The Octant Ponta Delgada is a coast-hugging base from which to explore the verdant landscapes of São Miguel, an Atlantic ocean island where the rest of the world feels very far away (it is, in fact). Every room in this modern marina block faces the ocean and has a private balcony, but staying in your boudoir isn’t really the point of being here. The ilha verde is named as such for its technicolour terrain, forest-wrapped valleys and azure lakes. The aim here is hiking, biking, diving, whale-watching, surfing, canyoning, coasteering and fishing (not to mention eating: the Azores are a food-lover's cheese-fuelled dream). Speaking of, it’s worth retiring to the hotel in time for the daily cheese and wine tasting – keep a whale-watching eye on the horizon while you sip a local vinho verde and pile queijo São Jorge onto your plate.
Get this when you book through us:
Regional cheeses and pastries on arrival, plus a session in the spa. GoldSmith’s will receive a welcome cocktail and two hours of electric bike rental.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £83.13 (€96), including tax at 4 per cent.
Rates include breakfast served in the À Terra Fornaria restaurant. Don’t miss the oven-fresh bolos levedos.
There’s little not to love about the Azorean landscapes, but the food is a major reason to visit too. Make sure to try the bolo levêdo (sweet muffins), locally made jams and plenty of cheese. The seafood is, naturally, excellent too. Tea lovers will be pleased to know that Europe’s only tea plantation is on São Miguel island – you can book a tour and tasting at Gorreana (www.gorreana.pt). You’ll likely take a trip to Furnas, a parish in the valley of a volcano that’s become a place of gastronomic pilgrimage. Stews are cooked in the steaming earth for five hours every morning, before being hoisted from the ground just in time for lunch at nearby village restaurants.
At the hotel
Rooftop pool and bar, 24-hour gym, indoor spa pool, sauna, steam room, Turkish bath, restaurant, cheese and wine market shop. In rooms: WiFi, TV, Bluetooth speakers, Nespresso coffee machine, local teas, hairdryer, bathrobes, minibar.
Our favourite rooms
Rooms are soft-hued and wood panelled, inspired by the natural materials dotting the volcanic island. Buttery white linens and down comforters are chosen for extra, well, comfort. The massive glass-paned windows span the length and height of the walls, meaning you can soak in the marina views from bed or from your private ocean-facing balcony. Even the smallest rooms have ample floor space, so you’ll be comfy enough in any – but opt for the sea view suite for dual-aspect views and a separate living area.
You’ve got two to choose from: scan the horizon for whales from the black-stone pool on the rooftop (and grab a glass of local wine from the bar while you’re at it); or recharge in the heated hydrotherapy spa-side plunger after a day of hiking, biking or diving.
The eco-luxury spa is decked out in brown tones and gold accents, and has a tiled steam room, classic wood sauna, Turkish bath and aromatic shower. Treatments are inspired by the surrounding island and use organic, vegan Pinks Boutique products as well as local ingredients. Try a body scrub with local green tea, sea salt, fresh mint and lemon; or a massage with karité butter, cryptomeria oil and hot basalt stones. Some treatments finish with a whirlpool bath of Azorean milk and lavender. There’s also a gym with treadmills, free weights and bikes, open 24 hours a day.
Yogis will have plenty of room for a flow in the morning, so bring your mat if you’re a down-dog-a-day kind of traveller.
There’s one accessible room available and lift access throughout the hotel.
Babysitting is available on request, and a crèche runs 10am–8pm every day. Connecting rooms can be arranged, as can extra beds or baby cots (subject to availability).
Any and all ages.
Connecting rooms are available, simply enquire when booking.
There’s a crèche at the hotel, available every day from 10am–8pm.
We get it – sometimes you just want to indulge in a croissant in peace. Thankfully, there’s a separate kids’ area in the breakfast room (with plenty of toys to keep them busy) so you can have some much needed morning zen.
Babysitting and nanny services are available upon request for an extra cost.
The hotel restaurant prioritises local produce, and gets much of its fruit and vegetables from nearby organic farm Quinta do Priôlo. The eco-spa uses vegan, organic and paraben-free products from Pinks Boutique.
We’d opt for a romantic table for two next to the dramatic gallery-like windows that frame the coast.
The ambient lighting, geometric fittings and dark wood interiors err on the sensual side – match them with elegant figure-hugging ‘fits and crisp shirts.
The glorious marina views are certainly one reason to dine in the À Terra Fornaria restaurant – but the food is just as ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ inducing. Traditional Portuguese cuisine is given a gourmet twist, and dishes focus on Azorean produce. The menu is seasonal but you can always expect a catch of the dia (often served with polenta, grilled savoy cabbage and a Pico-island-grown sparkling wine sauce). We love the arroz de pato, a traditional duck and rice dish cooked in a wood oven with local herbs, and the hug-in-a-bowl Ilha cheese soup. Desserts profile regional ingredients too: try the caramelised pineapple with coconut sorbet and local jasmine; or the white chocolate and coffee cremeux with cocoa crumble and Azorean passion fruit sorbet.
