My favourite accommodation in Azores
From the outside, you’d be forgiven for thinking these six traditional lava-stone cottages at Pico da Vigia have been sitting here forever; comfortably blending into the surrounding farming landscape whilst keeping watch over the silhouetted island of Sao Jorge as the long years roll by.
That’s testament to the care and attention owners Sofia and Bruno have taken in the design and construction of these newly-built cottages; ensuring the exteriors are sympathetic to the existing architecture in and around the south coast village of Santa Barbara. It’s a different story once you step inside – bright white walls, exposed Cedar purlins and polished concreted floors give the interiors an immediately-modern feel. The strong lines are cleverly contrasted and warmed by the addition of restored antiques and beautifully hand-made furniture.
The cottages at Pico da Vigia have kitchenettes with a two-ring hob, microwave, toaster, kettle, coffee machine and a well-stocked fridge (with all the ingredients you’ll need for breakfast). Each kitchen has its own traditional wood-fired oven – they’re lit throughout the Winter and on request during the Summer months. There’s also air-conditioning for the warmer times of year. Fresh bread is delivered each morning, (via a cunningly discrete hatch) and the cottages are cleaned and refreshed daily (unless you’re staying home for the day; in which case you’ll not be disturbed). Outside, there’s a table, chairs and a small firepit for the evenings. There’s also an outdoor pool when you fancy a morning dip, and Bruno and Sofia have their own small-holding where they grow seasonal veg; there’s an orchard where you can pick your own oranges, apples and plums.
Each cottage at Pico da Vigia is named after the colour of its respective front door – see which’ll best suit you:
The Blue, Green, Red and Brown Cottages – these are open-plan studios which are perfect for a couple (or a couple with a baby). There’s the kitchen/diner/living room at one end, and sunken bath/shower combo and separate WC at the other. In-between is the double ‘bedroom’, and the clever use of a hanging tapestry helps to define and separate each area.
The Yellow Cottage is one-bedroom – this larger building also has an open-plan dining/living space, with a separate bedroom and en-suite bathroom.
The White Cottage has pretty much the same layout as the Yellow Cottage but with two large double/twin bedrooms – each with its own en-suite bathroom and WC.