Ecorkhotel — Évora, Portugal
Set within 12 acres of rolling oak forest and ancient olive groves, this sustainable eco resort was designed by architect José Carlos Cruz to mimic a traditional whitewashed Alentejo village in a cool, contemporary style. The hotel and spa, some 7km from the UNESCO World Heritage city of Evora, were designed with maximum energy efficiency in mind, using geothermal and solar energy to heat and cool 56 villa suites. The main building blends into the local landscape and is wrapped in recycled cork cladding, a 100 percent natural product harvested by hand from the native cork oak. Brightly coloured rugs decorating the lobby are hand woven from Portuguese Merino wool at a local factory rescued by Dutch entrepreneur Mizette Nielsen. The open-plan restaurant Cardo, decorated in Madeira wicker furniture and Hans Wegner wishbone chairs, is run by 27-year-old rising star Gonçalo Queiroz.