Cocktails and cetacean-spotting are the order of the day at the rooftop whale-watching bar. Stake out a poolside lounger mid-afternoon, or take to the high bar at aperitivo hour. Keep an eye out for whales breaching the marina waters (when you’re not busy with your local vinho verde or seaweed-infused gin, of course).
A leisurely breakfast is served 7.30–11am. Lunch is 12.30–3.30pm, and dinner 7.30–10pm.
Octant Ponta Delgada is steps from the Atlantic in Ponta Delgada’s marina, on the island of São Miguel.
Ponta Delgada airport is a 10-minute drive away, and the hotel can arrange a taxi.
A car is handy when flitting between volcanoes, lakes, beaches and forests. The hotel has a private indoor car park, available around-the-clock for an extra cost.
Worth getting out of bed for
Start in the main square of Ponta Delgada and ogle its landmark building – Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião. Originally built in the 16th century, it’s a curious combination of styles – late gothic foundations meet a Portuguese Manueline façade and baroque features. Head to the hilltop chapel of Nossa Senhora da Paz for panoramic views, stopping off at Cerâmica Vieira Lagoa en route. The family-owned ceramics studio has been around since 1862, and you’ll be hard pressed to not take one of the Portuguese tiles home with you, plus you can watch artisans moulding clay and working in the kilns while you browse. Back in the town centre, Forte de São Brás once protected the island from pirate attacks and now houses the Military Museum of the Azores. After swotting up on some island history, make for the marina – there’s an ocean-fed swimming pool and several alfresco bars to bask in the sun at, or head to the golden-sand beaches of playa São Roque and praia das Milícias. The hotel is opposite the PADI dive centre on the marina – work towards your Open Water certificate or take a leisurely dive in the crystal clear waters. The whale watching departure point is steps away too, and the neighbouring waters are one of the top whale-watching destinations in the world, home to 25 species of cetaceans. Back on land, the adjacent lakes of Sete Cidades are whimsically touted to be formed from the tears of star-crossed lovers – a green-eyed princess and blue-eyed shepherd – but it's more likely that the depth of the larger ‘azul’ lake simply reflects the sky, while the smaller ‘verde’ lake mirrors the greenery of its surroundings. You can hike around the lakes or along the 12-kilometre loop of the caldera rim. The hot springs and molten clay of Furnas are said to have youth-giving qualities. Spend the afternoon at Furnas Boutique Hotel, which has beautifully restored indoor and outdoor pools and a hot-spring-inspired spa. The nearby natural baths at Poça da Dona Beija are carved into orange sulphuric mud, which helps to stimulate collagen production for glowing skin (yes please).
The chef at Õtaka in Ponta Delgada combines Azorean ingredients with Japanese techniques. Try wild line-caught tuna sashimi; creamy local limpets served with yuzu-soy dressing; or white-fish tempura with locally-grown jalapeño. There’s red, white and rosé on the menu from the Azores Wine Company on nearby Pico island. Atmospheric steakhouse Alcides pairs prime cuts with Azorean reds. Don’t miss cheese emporium O Rei Dos Queijos. The Azores produce over 50 per cent of Portugal’s cheeses, and you can try variations from all over the archipelago here, along with biscuits, jams, peppers and honey. Further afield, À Terra at Furnas Boutique hotel serves up Azorean dishes with local ingredients and traditional cooking methods, such as fish baked on hot stones. It’s a 40-minute drive from Ponta Delgada, but the fresh salads, wood-fired pizza and cheeses from São Jorge are worth the time on the road.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this marina-hugging hotel in the Azores and unpacked their PADI certificates and surf wax, a full account of their action-packed break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Octant Ponta Delgadain São Miguel…
The Azores – the Atlantic ocean’s archipelago of nine volcano-born islands – is the epitome of remote. In-the-know Iberian surfers might fly over for the epic urban swells; Lisboas might visit in summer for the pristine peaks and azure lakes – but really the islands are predominantly untouched. There is a rich cultural heritage here: welcoming locals will happily sit down and discuss stories of the atolls over traditional stews and plenty of Azorean wine. São Miguel is the largest of the archipelago, and it's the kind of place that appeals to adventurers, animal lovers and hiking aficionados. The charming capital of Ponta Delgada oozes history from every balconied mansion and white-washed building. But you’re never far from the crystalline lagoons, basalt cliffs, rainforest-covered hills or crater lakes – the island is bijou. And given the vast expanse of Atlantic on your doorstep, you might find you spend much of your time on the water, especially with such high chances of seeing whales in the wild. São Miguel is slap-bang in the middle of the migratory route between the northern and southern hemispheres, and there’s no continental shelf so deep sea species such as sperm whales, beaked whales and bottlenose dolphins swim close to the coastline. Tours are careful to prioritise the protection of the mammals (it’s forbidden to chase, disturb or get too close to them), but you’ll still be able to see them in their natural habitat. Adrenaline seekers might try coasteering (you’ll jump from cliff tops into the Atlantic waters, climb boulders and explore caves) or canyoning, where you’ll trust in nature to rappel you the right way down waterfalls. It might feel unconventional to pack hiking boots, a wetsuit, a raincoat and a bikini in the same suitcase, but trust us – you’ll want to jump right into anything the Azores throws your way.