The Azores Islands in Portugal are one of our new favorite travel destinations and there’s no question why! They are home to awe-inspiring viewpoints, natural hot springs, incredible waterfalls, and even Europe’s only tea plantation. Keep reading for everything you need to know about our hotel of choice in The Azores!
If the Azores is on your bucket list — and I think it should be — your first big decision will be which island(s) to visit. If you are short on time or aren’t sure where to start, my number one recommendation would be São Miguel! This island is referred to by many as the most beautiful in the region and it has everything you could dream of to make your trip to the Azores picture perfect. During our visit, we stayed with ANC Experience Resort and had the most wonderful time. Check them out here!
The location was excellent, the customer service was fantastic, and don’t even get me started on the complimentary breakfast. YUM! Every staff member we encountered went above and beyond to ensure we were comfortable. The rooms are spacious with mesmerizing balcony views of the ocean and coastline. What else could you ask for… a great price and an oceanfront pool? They’ve got that, too! Here’s a little more information on all of the reasons we loved ANC Experience Resort, and why we think you’ll love it too.
ANC Experience Resort is located on the south shore of São Miguel in a charming little area called Caloura. About 15 minutes east of the Airport and centrally located, this hotel was a perfect home base for exploring the island. We stayed here for the entire 5 days we were in The Azores and found it extremely convenient to get around!
The property at ANC is vibrant and inviting with ocean views and wonderful amenities. Each of the 29 rooms feature a balcony with views of the sea or the mountains. They offer a 24-hour reception, free wifi, an excellent breakfast, and a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner.
Additionally, they have two outdoor swimming pools, one for adults and one for children, as well as a tennis court. The pool area is beautiful and located right along the ocean. It was one of our favorite places to unwind and enjoy the sunshine!
Our loft-style room at ANC Experience Resort was located on the top floor with jaw-dropping views of the coast. Everything was very clean, bright, and in great condition. The bedroom housed a cozy bed, air conditioning, and a large wardrobe which we appreciated and the private bathroom was spacious and lively with its endearing blue tile.
In the living area, we had a kitchenette with a fridge, a sink, and a hot plate as well as a couch and flat-screen TV. We spent many evenings curled up on the couch or out on the balcony having a glass of wine and watching the sunset. It was an incredibly peaceful and serene way to end the day.
The breakfast at ANC Experience Resort was something that David and I looked forward to every single morning! Our favorite seat looked out onto the terrace where we would start with coffee, tea, and orange juice. Next, they would bring out a selection of seasonal fruit, freshly baked buns, ham, local cheese, yogurt, and a homemade chocolate-filled croissant, which was obviously David’s favorite part.
Finally, we had the choice of an omelet, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and/or pancakes from the kitchen. Our waitress was always lovely and the food was fantastic. We left each morning feeling wonderfully full and ready to start the day!
The resort also has a restaurant called Refugio which has a mouth-watering lunch and dinner menu. Refugio is located on the second floor of the property just across the hall from the breakfast area, it is an outstanding place to go for a meal.
Guess what, ANC Experience Resort also offers car rentals! They are very reasonably priced and provided perfect customer service. Although they are located a few minutes’ drive from the international airport, they have an airport shuttle to transport you to and from the rental office.
do you need to rent a car?
São Miguel is remarkably easy to travel… with one condition. You need to rent a car. Okay, technically, you don’t need to have a vehicle as there are large tourist buses that take people around the island. But trust me on this one, okay? You are going to want to rent a car. It gives you a ton of freedom to explore the island at your leisure, avoid the crowds, and take smaller, off-the-beaten-path roads that will blow your mind.
We traveled the entire island by car and were pleasantly surprised when every single road we took was well signed and in excellent condition. They all looked brand new! Please note, however, that the roads in São Miguel are much narrower than roads in North America. That combined with the steep switchbacks leading down to some ocean spots can create a few nerve-racking experiences. As long as you go slow and are mindful of other drivers, though, you will be fine.
One of the things we really loved about ANC Experience Resort is that they are quite literally a one-stop-shop when it comes to planning your holiday. On top of the hotel and car rental, you can also set up all of your island tours through them. From off-road buggy excursions to sea life and whale watching adventures, they have got tons of options to choose from. You can find more information at the front desk or on their website.