Dewi and Clare Jones swapped Wales for Portugal over 20 years ago and this summer they’re about to embark on a new adventure in Marvão, Alentejo. Their latest project, CorkShack Marvão Ecolodges, is scheduled to be open for business in the summer of 2019.
Inspired by local choças, a medieval roundhouse that’s common in the area but mostly used as storage nowadays, the Joneses built two similarly-shaped accommodation units, completely prepared to accommodate two people in the heart of quiet Alentejo.
The only thing CorkShacks Marvão Ecolodges share with the original choças is their peculiar round shape. Dewi and Clare opted for cork to build the units, a material that’s sustainable, highly durable, and abundant in the region. In love with the area for years, not only did they choose to use local materials, but they hired locals to help them design and build the shacks.
When asked what makes them so passionate about this project, Dewi Jones told Lonely Planet “we want people to have the same lifestyle we experience there.” Great food and wine, hospitable people, and the variety of outdoor activities available in the region are some of the things they highlight as the best Marvão and Alentejo have to offer, and that makes up for a unique experience.
With room to accommodate two people, each self-catered CorkShack costs €85 (US$73) per night and comes with a private deck, access to the swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, a private bathroom and a small kitchen.
To have a “fully country, Alentejo experience” CorkShack Marvão’s owners suggest a series of activities at local tour companies from horseback riding and guided walking tours to wine tasting and hot air balloon flights.