personal olive tree changing color.
The infinity pool on the roof has a lovely bar with a casual menu and some of the best champaign sangrias I’ve ever had. The restaurant on the main floor has a small but impressive menu, the dessert, name of which escapes me, was to die for and I think about it all the time, wishing I had one to myself.
In the morning the friendly staff serve Portuguese breakfast as well as eggs with bacon (typically Portuguese do not eat eggs in the morning). Now, with the morning sun breaking through the picture window, you can see the silent sheep enclosure and the tree plantation in the background. Something about this very moment felt very peaceful, best of nature surrounded by a picture frame.
It is also worth noting that the staff were incredibly helpful: we were never lost, thirsty, cold or hungry, someone was always around to offer, often unsolicited, help or a blanket. This was our last day after a two-week-long road trip through Portugal, the only day and a half we didn’t leave our commons yet had the best time. There is a lot to explore at Ecorkhotel, a lot of places to sit and sip sangria, read a book, or just shut your eyes and listen to the tree leaves shuffle in the wind. Quite frankly, I considered staying, and still considering going back, perhaps in May, when the pool is warmer…
Address: Quinta da Deserta e Malina, 7000-804 Évora, Portugal. The hotel offers airport shuttle.
To see the trip on Instagram look up #xoPortugal17.