Portuguese Spa Cabins Blend With Forest

You have to love a resort that lets the trees decide where the houses go, instead of the other way around. On this Valentine’s Day, let us transport you to the dense, unspoiled forests of northern Portugal, where a collection of cabins weave through the trees in such a way that the forest barely knows the cabins are there.

Located on the edge of an eco-resort spa and nature park called Pedras Salgadas, the cabins are spaced widely apart, allowing guests to be surrounded by nature for a romantic getaway. Each one-bedroom cabin is supported on a raised platform so that a minimum amount of the rugged terrain and plant life is disturbed.

The cabins of Pedras Salgadas Park in northern Portugal are scattered among the trees. Image via Ivo Tavares Studio.

The cabins of Pedras Salgadas Park in northern Portugal are scattered among the trees. Image via Ivo Tavares Studio.

Designed by Portuguese architects Luís Rebelo de Andrade and Diogo Aguiar for Ivo Tavares Studio, the modular cabins are all prefabricated and contain various combinations of an entryway, living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. As the sections were brought to the site, they were assembled in unique footprints to fit within clearings between the in situ trees and so have a randomly scattered appearance.

The romantic European getaway places visitors in direct contact with nature, using modular construction. Image via Ivo Tavares Studio.

The romantic European getaway places visitors in direct contact with nature, using modular, prefab construction. Image via Ivo Tavares Studio.

“Knowing that we had a responsibility to build tourist accommodation in one of the most beautiful parks in the country, we took maximum care to have a minimal effect on the local nature,” Aguiar said on the Dezeen magazine site. “We chose to build small and dispersed huts rather than do a large concentrated building, promoting more intimate relationships between the visitor and the park.”

Each cabin is placed on raised platforms to minimally disturb the terrain and protect native habitat. Image via Ivo Tavares Studio.

Each cabin is placed on raised platforms to minimally disturb the terrain and protect native habitat. Image via Ivo Tavares Studio.

Each building includes either wooden porches or balconies, and uses a cladding motif of slate tiles that turn 50 shades of grey. “The outer coating in slate tiles refers to the local construction traditions,” Aguiar said in the article. “It reflects the sun in the evening and gets dark and shiny when it rains.”

Randy Woods is a Seattle-based writer and editor with 20+ years of experience in the business publishing world. A former managing editor of Seattle Business, iSixSigma, Claims and Waste Age magazines, he has covered topics that include newspaper publishing, entrepreneurism, green businesses, insurance, environmental protection and garbage hauling (yes, really). He also contributes to the Career Center Blog for The Seattle Times and edits a photography magazine called PhotoMedia. When not working, he likes to hide out in Seattle movie theaters and attend film festivals—even on sunny days.