It all began in 2015, when the first eco-beach resort in the Azores opened on a piece of land right beside Santa Barbara beach. The project was not just another hotel, it was the realisation of an old dream held by João Reis, a businessman and also a surfer in love with São Miguel, now home to the SANTA BARBARA ECO-BEACH RESORT.

The starting point was his passion for this beach and its black sand, which contrasts almost magically with the blue of the ocean and the various hues of green of the hills that frame it in the background. However, this dream mixes together many other passions too: a passion for the art of hospitality, for nature, for the sea and, above all, for the Azores.

The total respect for São Miguel and its unique qualities led João Reis to design a resort from the ground up that integrated perfectly into the environment around it. It is no surprise, therefore, that the materials used, the architecture and the framing in the landscape have been the project’s three key concerns. The 30 Villas & Studios of Santa Barbara Eco Beach Resort are the result of this careful process.

The Villas and Facilities

  • The emphasis throughout the construction was placed on using natural materials, with the main focus on local wood (cryptomeria), cork and bamboo, in addition to decorative elements relating to Azorean traditions. Both the walls and floor of the villas, studios and main building were made using micro-cement.
  • In the exterior areas of the resort the respect for nature also stands out. An enormous saltwater pool, with stone beds inside and a view of the ocean, promises to delight those seeking moments of contemplation, while a wooden deck built on top of the cliff allows guests to enjoy a massage to the sound of the sea, and the sport activity centre is a stimulus to anyone looking for some adventure, with access to the surf school and hire of equipment for snorkelling, stand-up paddle, surfing and kayaking. All of the resort’s gardens are regularly supplemented with new indigenous plant species in the aim of offering a more exclusive atmosphere without interfering with the magnificent natural landscape that characterises the hotel. A particular highlight is the shared garden at the Garden Villas, where a selection of over a hundred indigenous tree species were planted in beds surrounded by walls made of local volcanic rock.

Experiences

The resort also offers a service that plans personalised experiences, aimed at enhancing every guest’s stay on the island to the fullest. This “maker of tailor-made experiences” offers a service which includes the careful and rigorous selection of the best providers for each activity and advice about the best restaurants and most interesting places to visit, alongside proposals for customised itineraries based on guests’ personal interests. Guests are also invited to engage with Santa Barbara’s policy on sustainability, becoming more aware of the theme and being encouraged to adopt good practices during their stay. This often consists of suggestions for walks and/or bicycle rides around the vicinity, farming activities, cleaning of the beach and nature tourism activities, such as birdwatching, sometimes with local associations/NGOs.

Restaurant & Beach Bar

With an unforgettable view, Restaurant Santa Barbara now has a new culinary concept that takes us on a journey to the East – from India to Japan – where we unexpectedly discover exotic spices and authentic flavours. On a highly diverse menu, where you can still find Santa Barbara’s famous sushi and sashimi, there is a selection of bao, ramen and curries, among many other dishes inspired by Thai, Indian, Korean and Japanese cuisine. All of this is prepared with the necessary homage to the quality of the local food – with Azorean meat and Atlantic fish and seafood heavily represented, along with the freshest of fresh garden produce, aromatic herbs and fruit, which now come from the roughly 4,000 m2 farm and two greenhouses recently set up on the property. It is a way of ensuring a zero food miles approach and extra quality as part of a real “farm-to-table” concept.

Wellness Retreat

One of the other big new features at Santa Barbara Eco-Beach Resort is the Wellness Retreat. Housed in a facility at the resort’s highest point, it has a wonderful view over the 3.3 hectares of this seafront property and offers a huge range of services, namely signature rituals such as the Salt Detox, a relaxing massage with exfoliation, alternative treatments like the Bamboo Detox, and even yoga classes and SUP yoga.

Authenticity Sustainability Exclusivity And Excellence

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