The Azorean Atelier

One of our favourite boltholes that fuses creative pedigree with island soul - where you can sit in a hammock all day long, explore the wilderness of the coast, chill on the beach or get lost in nature


Nestling amongst the verdant hilltops of Portugal's São Miguel island on the north coast, the tiny art hotel house of Pico do Refúgio peaks above the lushness of this ecological reserve, close to deliciously slow lane living of rural life in Rabo de Peixe and Ribeira Grande. 

There are a random collection of former tea buildings overlooking the sea that radiate like arteries from the white-washed, terracotta mansion house dating back to the 18th century. Here you find traces of the former garrison married with the days as an orange and tea plantation before finally finding tranquillity as Pico do Refúgio, an owning artists retreat. The open lofty design interiors of Pico do Refúgio have borrowings of atelier décor with a creative cocktail of nature, art and crisp design. Sweeping glaucous hues of polished concrete flooring pairs with aged, honeyed plinths and ivory walls that flank modernist pieces. The homemade jams are equally at home here as are the countless paintings, a chilled ateliers’ den of family culture just a few minutes from the beaches of Santa Barbara.

Pico do Refúgio is all about escapism in Portugal's Azores, an arty hotel hub in which to tank up on nature or dive into the watery depths of the Atlantic's archipelago.


Pico do Refúgio, art, hotel, boutique, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

The rooms here at Pico do Refúgio are more than simply bedrooms, they are huge living spaces to sleep, eat, relax and work (if you must). They’re spacious and airy, each portioned subtlety to create different environments with luxe trappings such as wood burners or fireplaces, bi-folding doors and glazed arches. Traditional features come in the form of high, wooden beamed and arched ceilings, curved arc windows and polished floorboards.

Families are well catered for with a range of lofts and apartments suitable for extra beds and as a couple, one of the cosy lofts might be a great choice, plus one or two have secret gardens which are worth asking for to have your own private patch of green.


Pico do Refúgio, art, hotel, boutique, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

A creative pad that hugs you with the Azorean simplicity of São Miguel, breakfast is served as and when really, continental in style serving homemade marmalades - try the estate's pineapple for a change, soft white island cheeses and delicious Picos and Bolos Lêvedo.  

Stock up in nearby villages for late-night snacking, otherwise check out the local gastro scene with its very own culinary specialities of the islands - with seafood being a culinary highlight, prepared so simply that it naturally has a wow effect.


Nestling on Portugal's north coast amongst the verdant hilltops of the Azorean island of São Miguel, Pico do Refúgio sits in a lush ecological reserve just outside the town of Ribeira Grande, close to the village of Rabo de Peixe. From this elevated plateau visitors can take in the island of forests, lakes and of course the coast that is both soft and sandy - like at beauty spot Santa Barbara - as well as rocky and wild. 


Owner Luís Bernardo Brito e Abreu has a special bond to his little hotel – it belonged to his artistic parents and so its fitting that the son has restored, converted and replenished this boutique hotel house of creativity. Being an architect himself this challenge has been met with care, ensuring that the character, bare-bones and structure of Pico do Refúgio comes to life.

He adores the island and can tell you the most amazing insider tips of discovery – he is a fellow creative, former navy officer, foodie and shares his world with eyes wide open.

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