We heard about Casa Azimute through friends. Nobody had the pleasure to stay there so far, as it is only opening this July 2017. We hope to be able to visit Andy and Danny soon! Meanwhile, curiosity brought us to talk to them about their B&B in Estremoz and we have a little sneak peek of the house's architecture and interior. We are looking forward to seeing the first visitor's pictures!
Danny and Andy, tell us a bit about yourself and how you came up with the idea of opening a B&B in Estremoz, Alentejo?
Danny and I met 10 years ago and since then we're a couple. We got married in Belgium four years ago. Back in Belgium, Danny worked as an independent insurance broker and I was worked as a nurse in a hospital near Antwerp. I traveled my first time to Portugal in 1995 with my mother and my brother. I was only 16 years old but felt immediately in love with the country. Since then, I'm dreaming of living in Portugal and opening a Bed & Breakfast. It took me 8 years to convince Danny to take this big step with me.
Why Estremoz, Alentejo?
When we decided to buy a property in Portugal, we first visited Portugal from north to south. Alentejo was the last region we visited. We fell in love with the beautiful small city of Estremoz and bought a property with no electricity and no water. After 40 years of being abandoned, the ancient farm looked like a jungle but with a great view overlooking Estremoz. So we ended buying a jungle in Alentejo, much bigger than we ever thought but with lots of potential. We love the beauty, traditions, space and freedom you find in Alentejo.
What do your offer to your visitors?
Casa Azimute wants you to feel at home. We offer 4 bedrooms and 2 suites. Our size makes it possible to offer you a personal service. We are different in the way of being a very contemporary B&B. All our rooms have big windows overlooking the beautiful environment. We have one room that ca be used by disabled persons. All the bathrooms walls are decorated with traditional 'mosaic tiles'. This gives a warm touch to the contemporary house. In our living room you'll find a beautiful shop with local and Belgium products. We have further a conference room and massage room overlooking Estremoz. Our property 'Monte dos Santos' is an active farm and our guests can take a walk and discover the pure, untouched nature and its history.
Breakfast is included in the service and during the day our guests can enjoy a refreshing drink or delicious tapas at the pool. We have bikes for rent and work closely with local guides, wineries and restaurants to offer our guests a special experience at our house and in the wonderful Portuguese region Alentejo.
Why the name 'Azimute'?
For so many good reasons! First of all 'azimute' comes from the Arab and means 'road', 'direction' or 'point on the horizon'. A perfect name for our house, being located in Alentejo, a region with an Arab history. Furthermore, our house is located on a hilltop and in a line between two castles (Evoramonte and Estremoz). so we're a 'point in the horizon' overlooking others. On the other side Alentejo is known for the clear nights with lots of stars (Alqueva dark sky reserve) and 'azimute' is used in astronomy. Casa Azimute will have two suites and one room with an outdoor bed, so our guests can sleep outside overlooking the wonderful stars of Alentejo's sky. Romantic, isn't it?
What is the story behind Casa Azimute? Who was your architect and interior designer?
Casa Azimute is a brand new building, very contemporary but with respect for the history. We renovated the old farm (Monte) and it will be used as a carport and pick-nick place. We decorated the new house with many authentic and traditional handcraft that we've found here in Alentejo. The mosaic tiles are made in a small factory (Artevida) in Fronteira in a traditional way and we decorated the house with the local 'mantas e tapetes' from Monsaraz (Mizette) made in an authentic factory in Monsaraz. Our breakfast and tapas are served on local pottery from São Pedro do Corval (Olaria Paladim). We adore to bring old traditions into our modern house. We want to be different but with high respect for the local culture which we really appreciate.
We worked together with an architect from Estremoz, João Calvino from Arquitecturar. We met thanks to our real estate agent. João Calvino understood perfectly what we wanted and made a great design for Casa Azimute. We are very thankful to have met him. He also introduced us to many local people, products and materials. Besides that he did a great job supervising the constructions when we were in Belgium. We did the interior design.
Please describe the character of Portuguese culture in three words?
Hospitality, authenticity and 'bon vivant'.
Pictures © Casa Azimute
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