This is my strongest memory - eating breakfast in the garden, looking out over the lake. A peacock from the botanical gardens (just across the road) used to join us for breakfast. He was friendly (obviously keen to share our breakfast) but easy to shoo away if you don't want him there. The lake is easily as beautiful in the photos on the website.
The house is also very special, built (if my memory is correct) about 150 years ago by Margarida's grandfather (or great grandfather) who also created the large botanical gardens just across the road. Guests in the house have free access to the botanical gardens. We loved the valley of ferns and the long walk to a stunning waterfall.
The house is full of character and has been kept with furniture in keeping with its age, including some really nice antique pieces. Comfortable enough but not fully modern. Kitchen utensils were a bit random, some new, some not so new, but we had everything we needed.
The location is ideal for enjoying Lagoa do Furnas (the lake). We walked right round the lake, taking in the hot sulphur springs - bubbling mud - that the locals use to cook their Cozido (a pot roast of meats and vegetables cooked directly by the heat from the volcano). Furnas village also has two natural hot spas. We enjoyed both, basking and swimming in the water heated again by vents from the volcano.
Margarida and Fatima were both very friendly and welcoming. Margarida showed us round the old chapel, in the grounds of the botanical gardens, also built by her grandfather. Fatima was only too keen to help whenever we needed anything.
There was so much to see in the area that I did not get as long as I wanted to sit and enjoy the peaceful garden and the view across the lake.
And we loved the whole island. If you want a busy tourist resort with lots of entertainments, Sao Miguel is not for you. But if you love the countryside, walking down the side of a mountain to a beautiful lake formed in the basin of a sleeping volcano or even swimming in the sea from quiet sandy beaches, Sao Miguel is ideal.
Would we go back and stay there again? Definitely. Would we recommend? Again definitely. I have only awarded four (rather than five) stars because some guests might want some of the kitchen and bathroom things to be a bit more modern.
Thank you Margarida and Fatima
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