Graciosa Resort Hotel is a modern hotel with 52 en-suite rooms, each with it’s own private balcony overlooking the pool and the sea beyond. There’s a nice bar, terrace and restaurant at the hotel – the island’s main town, Santa Cruz, is also just a five minute drive / fifteen minute stroll from the hotel, and it’s pretty main square is a lovely spot to relax in the evenings over a glass of Azorean wine. Tall Araucarua trees line the cobbled streets that criss-cross the square – they’re particularly nice during religious festivals, when they’re decorated with elaborate handmade embroideries.
Overlooking the hotel is Mount Nossa Senhora da Ajuda – it’s well-worth the short walk to the summit for the panoramic view over Santa Cruz and out to sea. There are three chapels on the summit dedicated to Sao Joao, Sao Salvador and Senhora da Aduja, and a now defunct Vigia (whale hunting viewpoint). If you want to explore the wider island, you’ve really got to include a hire car during your stay – a short drive south will bring you to the island’s largest caldera (which has an easy-but-extremely-scenic walking trail), and a visit to the volcanic cave at Furna do Enxofre is a must. Graciosa’s coastline also has some lovely swimming spots – the beach at Praia de São Mateus and the Termas geothermal-baths at Carapacho are both great options for a lazy day.
The ‘Bioshere’ in the hotel’s title refers to the island’s UNESCO protected status – Graciosa (together with the islands of Corvo and Flores) is a protected Biosphere Reserve, where a balance has been struck between sustainable economic development and the protection of the island’s landscape. The new marina being constructed just next door to the hotel at Ponta da Pesqueira is one of the first major developments to be undertaken since the island was awarded it’s UNESCO status. It’s an interesting project, transforming an old whalers’ harbour using local materials, labour and skills. The marina is scheduled to be completed by Easter 2018 – it’s aimed at sailing and leisure (as a ‘working’ marina already exists in Praia) and should be a welcome new addition to Santa Cruz.
Less than 10 minutes drive from the airport and 5 minutes from Santa Cruz, this is a great place to explore Graciosa from. We would recommend hiring a car if staying here.
An ideal base for walking and exploring Graciosa. We recommend hiring a car while staying here.