"Why have 22-karat gold chandeliers and gilded walls, when you can delight your eyes to our precious lava stone, provided by the very same volcanoes that created the Azores."
MINUVIDA AZORES is not a business model. It's rather a mission-driven business. While we see the tourism industry trying to monetize "experiences" "authentic" "sustainable" – the biggest question is whether they believe any of it or are simply trying to sell more rooms with old gimmicks. We walk the line.
It's refreshing to see that our philosophy permeates our team. We tasked our guest manager, friendly local expert Luís, to study the premium travel industry and he found a single focus on indulgence. Why do we need seven-star hotels anyway? What about what really matters?
In Luís' words:
The Azores has given us infinite fortune. If we maintain it our future will be as green and healthy as it has always been. In reviewing luxury hotels and how they describe themselves, what sets us apart is that we are authentic. People do not leave minuvida with an illusion, but a reality – memories they will never forget.
Yoga and meditation are the most important tools for self-awareness and reflection, softening our own inner criticisms and expanding our world – a belief that carried me across the Atlantic to start minuvida.
At minuvida, we base our experience package around the idea of connecting guests to food, hiking and yoga. Many guests attended their first yoga class here. As my Portuguese started to improve I slowly grew a local community of yoga students. Classes evolved into a mix of locals and visitors, a mix of English and sometimes comical Portuguese.
Our post-practice herbal tea gives students an opportunity to engage in conversation. Locals enjoy hearing how much visitors love their island. Visitors enjoy getting to know locals, what they do, about the island, and even get some insider tips.
I hosted a sunset series in summer, selecting a different beach or viewpoint every week to host a class. Post-class conversations sometimes led to impromptu dinners. Those are some of the most memorable nights for me.
Isn’t that what travel is all about? Those experiences that lead to a new friend? Gaining a different perspective? Learning how to say a few words in a new language? Communicating beyond words?
These are the experiences that foster self-discovery.
During yoga we breathe deeply. We work to feel our breath in various parts of our body, becoming aware of the present moment – as well as the connection between breath, body, and mind. Through this awareness, we appreciate even more the abundant nature that surrounds us on this magical island. We smell more. We feel more. We smile more. And then hopefully we bring that awareness home with us. We stay more connected to ourselves and our world, day to day.
I am leading a yoga + mindfulness retreat coming up this April Join me and Discover + Feel the Azores.
The bounty of the sea and the gifts of the land, enhanced by freshness, make for a rich and varied local cuisine – not to mention the endless variety of fruit and decadent sweets.
It's the perfect time for cactus pears. We packed our blow torch and tongs and got on our way.