A Hotel with a Concept that is based on its Sugar Cane and Honey Production heritage tells us its Story!
This Hotel Story is about Savoy Saccharum Resort & Spa, which is located in the picturesque coastal town of Calheta in the west of Madeira, Portugal. The concept of the complex revolves around the sugar cane and honey production heritage it carries, so we contacted Graça Guimarães, General Manager at Savoy, and asked about the unique characteristics of the resort.
What is your role in Savoy Saccharum and what characterizes you as a professional?
I´m the General Manager of the Savoy Hotels & Resorts, of which the Savoy Saccharum is part of. I consider myself a dedicated and responsible professional, positive person and passionate about my job and my country.
How long has Savoy Saccharum been a hotel?
The Savoy Saccharum was inaugurated in April 2015.
How was your hotel’s concept born?
Savoy Saccharum Resort & Spa is built on the same site where once a honey-production factory and a mill for the manufacture of sugar cane rum existed. Today, at this area, stands our resort that proudly pays homage to this cultural heritage.
Hence, its architecture and interior is a tribute to the cultural history of sugar cane, honey production and sugar cane rum, all important products to the economy of the Island.
How is the sugar cane culture concept represented design-wise?
In allusion to the concept, the interior of the hotel is in brown brick with stained concrete floors in honey-coloured marks. Throughout the hotel, giant photographs showcase the process of planting, harvesting and production of sugar cane and honey. Everything has been thought through to the smallest detail. The guest rooms are stylishly decorated in sugar cane hues and dry green tones, harmoniously balanced with the wooden finishes, creating the ultimate comfort to a minimalist and refined interior design.
Who is the mastermind behind the interior design?
The Savoy Saccharum has the signature of the internationally renowned and talented interior designer from Madeira, Nini Andrade Silva, who ventured into a modern décor of luxury and excellence, inspired by the main element mentioned previously, the traditional sugar cane plants.
Apart from the interior design, where else is the sugar cane heritage attributed?
It is attributed to the names of the different bars, restaurants and other facilities, such as Rhum Bar, Trapiche Bar, Alambique Restaurant, Engenho Restaurant, which are all representative designations of the sugar cane culture.
Moreover, renowned international high quality brands have been selected for all spa treatments and also complement the main theme, the sugar cane.
If you could suggest one treatment to try out today, which one would it be?
Definitely the fabulous “couples connect”– a shakra healing treatment, in which the pouring of warm oils over the third eye encourages a beautiful union of body, mind and soul.
An achievement of the resort you are proud of?
Many! The Savoy Saccharum has already achieved international recognition. In 2015 it was nominated for the award of the best European Interior Design in the category of ‘Spa, Health & Leisure Facilities’ by the European Hotel Design Awards, organized by SLEEPER, UK’s leading magazine for global hotel design. Most recently, it was attributed The World Luxury Hotel Awards 2016, in the Luxury Spa Hotel category of Portugal.
Does your hotel provide experiences that guests cannot easily live elsewhere?
At the Savoy Saccharum, we offer a range of attractive holiday experiences, of which we highlight the following: a tour of the Hotel during which the fascinating local history of sugar cane and its close relationship with the hotel is revealed; a guided tour to the kitchens, where guests will sense the adrenaline rush of the day-to-day running of a kitchen where hundreds of fine dining meals are prepared; a romantic experience where guests can enjoy a tête-à-tête private gourmet dinner in a privileged and unique sunset location in the hotel, accompanied by exclusive musical moments whilst enjoying the stunning ocean views.
For those who enjoy walking and nature, Calheta has the best foot paths and unique Levada trails to be found in Madeira, where one can appreciate the flora and fauna in the protected area of the pre-glacier forest of Laurissilva, classified in 1999 by UNESCO as a Worlds Heritage Site. These outdoor experiences are further enhanced by superb breathtaking landscapes.
Best time to visit Savoy Saccharum?
During either of the two cultural annual events that are unique to this location, the Sugar Route in April and the São João (St. John’s) Festivities in June.
During the Sugar Route event a set of cultural activities are organised giving special emphasis to the sugar cane theme; exhibitions, conferences, guided tours, workshops, show cooking, musical performance and an ethnographic procession are some of the ingredients that offer visitors a typical local experience.
The São João Festival is one of the most popular events in Calheta, where hundreds of local people in costumes participate in the traditional Marchas, a colourful allegoric parade. Guests are also invited to join in the Marchas, providing another unique and memorable holiday experience.