The Azores islands are not a well-known destination for Americans – yet it’s probably one of the most incredible destinations within a 4-hour flight from the East Coast. On the largest and most populous island, São Miguel, visitors will find the beautiful and luxurious Azor Hotel. Situated in ridiculously charming capital city of Ponta Delgada, this glass structure is modern, thoughtfully designed and offer amenities that even the most discerning traveler will fall-in-love with.
I was a recent guest at the hotel and flew to the island directly from Boston on Azores Airlines. The airline offers direct flights from Boston and Toronto, connecting the United Stated to the incredible Azores archipelago. In fact, from Boston, you can be on the ground on São Miguel island in less time than it takes to fly from Boston to Phoenix. And, this island has a little more exoticism on offer.
Offering 123 rooms and suites, the Azor Hotel is boutique in nature, but grand in terms of its service and commitment to guests comfort. The building itself is situated right in front of the marina, an easy walk to Ponta Delgada’s quaint cobblestone streets and colorful, Portuguese buildings. The stark stone and glass of the place was designed to complement the stark nature of the island – volcanic, hilly and diverse.
Inside the hotel you’ll find a lobby that is the central meeting point for those staying at the property. Here you can cozy-up with a glass of Portuguese wine from the Douro Valley, or select from the immense cold case service homemade ice cream, pastries, pastel de nata and more. The furniture is gorgeous, sumptuous and comfortable – which is a theme throughout this hotel. You instantly feel a need to stay a while and relax.
Rooms and suites have fantastic views of Ponta Delgada, the sea or mountains. You’ll find large bathrooms, huge flat-screen televisions, plush white beds, bathrobes, iPod docks and ample toiletries. Turn down service is available and prices for mini bar items are very reasonable.
One of my favorite spaces in the hotel is the breakfast room, A Terra Fornaria, where guests can dine on food sourced from local farmers. You can try cheese made by hand on one of the nine islands of the Azores, drink milk from a dairy pasture no more than a mile away or even toast bread that was baked by a Portuguese grandmother around the corner. The Azor Hotel does a fantastic job of keeping products local, so the guests can be fully immersed in everything that is the Azores.
In the evenings, you can pop-p to the rooftop and sip a cocktail in the stunning Whale Watching Bar, or take a dip in the pool that overlooks the city. Traveling to the Azores is easy and wonderful any time of year, but April through October is best in terms of weather. Being that the islands are part of Portugal, brush-up on your Portuguese before heading over. And, choose the destination and hotel if you are looking to relax and take-in the nature and beauty that is abundant here. I can’t wait to return.
Photos courtesy of the Azor Hotel