A contemporary cubical hotel on a prime spot overlooking the Atlantic, White Exclusive Suites & Villas brings a slice of Santorini to São Miguel with a sweeping oceanfront terrace and panoramic infinity pool. Yet its crisp, white interiors are distinctly Azorean: stone-vaulted arches and slabs of basalt reveal the original stone manor house within. Light-filled suites celebrate their showstopping oceanfront setting with driftwood furniture, sea-themed wall hangings and textiles. Then there’s the restaurant – a triumph of local flavour showcasing Azorean surf and turf. Outings curate all that’s wondrous about this one-of-a-kind island, from sunset drinks on the hotel’s motorboat to trips with dips in São Miguel’s thermal baths.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of Azorean wine and a plate of local delicacies including cheese and charcuterie
Nine suites and two villas (sleeping two and eight).
Noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £252.97 (€300), including tax at 6 per cent.
Rates include breakfast.
Personal training and yoga classes are both available at White Exclusive, including an SUP yoga option, should tree pose on a paddleboard appeal. A secluded hut at the easterly end of the terrace can be booked for private dining.
At the hotel
Pool, hot tub, treatment room, motorboat. In rooms: free WiFi, LCD TV, minibar, Dolce Gusto coffee machine, kettle and tea, free bottled water, Voya bath products.
Our favourite rooms
All suites at White Exclusive come with the luxury of generous proportions and light-filled contemporary interiors lent character by macramé screens and driftwood furniture. First-floor Ocean Suites feature arguably the most gob-smacking sea views. The old kitchen and parts of the wine cellar from the original house have been turned into a Unique Suite that retains an old fireplace and stone arches. For oodles of space, utter privacy and a Jacuzzi to yourselves, opt for the (sleeps two) Villa. Secluded in the garden, La Maison is a villa with a pool that sleeps eight and is the only family option.
A heated infinity pool finished in Azorean basalt makes the most of the ocean views from its coastal perch. Along the terrace there’s an equally panoramic hot tub.
There’s no spa as such, but the hotel has a treatment room where you can book in for signature therapies (volcanic hot stone treatment, herb-infused relaxation massage) or alternative body treatments (bamboo body massage, Japanese seitai technique); yoga classes and personal training are also available. (Note that the water therapies available are at sister resort Santa Bárbara.)
Flowing white linen everything to suit your Santorini-like surroundings.
In-room spa treatments are available. White Exclusive is not wheelchair-accessible unfortunately.
Under 12s are welcome at villa-in-the-grounds La Maison; otherwise, this is an adults-only hotel.
Keen on limiting its environmental impact on São Miguel, the hotel has water- and energy-saving measures in place (efficient lightbulbs, little light pollution, rainwater harvesting); spa and bath products are by Voya, an Irish, organic, seaweed-based range. Organic produce comes from the kitchen garden at its sister hotel Santa Bárbara Eco Beach Resort; other food and drink supplies are sourced on island where possible. Filtered water is supplied in glass bottles, refilled daily. Food waste is composted, the hotel has a strict recycling policy and some hotel furniture has been made from upcycled materials. All staff are trained in sustainable practices.
Cardume is an intimate space comprising tables for two – none in a bad spot, whether snug against the wall in front of the bar or nearer the oceanfront.
A Seventies vibe – anything flared or floaty, crochet, swirling prints, chunky pendants and bangles – suits the rattan and rock décor at Cardume.
Wooden tables and rattan lamp shades bring warmth to the monochrome-modern dining room at Cardume, where white walls are punctuated with slabs of São Miguel basalt and offset by a charcoal-grey ceiling. Chef William Blake celebrates produce from the farm (at its sister hotel), Azorean pastures and of course the Atlantic in what he terms a ‘disruptive’ cuisine. Ornately presented plates are informed by a liberated mix of international influences: start with dry aged beef tartare or salt-baked cauliflower, followed by Azorean hake with periwinkles and pil-pil sauce or roasted lamb with fava beans and marjoram bearnaise. Leave room for strawberries in szechuan pepper syrup or chocolate and roast banana tart.
