Senhora da Rosa is a converted farmhouse that bears the fruits of its peaceful, private São Miguel location. This is a hideaway loved by Portuguese locals, perhaps because it honours everything the archipelago does best. There are eco-friendly Azores-made products in the bathrooms, a heated plunge pool in the pineapple greenhouse, rooms decked out with local crafts, and a restaurant characterised by warming, home-cooked dishes. You’re a short walk from the beach, a short drive from the mountains, and just a few steps to the forest. And while the grounds have a couple centuries’ storied history, there’s plenty to mark it in the present too (solar panels, local sourcing and a love of the land are some of the steps taken to create a wholeheartedly sustainable stay). We’ll raise a vinho verde to that.
Get this when you book through us:
15 per cent discount on spa treatments and a room upgrade, subject to availability
35, including two suites and two stand-alone lodges.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £152.84 (€180), including tax at 4 per cent.
Rates include breakfast in the Magma restaurant, with plenty of veggie and gluten-free options.
This hotel is a true family affair: the owner, Joana Damião, is an experienced hotelier who returned home to renovate her family’s farm in São Miguel. Her mum (who is, conveniently, an interior designer) pieced together jade green walls, nostalgic design and family heirlooms – creating the hotel’s undoubted warm atmosphere.
At the hotel
Restaurant, tapas bar, cocktail bar, outdoor swimming pool, heated plunge pool, steam room, sauna, relaxation room, cardio machines, pilates studio. In rooms: WiFi, TV, hairdryer, beach and pool towels, tea- and coffee-making kit, locally-made bath products
Our favourite rooms
All rooms have a balcony overlooking the nature of the Azores – but interiors are easy on the eye too, thanks to a palette of greens, soft textures and antique furniture. If we had to choose, we’d book one of the two cedar-scented tranquillity lodges. These natural wood cabins are set on stilts, and reminiscent of the ancient Azorean cafuões used to store grains. The private terraces are romantic and secluded, protected from any unexpected Azores downpours by the lush banana trees hugging the cabins – and there’s even an alfresco bath to really switch off in.
There are two pools: an elevated, salt-treated shallow pool on the spa rooftop; and a heated, leaf-lined plunge pool amongst the pineapple plantation. Both are open from 8am to 8pm.
The Musgo spa was designed to encourage disconnection with the outside world; and connection with your mind and body. Do so with a deep-tissue massage using seasonal, locally-produced essential oils; or a spell in the sauna and Turkish bath. There’s a relaxation room with floor-to-ceiling views of the greenery, a pilates studio (personal trainers and guided yoga classes are available too) and a cardio room with a bike, elliptical and treadmill.
Hand-eye coordination and a competitive spirit for a session on the padel court.
There’s one accessible room in the main house, and all public areas are wheelchair friendly.
Little ones are very welcome (in fact, the kids’ club and indoor playground is so well-stocked with toys, slides and games that it might have parents lingering longer than usual).
Any and all ages are welcome.
The apartment-style family suite is your best bet, with two bedrooms and a living room.
The kids’ club is open every day of the week, with plenty to keep them busy including an indoor playground and schedule of outdoor activities.
Highchairs and kids’ cutlery are available in the restaurant, and the kitchen is happy to adapt to the taste buds of your little ones.
Can be arranged for €10 per day, just check with reception 24 hours ahead of time.
No need to pack
Baby baths, toilet adaptors, car chairs and toys are all available at the hotel.
The hotel has a close connection to and respect for the local land, and fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs flourish in the grounds. Photovoltaic and solar panels provide much of the energy needed for the hotel, and 80 per cent of the materials used to build the rooms and lodges were sourced locally. The eco-friendly and plastic-free bath products are made with raw materials by a local soap maker (you’ll catch whiffs of oranges, lemons, bananas or chestnuts, depending on the season).
Mirante’s rooftop terrace has whimsical views of the island, which comes alive during sunset – head here for golden hour to nab the best spot.
You might be on a farm, but leave the wellies and Barbours at home – instead think light linens and loose-fitting florals.
The menu at Magma changes twice a year to make the most of seasonal produce from the farm and surrounding areas, but dishes are always based on Azorean culinary traditions and the island’s most-loved ingredients. The vegetables, fruits, cereals and flowers grown on the hotel grounds are the sun-soaked stars of the show on the menu: try grilled lapas bravas with garlic butter and herbs; chicharros with garlic sauce, pepper rice and sprouts; and Azores fish soup with garlic-topped toast (you might have noticed a theme by now). Finish with decadent chocolate cake or a plate of homegrown pineapple, lime and coconut. Plus, the wine cellar is well stocked with some of the best vinhos tintos and vinhos blancos in the region, thanks to the Azores Wine Company on Pico island. Head up to the Mirante rooftop for informal tapas and sharing plates – choose from sushi, tacos and ceviche – and take your pick from a light-flooded indoor table or terrace-top alfresco spot.
The Magma bar is comfy and cosy, with a warming fireplace come winter. The cocktail list features elevated takes on classics: try the Senhora da Rosa (tequila, chilli, pomegranate, pink salt and lime), the São Miguel (gin rocha negra, chartreuse green, lime, pineapple, and homemade grapefruit soda) or the São Jorge (Jameson, coffee liquor, cold-brewed coffee and maraschino liquor).
Breakfast is 8–11am in Magma; lunch is served until 3pm, and dinner 7–10.30pm. Or opt for tapas at the Mirante rooftop – served until 9pm.
Order to your room between 8am and 10pm (a forest-facing terrace is a pretty nice place to dine).
Senhora da Rosa is on seven acres of farmland, in a quiet bairro just outside Ponta Delgada.
Ponta Delgada airport is a 15-minute drive away, and the hotel can arrange a taxi for €20 per way.
There are two private car parks at the hotel, and both are free to use. A car is very handy when flitting between the volcanoes, lakes, beaches and forests of São Miguel.
Worth getting out of bed for
A ten-minute drive will take you to 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 converted farmhouse in Ponta Delgada and unpacked their vinhos tintos and blancos, a full account of their Azorean break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Senhora da Rosa in São Miguel…
The gorgeous green island of São Miguel needs little introduction to those in the know: its dramatic landscapes, sleepy fishing villages and tropical flora are as bucolic as can be. The charming town of Ponta Delgada is brimming with history, and just on the outskirts you’ll find Senhora da Rosa, a two-storey farmhouse with 35 rooms and seven acres of private land. Stop by the two vegetable gardens, the Azorean boutique, the pineapple plantation and its turquoise-green plunge pool and the 19th century chapel, before clinking a São Jorge martini to the beauty of Portugal’s greatest garden. Rooms are crafted with natural materials (there’s a lot of local wood on show), buckets of natural light and clean modern lines. The fauna and flora isn’t limited to the outdoors, however – you’ll find a full-sized nature print by a local photographer in your room in the place of wallpaper – and terraces overlook lush gardens of hydrangeas and azaleas. This boutique beauty brings together nature and nurture quite, well, naturally.