Introduction: Italy, With A Refueling Stop In The Azores
Review: Air France Lounge Boston Airport
Review: Azores Airlines Business Class A310 Boston To Ponta Delgada
Review: Furnas Boutique Hotel, The Azores
Review: Azores Airlines Lounge Ponta Delgada Airport
Review: Azores Airlines Business Class A340 Ponta Delgada To Lisbon
Review: TAP Portugal Business Class A321 Lisbon To Milan
Review: Sheraton Lake Como
Why I Didn’t Love Lake Como
Review: Il Sereno Lake Como
Review: Sheraton Milan Malpensa Airport
Review: Milan Malpensa Airport Lounge
Review: Air France Business Class A318 Milan To Paris
Review: Air France First Class Ground Experience Paris
Review: Air France First Class 777-300ER Paris To Houston
We had two nights in the Azores, as we were arriving early in the morning, and leaving around the same time two days later. Most of the major hotel chains don’t have any properties in the Azores, so I had narrowed down our stay to the two Design Hotels properties on São Miguel Island. Specifically, there’s the Azor Hotel, which is located in Ponta Delgada, just a few miles from the airport, and then there’s the Furnas Boutique Hotel, located in Furnas, about a 45 minute drive from the airport.
While the Azor Hotel looked nice for what it is (a pretty generic city hotel), we were intrigued by the Furnas Boutique Hotel, so ended up booking that. The paid rate would have been 240EUR, though we redeemed 7,000 Starpoints per night instead (as this is a Category 3 SPG property), which I consider to be a great value.
For those of you not familiar with Starwood’s partnership with Design Hotels, these properties aren’t fully integrated into SPG, but rather it’s just a marketing partnership. That means you can earn and redeem Starpoints for these stays, but you don’t receive room upgrades, free breakfast, late check-out, etc.
With that in mind, we rented a car at Ponta Delgada Airport so we’d be able to drive around the island freely. The Azores is a place where you really need a car, as there’s beauty at every corner, and we loved just driving wherever the road would take us, with no destination in mind. The landscape is so incredibly beautiful, and the roads are consistently empty.
The Furnas Boutique Hotel was about a 45 minute drive from the airport. As the name suggests, the 54-room hotel is located in Furnas, which is a town with a population of under 1,500. The town is known for its hot springs and nearby lake, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island.
The hotel was easy to find and had a charming exterior. It was just a two story hotel, and parking out front was free.
The lobby had an interesting design. I couldn’t decide whether the waterfall wallpaper was cute or cheesy, or maybe both.
To the right of the entrance was a room that doubled as a sitting area and gift shop.
Then to the left was the lobby lounge.
The associate at reception was friendly, and informed us that our room wouldn’t be ready for many hours. I said that was fine (of course), but also told her that we didn’t care about the bed configuration, and would be happy with the first available room. Her colleague pointed to something on the screen, and moments later we were informed that a room was ready for us. Awesome!
Our room (#110) was located on the ground floor, to the right of reception.
Our room was the third one on the right.
Rooms at this hotel are on the small side, though well appointed. There was an entryway with the bathroom to the left.
The room featured a king size bed, a chair by the window, a long table along the wall (which doubled as a desk), and a wall-mounted TV.
On the opposite side of the table of the desk was a kettle and coffee machine, as well as a fridge with some complimentary water.
The room faced the parking lot and lots of greenery, not that views are all that much better from other parts of the hotel.
The bathroom was small but functional, and had a sink, toilet, bidet, and shower/tub combo.
My one major complaint was with the shower design, as the half glass shield wasn’t enough to prevent water from spraying into the rest of the bathroom. After a shower the floor would be soaking wet.
Toiletries were in bottles on the wall, and were provided by Green Park (which I hadn’t heard of).
Wifi in the room was fast and free, and didn’t require any sort of log-in.
Several hours after checking in we were brought a welcome amenity, consisting of a bottle of wine, two bottles of water (in awesome-looking bottles), and fresh pineapple juice. I’m not sure if this amenity was due to being an SPG member (I’ve heard that Design Hotels sometimes try to do special things for SPG guests given that it’s still a fairly new partnership), or what.
In terms of the hotel’s other amenities, there’s a spa and thermal pool complex also on the ground floor. There was both an indoor and outdoor thermal pool, opened daily from 9AM until 9PM.
Then on the second floor just above the pool was the gym, which could be accessed 24/7.
The hotel also had bikes you could rent.
While we didn’t get any spa treatments, here’s the cost for spa treatments at the Furnas Hotel:
While our rate didn’t include breakfast, we had breakfast two mornings at A Terra Furnas, which is the hotel’s restaurant just off the side of the lobby. The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating.
Breakfast was 15EUR per person, and that included coffee. There were a variety of cold cuts, cheese, cereal, yogurt, bread, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, and of course the famous Portuguese custard tarts. My only wish is that breakfast included made to ordered eggs.
One afternoon while working Ford and I shared a pizza in the lobby lounge to tide us over until dinner. It was excellent.
We also had dinner one night at the hotel’s restaurant. It’s the best restaurant in the area, and a majority of the people eating there seemed to be non-guests.
The menu read as follows:
I had the ceviche to start, while Ford had the chicken salad.
For the main, Ford had the tuna, while I had the special, which consisted of tomato three ways.
The food was excellent, as was the service.
We had to leave for the airport early on our last morning, and I appreciated that they had a station in the lobby with a light breakfast, for those leaving before the restaurant opens (7AM).
Overall thoughts on the Azores
We had a great two days in the Azores. When we first landed the weather wasn’t very nice and we didn’t have great interactions with a few people, so I was prepared to be disappointed. However, after taking a nap the weather got nicer and we drove around the island, and just fell in love with the landscape.
I will say that based on my research, the Azores (or more accurately, São Miguel Island) doesn’t have that much to offer in the way of traditional tourist attractions. However, that was fine by us, because what we enjoyed most was just taking in the nature. I felt like our two days there was perfect given the pace at which we travel, but I could have easily spent another couple of days there, and would love to return.
Was Furnas Hotel a good base from which to explore?
When we made the booking, we chose the Furnas Hotel because it looked charming and intimate, while the other Design Hotels property looked like a pretty standard city hotel. Overall I’m very happy with our decision, though I should mention that Ponta Delgada is a surprisingly charming city as well.
So in a way I wish we had stayed in Ponta Delgada so we could walk out our hotel into the cute streets and great restaurants, rather than driving 45 minutes. On the other hand, I don’t think we would have done as much exploring if we stayed in the city, so staying a bit of a distance from everything meant that we’d get to see more.
We had a great stay at the Furnas Boutique Hotel, and at 7,000 Starpoints per night, it was an excellent value. This is a solid hotel with clean and modern rooms, good service overall, and an excellent restaurant. I also highly recommend a visit to the Azores.