The Azores’ most celebrated hotel is the elegant art-deco Terra Nostra.
The Terra Nostra Garden Hotel (to give it it’s full title) is one of Sao Miguel’s must-stay hotels. When the hotel first opened its doors to the public in 1935, the village of Furnas (the most easterly of the island’s calderas) was already a popular spa destination amongst Victorian travellers, seeking out the mineral-rich springs and geysers which were considered to have therapeutic properties. Seizing the opportunity, the Bensaude family restored the village’s neglected botanical gardens, built the original Art-Deco wing of the hotel and the rest is history.
The Terra Nostra Parque botanical gardens actually pre-date the hotel by 150 years. They’re a diverse collection of endemic Azorean plants and tress, with more-exotic species from around the world – home to the famous geothermal swimming pool which is floodlit in the evenings for exclusive use of the hotel’s guests.
The hotel was expanded in 1989, adding the Garden Wing which sympathetically follows the deco-styling of the original hotel. Of the Terra Nostra’s eight-six rooms and suites, our favourites are these Garden Wing rooms, with their private balconies overlooking the teeming semi-tropical gardens. The Garden wing also includes an indoor pool, gym and the hotel’s spa and wellness centre: where you can also enjoy the relaxing and restorative treatments that attracted the very first visitors to this beautiful island.