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150 YEARS OF HISTORY. THE RESTORATION OF THE SOLAR BRANCO ESTATE

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We are delighted to offer a guided tour of the estate and gardens to guests staying with us at The Estate

The Gin Library

2019 – THE GIN LIBRARY

THE FIRST CHAPTER OF THE SOLAR BRANCO ECO ESTATE RESTORATION

Originally stables for the horses in the pre-car era, The Gin Library is a life long passion of all things juniper, created by co-owner of the estate Ali Bullock. The Gin Library is Europe’s largest gin collection, with over 900 bottles on display. 56 countries are represented from all around the world. Many have been brought to the estate by guests keen to share their own towns and cities creations, adding to The Gin Library and community.

NOW OPEN

Where we started

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And now

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2021 – THE COW SHED

BUILT ADJACENT TO THE ESTATE AND HOTEL

While not part of the hotel build or project, our house was built adjacent to the grounds of the estate. Designed to be a home as well as a showcase of what we wanted to do with the buildings and how they could look and function once completed.

We were able to move into the house in the summer of 2021. This building continues to showcase what can be done by us, our architects and builders here in the Azores.

 

Where we started

Empty field
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And now

Our house
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Our house
Senhor raposas Secret Drinking Den

2022 – SENHOR RAPOSAS SECRET DRINKING DEN

OUR SPEAKEASY (AND FIRST HIDDEN BAR IN THE AZORES)

Originally designed to be accommodation. We decided to turn this into a secret bar, thanks in part to the success of The Gin Library and the many people who wanted to visit us.

With this in mind, a more exclusive space was dreamt up based on the legend of Senhor Raposa. A hidden door was created in the main area, leading guests back to 1860 as they walk past momentos of the legend of Senhor Raposa into his secret drinking den.

FIND OUT MORE

Where we started

Back door to cottage
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Cottage interior

And now

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Door handle to Senhor Raposa
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2022 – THE RUIN

CRUMBLING WALLS BECOME A LUXURY HIDEAWAY

It was first hard to imagine that there was a usable building behind all the plants and weeds that had grown up around and over the building. A tree had sprouted through what remained of the structure, and gave us the inspiration for the indoor garden of the house.

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Where we started

The Ruin
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And now

Ruin
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The new Ruin
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2023 – THE SOLAR

THE HEART OF THE ESTATE

It cannot be understated how much this house is the heart of the project. Built over 100 years ago, this building is the centre of the estate. With 3 luxury bedrooms, and a separate studio apartment upstairs, and a spacious dining area on the ground floor, making the most of the panoramic views over the green hills of São Miguel to the ocean beyond.

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Where we started

Solar Branco Eco Estate
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And now

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2023 – THE BARN & PIG STYES

LUXURY AND SUSTAINABILITY 

The 3 buildings (originally 1 farmer’s cottage and 2 pig styes) were hidden from view when the property fell into disuse. The area became overgrown and disused, mainly gaining trash from the surrounding areas. These forgotten treasures are now being reborn as 3 apartments.

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Where we started

The Pig Styes
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Coming soon

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2023 – THE GIN WAGON

DRINKS ON THE GO 

We have taken an old, unloved, but very beautiful 1960’s VW bus and given it a new lease of life. The Gin Wagon will travel around the island of São Miguel serving our Azores inspired family of drinks.

MORE

Where we started

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FIND THE BUS

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2025 – THE GARDENS

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE. AND HELPING THE BEES.

The restoration of the estate is just one part of a larger project, with sustainability at its heart. The gardens were unloved and overgrown. Work on clearing and restoring started in 2019. Fruit trees were rediscovered and new ones placed onto the grounds to show how the estate would have looked in the 1800s.

Key work on the full gardens will not be finished until 2025 at the earliest, and the project will be constantly ongoing.

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Where we started

Old garden
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And now

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Entrance to The Estate
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