White Exclusive Suites and Villas hotel - Azores, Portugal
At last, this archipelago of islands, famous for their natural beauty, which lie scattered in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean have somewhere to stay which does them justice.
On São Miguel, the largest of the nine islands, an 18th-century summer house clinging to the cliff tops on its southern shores has been flawlessly renovated to house nine suites and one villa. Each one brims with a sense of place from whitewashed walls studded with black basalt to views over the ocean. Décor draws on the island’s natural colours with hues of grey, a dominance of white, driftwood, large flagstones and doors wrought locally in iron embracing at its core, simplicity, with the added luxury of space.
Food is home cooking at its best: the island’s speciality of limpets, with garlic parsley and lime; freshly caught scorpion fish wrapped in melt-in-the mouth tempura, a carpaccio of the intensely sweet, local, pineapple and mineral-rich wine from neighbouring island Pico, where vines grow low between the volcanic rocks.
But it is the view that reigns supreme. Beyond the infinity pool cut along the very edge of the cliff is the blue, boundless, ocean shimmering with promise.