Ross Belfer

Pico do Refúgio

www.eagertourist.com
  • Where:São Miguel, Azores
  • Why:Volcanic island getaway-meets-esoteric music festival.
  • When:March 2016
  • Who:Solo
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Momentary bliss through the echoes of silence pasteurized by sunlight emanating through Japanese cedar trees.

Like a sight from a dream, I wondered, is this heaven?

A perfect reflection against the 18th century edifice at the basin of the property.

The original 17th century edifice built between the 16th and 17th centuries. The Azorian painter and writer, Luís Bernardo Ataíde used to call this his country home – while architect Bernardo Brito E Abreu spent several years restoring the property of which he is the fifth-generation owner.

​Problem of the day: the difficult choice of lounging in my aboded 86 meter ​loft space or jetting for the outdoors.​​​

Island horticulture pervades each room at Pico do Refúgio

“Queijo” – Fresh, farm-made white cheese served on banana leaf – ruled the breakfast table.

Walking up to the main house at Pico do Refugio vaguely resembles an ascent to Heaven (or so I would expect). A winding path leads you to a circular courtyard where the main church sits against a backdrop of endless hues of green.

Something like a phenomenon.

When the grass insists that you “take off your shoes and stay a while.”

“Mandraque” the dog, resting in the sun at any time of day.

Like a sight from a dream, I wondered, is this heaven?

Creative tools plus my seeing eye glasses.

A view of Ribeira Grande, one of the small towns nestled within the Sao Miguel island of Azores – perfectly witness from atop Pico do Refugio.

One of the many plants I spoke with and shared tea and jovial conversation during my tour of the property.

Two trees greet you on the path leading to Pico do Refugio mansion (built in 17th-century)​​.

Highs & Lows

  • In-room fireplace is truly on point. Who would even expect such a thing?

  • Everything about Pico do Refugio is great. This isn’t simply a hotel – its an experience combined by a magical landscape and sophisticated farm-style hospitality unlike any other place I have been.

  • Queijo, soft cheese served on banana at breakfast is absolutely killer. I would return to Pico just for that alone.

  • After a long day of hiking and bathing in thermal baths, it would have been convenient to have some more snacks in the room itself.

  • The weather was a bit too cold for the pool (but now I’m just being picky).

  • Manuel the groundskeeper accidently walked into my room while I was inside, but only to start-up the indoor fireplace. It was funny to watch his surprised and embarrassed reaction, but at a place like this, you welcome visitors like an islander would: with a smile.

The Barometer

  • Design

  • Website

  • Environmental Consciousness

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Takeable Treats

  • Refer a Friend

  • Overall Value

  • Life Changing

Total: 50/50

Important Bits

  • Type

    Country hotel / artist residency

  • Vibe

    Marigold-coloured Colonial architectural structures located on a sun-drenched tea farm coincidentally housing an artist residency.

  • Location

    Off a dirt road next to a farm.

  • Rooms

    8

  • Music

    Silence

  • Year Opened

    2013

  • Designed By

    Restored by Luis Bernardo Brito E Abreu.

  • Pool/Gym

    Stunning outdoor pool where scuba diving lessons are often held.

  • Restaurant

    Daily breakfast, farm-to-table.

  • Bar

    No

  • Minibar

    Bottle of cold water.

  • Children

    You can, but I wouldn’t if I had the choice.

  • Price

    Conveniently and assumingly affordable.

3euro entrance into a manicured swathe of volcanically heated pool amidst a jungle-like landscape.

Furnas thermal baths

Furnas, Portugal

3euro entrance into a manicured swathe of volcanically heated pool amidst a jungle-like landscape.

Just 20 minutes outside of town (Sao Miguel holds more cows than humans).

The “Agricultural” steak restaurant

Recinto da Feira | Campo de Santana, Ribeira Grande, Sao Miguel 9600-096, Portugal

Just 20 minutes outside of town (Sao Miguel holds more cows than humans).

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Pico do Refúgio

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