The Vibe: Mykonos meets Atlantic.
The Area: The resort sits atop a basalt cliff overlooking the ocean in Lagoa, on the south coast of the island São Miguel, not far from Ponta Delgada, capital of the Azores.
The DNA: It was during a hike that Catarina and João Reis came across the ruins of an old manor house. As part of a wine production property, the house enjoyed a soothing tranquillity and magnificent ocean views. Passionate about creating unique places – their first endeavour two years earlier, Santa Bárbara, is Azores’ first eco-beach resort – they decided to transform the ancient building into an exclusive boutique hotel, crucially without effacing its vernacular architecture, which they did to great effect. You could be mistaken for being in Greece, but the view from White Exclusive Suites and Villas – whose straightforward name turns out to be entirely apt – is not Santorini’s Caldera but the endless Atlantic Ocean backed by the black volcanic stone and immense green of São Miguel, the Azores’ main island. The inspiration for White is Greece, but with a healthy dose of island heritage. Complementing the pared down spaces, bespoke furniture made out of cryptomeria, an evergreen tree from Asia that is widely cultivated in the Azores, hand-crafted ceramics, including a series of ceramic corals, and wicker lamps made using traditional basketry techniques enhance the scheme’s harmonious mix of vernacular and contemporary, as well as speak of WHITE’s sustainability ethos. Combined with natural fabrics and carpets in warm, earthy hues, the hotel’s renovated interiors are elegant, welcoming and relaxed. The outdoor spaces include different patios and levels, a fire pit and a heated saltwater infinity pool with a black bottom that evokes the island’s volcanic beaches. An old pergola was transformed into a sheltered lounge area, where guests can enjoy an al fresco breakfast, lunch or dinner even when the weather is questionable, while a freestanding pavilion offers guests the chance to enjoy a range of wellness treatments and rituals in a secluded setting above the ocean. Based on a farm-to-table philosophy, the well-edited menu at the on-site Cardume restaurant is the work of Chef William Blake whose young age belies his experience – Blake has previously worked alongside White’s previous chef, as well as several Michelin-star names such as Dieter Koschina and Vincent Farges.
Suite-Me-Up: Rooms feature the same warm minimalistic design mixed with contemporary luxury. All boast dramatic views of the Atlantic. The small villa on-site has a cliffside vantage point complete with a saltwater plunge pool, and a second large villa, La Maison, is located at 50 metres and comes with a private pool.
Your hosts: Catarina & João Reis
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 9 suites (27-42m2) (291-452 sq ft) & 2 villas (40-400m2) (431-4,306 sq ft) • hotel opened: July 2017, renovated 2022 • interior design: Daniela Franceschini, Quiet Studios • bathroom amenities: Claus ✅ free parking on-site • no pets allowed • wheelchair accessible