Set amidst lush greenery, Furnas Boutique Hotel Thermal and Spa hotel excels at taking advantage of its prime location near the hot springs that have made the region famous. The natural environment inspires the décor, the excellent food from À Terra which captures the tastes of the wood fired oven and the stylish spa.
Nestled in the verdant foothills of north-eastern São Miguel that frame the view of this 54 room and suite hotel, nature shines here. Turn in any direction and the natural beauty of the island comes into view. Across the street the Jardim Público da Courela provides a beautiful oasis including a taro lined waterway. Nearby, the island’s volcanic makeup is evident in bubbling caldeiras (hot springs).
Once the municipal thermal baths, the hotel recently underwent a transformation. Spread over just two floors, giant murals with plant motifs mirror the exterior landscape. While 70s-style retro touches give the hotel an urban edge, like a wall of old records that decorates the bar area. This fusing of the industrial and natural culminates in the restaurant À Terra. Lounging nooks are also a welcome feature of the hotel, all enhanced by natural light flooding in from the windows and skylights.
The hotel has a strong focus on wellness with a thermal circuit of dynamic pools, aromatic showers, Turkish bath, and sauna, all enriched with Furnas’ thermal spring waters. The minimalist white and black décor lend a luxe element to the spa, where soft plumes of smoke rise from the indoor and outdoor thermal pools, an ideal way to spend an afternoon. After soaking in the therapeutic waters, my masseuse Andreia Medeiros first offers a lavender sea salt foot scrub before a tailor made massage that immediately alleviates my tired muscles. Best of all there are only a handful of guests so there is an added benefit of privacy.
Dark wood and long industrial farmhouse tables are neatly set up at À Terra Furnas restaurant. The wood fired oven, and Josper (a combination of a charcoal grill and oven) make for a menu that highlights pizzas, bruschettas, and roasts prepared in traditional Portuguese style. The slightly pickled bluejack mackerel comes to the table sizzling, presented on the lava stones that it was cooked on and served alongside a carrot salad with roasted potatoes and romesco sauce. For dessert, the chestnut cake and ice cream is a hearty way to end the meal.
The centrepiece of the hotel is undoubtedly the gorgeous spa. Gourmand dining experiences, and a tranquil setting round out the hotel’s repertoire.
Want to know where else to stay in Furnas, Sao Miguel? This original travel article first appeared in the Winter 2017/18 issue of City Style and Living Magazine