Sao Miguel Island, Azores | Portugal
The chance to stay on a pineapple plantation does not come along every day. Our opportunity to experience life on a working plantation came at the Herdade do Ananas boutique hotel just outside the capital city of Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel, one of nine islands in the Azorean archipelago.
History, location and more
The Dias family has lived on this beautiful property for three generations, raising their children along with being stewards of the land. Starting with the grandfather who was a successful merchant in the nearby town of Ponta Delgada and through successive generations, the property has taken on a new life as a small, intimate hotel while managing the delicate balance of staying close to its agrarian roots.
By hosting guests from around the world the Dias family continues the tradition of sharing, hospitality and abundant generosity.
The boutique hotel of Herdade do Ananas is located in the Municipal Parish of Sao Roque, a ten minute cab ride from the capital city of Ponta Delgada. It is also a pleasant 2.5 mile, one hour walk along the oceanfront which we chose to do after checking in on our first day.
Being removed from the hustle and bustle of Ponta Delgada ensured that our stay was quiet, with the exception of a few barking dogs and the usual early morning cackle of roosters on nearby farms. The hotel is also conveniently located minutes away from major roadways, which provided quick and easy access for exploring the island. All in all it was a great location once we secured our rental car.
Style & Character
Known by locals as the “Pink House” Herdade do Ananas is a renovated three story, eight room house dating back three generations of the Dias family.
Being advocates of restoration architecture we appreciated how the thoughtful and painstaking renovation managed to retain the look and feel of the original home in many ways, while incorporating the necessary upgrades needed to function as a hotel. Plaudits go to the family, their architect and their interior design partners.
Attention to detail figured prominently in the restoration, including colorful floral motif tilework throughout the house, combined with original wood floors in the hallways and each of the rooms. The well placed use of doors, windows and various artifacts from the original mansion (including an old bicycle hanging over the check-in desk) contribute to the overall eclectic feel.
The several whitewashed greenhouses where pineapples and strawberries are grown add to the feeling of being on a “working” plantation and our morning pineapple tour with Edgar was interesting and informational. There are also several avocado, fruit and banana trees on the property which adds to the overall “farm-to-table” ambience.
With its high-walled gated entrance, generous parking and a private, secluded feeling Herdade do Ananas was truly one of our favorite stays.
Rooms & Amenities
Our room was impeccably clean with a minimum of embellishments or artwork to distract from the great view of the distant mountains. An original door hanging over our bed along with some vintage furniture played center stage as the only decorations. Those restrained touches were all that was needed to create a clean, almost zen-like ambiance.
Like any frequent traveler, high on our list is a clean bathroom and Herdade do Ananas exceeded our expectations in spades. White subway tiled walls, a spacious shower and good lighting all contributed greatly to our morning routine. Enough towels to use as bath mats never hurts either!
There was no desk in our room, so a usable workspace needed to be found elsewhere. Fortunately, the large reception area with its high ceiling, abundant light and plenty of seating made for a pleasant, less confining place to work. Retiring there in the evening was also very pleasant as the ample couches, low lighting and soothing mix of music made for a great way to wind down from our active days. The outdoor seating area, complete with oversize teak chairs and fire pit was another good spot to relax while enjoying a glass of wine.
Although the hotel has no pool Luis informed us that they have plans to build one in the near future. We were certain that adding a pool would more than likely detract from the peaceful mood of the property as pools can get quite noisy. Not so noisy were the complimentary bicycles for guests to enjoy. Although we did not take advantage of them we noticed that several guests were doing so.
Many hotels offer a wide variety of amenities such as gyms and spas along with yoga and pilates sessions. Devoid of all those activities, what Herdade do Ananas offered was a simple, peaceful, and much appreciated respite from our travels.
The complimentary breakfast buffet began each morning at 9am giving us ample time to sleep in. The buffet is held in the large reception area and the generous spread of fresh fruit, cheeses and cold cuts along with a variety of local bread was enough fuel to start our day. Coffee, tea and several fresh juices (especially the pineapple juice) were delicious. To add to the usual buffet Edgar would whip up several batches of simple scrambled eggs each morning for those of us (me!) that enjoy eggs.
Our days began with coffee in our room before heading downstairs to enjoy the bountiful breakfast. We greatly appreciated Edgar allowing us to make a sandwich to take on the road for the day so as to not have to stop for lunch. That, along with some fruit, were all that we needed to get us through the middle of our day. Very thoughtful.
Being that the reception area was staffed by someone until 10pm it was possible to request a wood board filled with local cheeses along with some fruit, crackers and warm bread. This was greatly appreciated on those days when we returned to the hotel a bit late without having stopped somewhere for dinner.
The hotel also kept several local beers on hand along with some nicely curated wines to accompany our evening snack board. Another nice touch.
Staff & Service
The staff of Herdade do Ananas are a case study in gracious hospitality. From the moment we arrived to the day we departed (9 days later!) we were treated like family. Starting with Edgar (the manager, breakfast guru and head pineapple tour guide) to Andrea, Sylvia, Joanna & Jessica the entire team were kind, helpful and genuine to a fault. Credit their collective hospitality to Luis, the third, and latest, generation of the Dias family. His vision of a comfortable, easy-going boutique hotel covers all the important details, particularly that of ensuring a pleasant guest experience.
It was always a welcome surprise when Luis’ mom occasionally dropped in to check on us or to briefly escape her afternoon duties as nanny for her grandchildren!
From the moment the big pink gate slides open, Luis, his mom and the entire Herdade do Ananas team provide their guests with Azorean hospitality that will have you planning your next visit to this unique place.