A 14-Year Journey to the Azores.
The Solar Branco Eco Estate is owned and operated by Ali & Caroline, who first came to the Azores in 2006 on honeymoon. In his former life, Ali worked for the World Wildlife Fund as well as Red Bull in Formula One. He has spoken at Davos about social media and dyslexia (read more on Forbes). Caroline was a member of the British Diplomatic Service for almost 2 decades. Now, she is the only Shinrin Yoku guide here in the Azores, facilitating connection with the natural beauty of the island of Sao Miguel.
“We wanted to capture the beauty of nature in a hotel and commit to safeguarding it as best we can. The Solar Branco Eco-Estate is more than a luxury hotel – it’s a philosophy and a platform to lead the change towards sustainability here in the Azores.”
We settled on the island of Sao Miguel in 2017 and started our search. In March of 2018 we came to look at several properties we had seen online and to look into the opportunities that the island might offer. The Solar Branco Eco Estate, then simply known as the Solar, was on our list to look at. Over the course of the next few days, we scouted a number of properties. None of them were what we wanted. The property we had in mind needed to be in Ponta Delgada or walkable from the city from a location point of view. Aside from that, we both wanted a view and something that was surrounded by green. This would be a place to encourage a healthy mind and body, the whole point of moving from the hussle and bussle of Hong Kong.
We came across the estate on a sunny day. We were both immediately taken with the house. For Caz it was the history and views. For Ali, the fact that it had a library, which would be turned into the Gin Library. The estate was overrun and neglected. 100 years after its construction as a home, it was time to look forward to the next 100 years. Time for new owners and a new start.