Hotel Ponta Delgada
3* hotel, close to airport and city centre
We stayed at the 3* Hotel Ponta Delgada for 4 nights during our visit to Sao Miguel island in September 2014.
We booked our stay through www.expedia.co.uk and paid £330 per person for flights and accommodation. This price included return flights from the UK (Manchester to Lisbon with TAP Portugal and Lisbon to Ponta Delgada with SATA Internacional) and 4 nights in a twin room with breakfast included. The hotel alone would have cost around £55 per night, although we got a slight discount by booking it in conjunction with the flights.
We paid for our stay in full at the time of booking, about 3 months before our trip.
Hotel Ponta Delgada is located on the western edge of the city, close to the airport. We arrived at the hotel from the airport on the Aerobus (€5 per person return; 5 minute journey). The Aerobus drops you off and picks you up right outside the hotel.
Being so close to the airport, the hotel lies directly underneath the flight path. We did experience aircraft noise in our room, but not to the extent that it would deter us from staying there again.
From the hotel it is a 5 minute walk to the seafront fort of Forte de Sao Bras (which houses the city's Military Museum) and from there a further 5 minute walk to Portas da Cidade (City Gates) and the centre of the city.
There are shops and restaurants within a 5 minute walk of the hotel.
Our twin room (#305) was located on the hotel's 3rd floor, at the back of the hotel, with a balcony looking out over the rooftops towards the airport.
We had two single beds pushed together. The mattresses were a little too firm for my liking, but we slept well nevertheless.
The wardrobe was a decent size, with enough space for 2 people's clothing for 4 days. It also contained plenty of shelf space and housed an ample supply of extra bedding (sheets, blankets and pillows).
A safe deposit box was located inside the wardrobe. It wasn't particularly large (just about big enough to squeeze my netbook into) and there was a charge to use it (€1.50 per day plus a €10 deposit). We chose not to use it.
Apart from the wardrobe, there wasn't much in the way of storage space. The bedside cabinets (one on either side of the bed) didn't have any drawers in them. There was a solitary drawer in a unit on which the TV stood.
The room had air-conditioning, but we didn't need to use it very often in September. It only worked when we were in the room (the power supply was only turned on when the room key was inserted into a slot), so we couldn't leave it on to cool the room during the day. The room tended to be a bit stuffy in an evening, so we would use the air-con to cool it down before going to bed.
The room contained a fairly small flat screen TV. It picked up around 30 channels, including BBC News and other European satellite channels.
Free wi-fi was available throughout the hotel (password provided by reception). It wasn't a particularly fast connection, and it did drop occasionally, but it was fine for our purposes (checking emails and a bit of web browsing for about an hour each evening). The connection was generally fine in our room, but we did see others using their laptops/tablets while sitting in armchairs on the corridor where they were perhaps getting a better connection.
There were plenty of electric sockets located throughout the room where we were able to recharge batteries and devices overnight.
The small balcony contained a couple of plastic chairs and a table.
The en-suite bathroom was modern and spotlessly clean. It had lights which were on sensors (as soon as you opened the door the bathroom lit up with spotlights). The lights stayed on for a few minutes and then went off unless movement was detected. The sensors clearly weren't above the shower as the lights would go off every few minutes whilst in the shower! This wasn't a big problem – we'd simply pull back the shower curtain and wave our arms to trigger the sensor.
The shower took the form of an attachment to the taps in the bathtub. It was reasonably powerful (powerful enough for Emma to wash her hair, which is how I've come to judge the effectiveness of hotel showers!) and we always had hot water when required.
Fresh towels (2 large, 2 small and a floor towel) were replenished each day and a hairdryer was provided. There was a liquid soap dispenser above the washbasin and a shower gel dispenser on the wall next to the bathtub.
A breakfast buffet was served in the ground floor dining room from 7:30am until 10:30am (and until 11:00am at weekends). The hours seem to be flexible and the buffet can be opened early if you have an early start. On our final day, we were picked up for the airport at 6:40am. We informed reception and they were happy to open the buffet at 6:15am for us.
The choice of food, albeit largely the same each day, was fairly extensive. There were two choices of cereal (cornflakes and branflakes), two types of yoghurt (natural and strawberry), cold cuts of ham, chorizo and cheese, a selection of breadrolls and sliced bread, cakes, pastries, honey and jams, fresh fruit and fruit salad. Cooked items included mini sausages or bacon (one or the other on alternating days), scrambled eggs and baked beans.
There were two types of fruit juice available (orange and tropical), a machine which prepared several types of coffee (espresso, cappucino, latte...) and hot chocolate, and a selection of tea bags.
There are a variety of leisure facilities on the hotel's 1st floor.
The swimming pool (just about large enough to swim lengths) is open daily from 9:00am until 9:00pm, as is the adjacent jacuzzi. There is a small sun terrace, through a set of patio doors, at one end of the pool. There is a €10 deposit to hire pool towels from reception; the deposit is immediately refunded upon returning the towels to the reception desk.
On the same floor, accessed via the male and female changing rooms, are the Turkish Bath (steam room) and sauna, although these are only open between 5:00pm and 8:00pm. Each is large enough to accommodate about four people at a time. The facilities were never very busy while we were there.
Completing the leisure facilities is a small gymnasium area with a variety of exercise bikes, running machines and cross trainers.
The hotel offers 8 car parking spaces, in marked bays, on the road immediately outside the front of the hotel. I believe the parking spaces are free to guests. There are a similar number of metered car parking spaces on the opposite side of the same street. We noticed parking attendants operating in the area ensuring that payment had been made where required.
All of the staff that we encountered during our stay were friendly, helpful and spoke English very well. When we were looking to book a couple of excursions with UTC Azores Tours (the tourist office couldn't book them on our behalf), the lady on reception kindly phoned the booking office and made our bookings for us.
The hotel has an adjacent restaurant, "O Baco", and a lounge bar, "Portas da Cidade". We didn't make use of either, but saw advertisements in the hotel's lifts for the restaurant's special menu offers (skewers of meat and seafood for around €13).
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at Hotel Ponta Delgada. The location was ideal – just a 5 minute drive from the airport and a 10 minute walk from the city centre. The occasional aircraft noise did not disturb our sleep. Our room was clean and comfortable and contained everything that we needed for a short stay. We made use of the swimming pool, sauna and steam room and enjoyed a hearty breakfast buffet each morning. We would happily stay at this hotel again and would recommend it to others.
Directions: Located on the western edge of Ponta Delgada, a 5 minute drive from the airport and a 10 minute walk from the city centre.
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