Spectacular hotel in Portugal offers a contemporary take on agritourism

by | Feb 14, 2019 | Design

The Hotel Rural Casa do Rio on the Douro River responds to its natural context to offer guests a unique experience

The Hotel Rural Casa do Rio in Portugal’s northwestern region is a slice of contemporary architecture in a natural setting with a medieval history. The hotel’s responsive design is intended to promote agritourism in the area. We find out more.

Modern lodgings in med

The Hotel Rural Casa do Rio is located in the Castelo Melhor area near Portugal’s northwestern border with Spain.

The region is named after its famous medieval fortress, and it is easy to see why the castle was situated here when you look at the surrounding landscape.

Rugged hills are cut into valleys by the Douro and Coa Rivers, and the countryside boasts many agricultural uses, such as olive growing and orange orchards.

The Hotel Rural Casa do Rio is on a steep side of the valley overlooking the Douro River, and its background and setting is composed of terraced plantations for the cultivation of oranges, lending the site a distinctive look.

The hotel acts almost as a bridge between two of the valleys slopes, meaning that it benefits from its height and panoramic views out over the river.

Seamless integration

The architects, Menos é Mais Arquitectos, were determined to integrate the hotel into the landscape.

The building has been designed almost entirely in one plane, bridging between two sides of the valley. The resulting effect is a slim, shallow rectangle that can be read as one with the natural topography of the landscape, standing on heavy stone abutments so as not to disturb the natural setting.

The architects have gathered the 15 rooms under one roof, and each modular element has the dimensions of  6.6×3.3 metres, allowing them to be organised within the container of the hotel, while at the same time being able to carve out terraces and balconies.

The “container” has been executed in timber, allowing it to melt into the landscape. Circulation is pushed to the exterior of the rectangle, removing it from the internal spaces and placing a focus on the external, connecting guests immediately to the landscape and site.

Let’s take a look at a few other projects currently underway in Portugal:

Serena Wellness Resort 

Meninger Hotel Lisbon 

Viceroy at Ombria Resort 

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