Choose between easy chairs in a vaulted space adjoining the restaurant or a covered bar of driftwood tables and stools outdoors where you can drink in the ocean views. An extensive wine list groups bottles by character, featuring plenty of Pico whites, Azorean rosé and Portuguese reds with an international exception made for Champagne.
The restaurant is open all day: for breakfast, 7am–11am; lunch runs through until 7pm, then dinner, 7pm–10pm.
A dedicated menu of small plates and snacks is available from 8am until 10pm.
White Exclusive Suites & Villas is east of Ponta Delgada on the south coast of São Miguel in the Azores.
Ponta Delgada airport is a 15-minute drive away. The hotel can arrange private transfers at extra cost.
The hotel’s open-air car park is yours to use for free.
Worth getting out of bed for
Yoga, stand-up paddleboard yoga, personal training and a choice of classic and alternative spa treatments are all available at the hotel. Beyond the gates of White Exclusive, the forested mountains, riverine valleys and Atlantic coastline of these wild islands lend themselves to adventure, and none more so than São Miguel, the archipelago’s largest.Hiking, horse riding, cycling and off-roadtours can all be arranged through the hotel; order a chef’s picnic to take with you. The hotel has a motorboat, available for sunset sails, coastal tours and fishing excursions. Thrillseekers can make a date to go kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing or canyoning, and the hotel can arrange Scuba, snorkelling or whale watching (April–October). The island offers less energetic pursuits, too: regional wine tasting (through the hotel), a day at organic farm Quinta dos Sabores (culminating in dinner), or a trip to Parque Terra Nostra gardens, home to an avenue of Ginkgo Biloba and a vast camellia garden. Finally, an Azorean rite of passage – thermal baths come in many guises on São Miguel: beside the sea at Ferraria; in bucolic bliss at Poças da Dona Beija, and (possibly our favourite) forest-fringed at Caldeira Velha.
At White Exclusive’s sister hotel,Santa Bárbara Eco Beach Resort, chef André Fragoeiro works Azorean meat, Atlantic seafood and organic produce from the hotel’s on-site farm into pan-Asian, often fusion, wonders including curries, ramen and salads. Small is beautiful at Tasquinha Vieirain Ponta Delgada – a diminutive dining room of Scandi-simple wooden tables and chairs matched in size by its modest menu of seasonal, locally sourced meat, fish and plant-based dishes; no bookings are taken, but it’s worth taking your chances. Also in Ponta Delgada, in a grey-and-pale-wood dining room dotted with pendant lights, feast on Japanese fare that celebrates Azorean produce from triggerfish to veal to octopus in prettily presented plates at Õtaka.
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 coastal hotel on São Miguel and unpacked their pumice stones and pineapple jam, a full account of their beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside White Exclusive Suites & Villas in the Azores…
An incredible oceanfront setting one hundred metres wide on São Miguel’s south coast is the foundation for a luxurious stay at White Exclusive Suites & Villas. A sweeping terrace between hotel and ocean secures the Atlantic’s starring role; a hot-tub and infinity pool, alfresco bar at one end and a handful of suites opening onto the deck at the other create a variety of ways to savour it. Foundations alone, however, do not a luxe hotel make: attentive service, deftly planned days out (whale watching, a sunset cruise, forest hike or geothermal dip) and a gem of an Azorean restaurant cement White Exclusive’s first-class credentials. Suites are light-filled and sleekly dressed in white, softened with maritime macramé screens, driftwood furniture and patterned rugs – some with window seats, some with private terraces, and all with mesmerising ocean views. Only the A lister-worthy private villa, La Maison, looks onto the garden – although its four bedrooms, private pool and ample outdoor spaces more than compensate. White Exclusive’s most covetable quality, however, is its prized exclusivity – its raft of modern comforts enjoyed at any time by at most 20 (lucky) guests.
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