One of the hardest things about booking your travel arrangements, at least to me, is choosing the right place to stay. Is it central to everything I want to see? Is it clean? Does it offer free WiFi? Are my allergies going to go haywire? We chose Pedras Do Mar Resort and Spa, one of the newer hotels in Sao Miguel, for our stay in the Azores. The place is absolutely beautiful and it turned out to be the almost perfect choice.
Why almost perfect? Well, take a look at our gorgeous room. And the equally gorgeous bath. With glass walls. Which I was sharing with someone else. What is up with the privacy shades in the bathroom? Fine for honeymooning couples, but we were a group of five people sharing two rooms. There was a lot of strategic room leaving and balcony sitting during our stay. Those shades are completely see through with the lights on in the bathroom or during the day when the sun is coming in the windows! But that is really the only thing we didn’t like about our entire seven night stay at this lovely hotel and we were able to work around it.
The Building and Rooms
One of the things we loved most was simply that Pedras Do Mar is new. Because of this, we didn’t have to worry about one of the biggest problems people with allergies face when looking for places to stay in the Azores – some older hotels can wreak havoc on said allergies. Several places I visited had that telltale musty odor. However, there was absolutely nothing triggering my allergies in this hotel. Sniffle free rest. A blissful experience!
The rooms are lovely and refreshingly simple. Clean, light flooring, neutral furnishings and simple lines. The lobby has the same sleek, high end feel. The building has plenty of windows and natural light. The balconies have cork walls, which I absolutely loved.
There are a lot of little luxuries available, especially for a hotel on an island that is just starting to be popular as a worldwide tourist destination. (Portuguese families have been coming to the Azores to relax for centuries and so have many families from other European countries, but there are more and more cruise ships stopping here and I think it is going to become much more of a tourist destination in the future.)
- WiFi – WiFi is decent and is free with the room. It is very strong in the hallways and main areas. Unfortunately, it didn’t reach the balcony with its beautiful view of the farm and mountains at all, so my original dream of blogging from the balcony was crushed.
- Continental breakfast – Many times, this means a coffee maker, a hot water urn, some teabags and some pastries on a plate. Not the case here! The massive downstairs dining room has a large assortment of breakfast foods each morning. Eggs 3 ways, great mushrooms, tomatoes, Azores style bacon, many different breads and pastries, cheeses, fruit, yogurt and more. The boys had a lot of egg sandwiches and Nutella toast for their breakfasts, while the rest of us had soft cheese, honey, the amazing tomato or pumpkin preserves and local bread. Get there early for seating by the window with its beautiful sea view and for a chance at the pastries, which fly off the counters.
- Pools – There is a very nice indoor pool with a waterfall feature and an absolutely gorgeous outdoor pool. A sauna and gym are attached to the indoor pool. Your stay at the hotel also includes access to private natural pools within walking distance if you want to take a dip in the sea.
- Billiards table, small children’s playground and tennis courts – we were too busy exploring to spend a lot of time on recreational amenities, but they are there.
- Computers – There are several computers available – one in the lobby and one in the small game room on the bottom floor.
- Towels – You are able to get fresh towels for the pools and sauna from the front desk, but if you want to walk to the nearby natural pools for a swim, you are out of luck.
- Hotel shuttle – You need transportation unless you plan to remain in the resort the entire time. There is a charge for the shuttle and it goes to a limited number of places. There was a sign about car rentals in the lobby. I recommend renting a car if you are up to the challenge of narrow roads with a stick shift, as it is really the only way to see everything.
- Spa/massage services – Spa services are available for an additional fee and require appointments. We didn’t get to book massages, although it was on our to do list. We got too busy having fun.
The Bar and Dining Room
We ordered food several times from the bar and twice from the dining room during our stay.
We preferred ordering from the bar, as we usually were only looking for light snacks and drinks. The bar staff was really friendly and helpful and great at recommending things to eat or drink. The boys loved the alcohol free fancy drinks the bartender suggested.
The restaurant had a buffet set up several nights during our stay. The boys chose it once for their meal and there definitely was a big variety of food and it would be great for someone looking to really dine. The two times we ate meals in the restaurant, the wait staff was really nice and the meals were decent. I highly enjoyed my vegetable lasagna. (Some of us were too adventurous in our choices and couldn’t down all the tentacles on our plates. I am normally not a picky eater, but props to that enterprising young man who made it through three of them before he turned vaguely green!)
Tips for Your Stay:
- If you like views of farmland, mountains and/or adorable donkeys, ponies and cows, it is cheaper to book a room on the farm side and just as beautiful in its own way.
- Ask at the bar about the amazing cocktails. The bartenders are incredible and have a whole list of fun (and very liberally poured!) drinks to choose from. I had a massive piña colada that would have felled an oak, so was only able to finish about half, but yum!
- Get up at the crack of dawn at least once and walk down to the sea to catch the sunrise. We didn’t see anyone else from the hotel doing this and they really missed out on a moment of incredible beauty. What a way to start the day! (During our stay it was around 6:30 a.m. Azores time. Walk down a half hour before so you can watch the first touches of pink frosting the sky.)
- Be flexible and reasonable with your expectations. This is a new hotel and not all the staff in this five star Azores resort is at the level of an American 5 star hotel, but it takes time to learn to provide top notch service. Expect some quirks and some struggles to understand each other as you try out your skills with Portuguese and the staff tries theirs with English. If you want absolutely amazing service from very personable staff, visit the bar and talk with any of the bartenders. They definitely provide a five star level of service in any country!
- Be aware of the energy conservation measures that are in place. The lights and air conditioning in your room are controlled by your key card, which you place in the slot to the right of the door as you enter the room. We discovered that the elevator also conserves electricity by having the lights turn out if it is not in use. (Holy guacamole, Batman! The elevator also turns off if you enter, think you hit the down button and didn’t hit it hard enough. Ask me how I know. I was able to check ‘Get stuck in an elevator in the dark’ off my bucket list. Well, first I had to add it and then I checked it off…)
- Ask about breakfast if you are checking out before the continental breakfast is served on your last day. We received complimentary sack lunches for each person in our group.
For More Information:
(The website is not loading for me, so I linked to the Facebook page.)
Rua das Terças, 3 Fenais da Luz
+351 296 249 300
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