One of the things we love about holidays is the planning (no really!) And with this in mind we have put together some answers to the most frequently asked questions. We have also written guides to the attractions here and restaurants here that are on São Miguel as well as the other islands. If we have not covered your question, please feel free to email us here and we will get straight back to you. Read our Covid-19 update here.
I want to book NOW:
We really appreciate your support. Please feel free to email us and we will let you know the moment we are ready to take bookings.
How do I get to the Azores?
There are a number of flights to São Miguel (the main island in the Azores.) From the USA you have flights from Boston (daily) as well as a weekly flight from San Francisco. From Canada there are also daily flights. Europe has daily flights from Lisbon, and the UK has a weekly connection. Summer flights also operate from Sweden, France and the Netherlands.
Where is Solar Branco Eco-Estate located?
We are conveniently located just outside of Ponta Delgada. A 5 minute drive from the city center and a 10 minute drive from the airport. You can see where we are here.
What can I see on São Miguel?
There is so much that you can see on São Miguel. From beautiful hikes, to black sand beaches. The island is blessed with some amazing countryside. Read our insiders guide to the island with all the sights, locals only spots and restaurants here.
Can you visit the Azores without a car?
You can. However, a car is highly recommended to get the most out of your holiday. Public transport is mostly geared towards the needs of local residents rather than serving the main tourist sites.
What languages are spoken:
Portuguese. English is widely spoken across the island.
What time zone is the Azores on?
The Azorean time zone is +1 to GMT.
What is the weather like?
Generally the weather in the Azores is temperate at 20°C / 68°F. May – September are the hottest months but you can of course still get rain anytime.
Spring (February to April): 55–60°F (13–16°C)
Summer (May to August): 64–77°F (18–25°C)
Autumn (September to November): 57–68°F (14–20°C)
Winter (December to February): 55–59°F (13–15°C)
Do you offer an airport shuttle:
Yes. We can help arrange a taxi or town car for your pickup. There are also plenty of taxis outside the airport, and we are a 10-minute drive away. The cost will be around €15 for a taxi.
Can you recommend a hire car company:
Yes. Please note, we recommend that if you wish to hire an automatic car that you do this in advance as availability is limited (especially during the high season of summer.)
As an Eco Hotel are there other choices of transport:
There is a limited bus service, but it is for local people to get to work. Buses run throughout the island but these are for local transport so we don’t advise using them to go to many of the sights.
We also have electric bikes on the estate. You are welcome to use these, and they will get you in and out of Ponta Delgada in 15 minutes (each way.)
If you would like to walk along the coastline, it takes around 1.5 hours.
Does Uber exist in the Azores:
No. Taxis are available around the island and English is spoken by the majority of drivers. Most take cash only. You’ll have a card with the estate’s location details which you can keep handy.
ABOUT THE ESTATE AND ACCOMMODATION:
What is your child policy?
We have a strict no babies or children under 13. For The Gin Library we do not allow babies or children under 16 into the area.
Can I check in early:
Early check-in or late check-out are subject to availability. You are always welcome to leave your bags with us if your room is not available outside of the standard check in / check out times. If you are island hopping we can hold your bags for free.
Do you serve breakfast:
Breakfast is included in your room rate. You can enjoy your breakfast in the the dining room, where you’ll find a buffet specialising in delicious, local ingredients, along with a-la-carte options cooked to order. If you’d like to enjoy breakfast in your room, we can deliver a breakfast basket at no extra charge.
Do you serve lunch and dinner:
São Miguel has many excellent restaurants and we encourage our guests to try them out (more here.) Our team is always delighted to help with suggestions and reservations. Most of our accommodation includes a kitchen, and we can help you stock up with food for your lunches and dinners. We can also arrange catering on site with advance notice.
Do you have a pool:
We do not. The ocean is a 5-minute drive away, and that is the best pool in the world.
What makes you a leading sustainable / Eco-hotel:
Thank you for asking. We are applying for an international accreditation as an Eco-hotel. To learn more about our sustainability initiatives and goals, and progress towards them, please visit our page on sustainability.
Are you pet friendly:
If you plan on bringing your pet, please contact us to discuss arrangements before booking.
Can I meet your dogs:
Our dogs live away from the guest areas. They love to meet guests. We have a designated area in the field where we can arrange for you to spend a little time with them.
I don’t like dogs / I’m allergic to dogs:
That is OK. Our dogs do not come into the guest areas.
Do you have a baby / child / husband sitting service:
No. Further details to follow. Please note, for husband sitting you must come back and collect.
How do I book an experience:
For a full list of our events and to book, view our calendar here.
What is your smoking policy:
We have a strict no smoking or vaping policy for the comfort of all guests. This applies to staff and visitors. Please do not smoke or vape on the property or general vicinity. You will be asked to leave if you are found smoking.
Private / No-go areas:
Our chickens live in an enclosed space on the grounds. While they are free-range we do have fences to keep them in. ENTRY IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN unless accompanied by a member of staff.
Is your property organic:
Yes. All our gardens and grounds are 100% organic, pesticide and GMO free. Our chickens are free-range.
Is there a charge if we consume our own wine and snacks on the property:
Absolutely not. You are welcome to drink wine, eat snacks etc as you wish at no additional cost. You can even bring your own gin if you wish (you just have to share it with Ali.)
Are you party-poopers:
Yes. We have rules. No loud noise after 10pm. Please respect your fellow guests.
Are you vegetarian / vegan friendly:
Yes. We have an array of delicious vegan options. Please let us know in advance if you have any dietary requirements and we will do our best to meet them.
Are you LGBT friendly:
We are very friendly to everyone.
OUT AND ABOUT:
What restaurants are close by:
There are a number of restaurants in the area and you can read about them here.
Does Uber exist in the Azores:
No. Taxis are available around the island and English is spoken by the majority of drivers. You’ll have a card with the estate’s location details which you can keep handy.
How safe are the Azores:
The Azores have a very low crime rate compared to many other parts of the world. But, of course practice common sense and safeguard your valuables.
Do I need to bring cash:
No, the Azores has ATM machines where you can withdraw euros. Please note the closest ATM to the estate is a 5 minute drive. Taxis do not generally take credit cards. You will find most restaurants take credit cards, though a few will be cash only.
EXPERIENCES & THE GIN LIBRARY
I have heard about your gin library, can I visit:
We hold gin tasting events for non-guests and you are welcome to join one of these. Read more here.
Are children allowed in the gin library:
The Gin Library is a strictly 16+ area and no children are allowed in this building.
Do your experiences sell out:
Yes. Please book in advance for our in-house experiences. Guests have priority, but we cannot guarantee availability.
How do we book the outdoor cinema:
Please speak to a member of staff and we will check / confirm availability.
If you bring a bottle of craft gin that we do not have in the gin library, then the tasting for you and a guest is free. More details here.
The weather in the Azores changes frequently and it does rain. Almost all of our experiences can be enjoyed whatever the weather.
While we understand things can change we have a strict cancellation policy. If you fall outside of this the available window then refunds will not be given.
Are your experiences for large or small groups:
We like to keep our experiences small so that you get the best experience and we can offer the best service to you. We can host larger groups (above 8 people) just get in contact and we will arrange a suitable time for you.