Roça Sundy
 
 
 
 
Exterior - by Scott Ramsay  
Room in the Cacao House  
Yard room in the Eclipse House  
Reception and lobby at Eclipse House  
Room in the Eclipse House  
I'm enquiring about: Roça Sundy

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I'm enquiring about: Roça Sundy

Roça Sundy

Príncipe Island, São Tomé & Príncipe

This former plantation complex dates back to the start of the 20th century, when it was a splendid establishment in the heart of one of the largest cacao plantations on the islands. It has been lovingly restored by local builders using mostly recycled materials.

The restaurant has a beautifully preserved veranda from where there are panoramic views. Locally- sourced and organical ingredients are used for meals.

There are two separate houses, Colonial House with 6 rooms, and Plantation House, which has 9 rooms. The rooms are immaculate, with air-conditioning, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV. 

About 90% of the staff are locally recruited and speak only some English. The property has been described as a 'fascinating social experiment': the staff live in old labourers' huts repurposed as homes for them; guests are able to interact with the staff as much - or as little - as desired. (Having a smattering of Portuguese is helpful).  

The site is about 15km from Principe airport, along a rough track. Its about 20-30 minutes walk to the sister property Sundy Praia, which has a beach that guests are welcome to relax on. (Transfers can be arranged to/from the Sundy Praia beach at 10 euro per way).

Please note that there are no single rooms. 

Activities on offer here include birdwatching walks, cookery courses, massages and yoga.

Accommodation Reviews

Broadly speaking we greatly enjoyed our trip and are most grateful to you for putting it all together and for your support whilst we were away. The two islands (and perhaps Principe particularly) reminded us of the West Indies where we honeymooned in 1965.

My understanding of the organisations behind our destination is that the Sundy Estate is financed basically as a philanthropic endeavour by Mark Shuttleworth, with the aim that it should be run on green sustainable lines, working with the environment. This appears to focus heavily at present on cocoa, coffee, tropical fruits, and of course tourism, with HBD Hotels (not sure of ownership of them) providing the heavy lift for this purpose.

Our appraisal of the hotels where we stayed; Omali Lodge – very expensive compared with the other two and frankly with pokey badly designed accommodation (no chair in double bedroom, one very small drawer, two miniscule shelves, two large bedside tables incorporating no storage space), menus only accessible by app which we did not attempt – there was a board in a completely different location. Doubtless these shortcomings are explained at least in part by the fact that it is better established and that it is located in the main island and does not have to try so hard to bring in custom.

Roca Sundy In one of the handsome buildings abandoned by the Portuguese in 1974, now restored but still a work in progress (a swimming pool is planned), much more spacious , with staff much more on the ball, and providing a good location from which to tour;  Sundy Praia – best of the three with accommodation to knock spots off most competitors and very friendly and helpful staff – but rather isolated for touring.

Sao Tome: obviously more to do, being much the larger of the two islands and I don’t think we exhausted the options. Roads very varied, some pretty good, others just the opposite.

Principe. Much less developed and perhaps because of this it seemed to be more scenic. Roads frightful – virtually all transport is in 4 x 4’s. It needs to be!

Both hotels on Principe were rather lacking in DIY alternative activities (slightly to our surprise very little use seemed to be made by hotel guests of the beach). It occurred to us that both locations might benefit from the setting up of one or two self-guided local nature trails suitable for pedestrians and which could have relevant explanatory signs en route.

We would not want to give you a negative impression. However we are trying to report accurately and whilst our overall sentiment was very favourable, there were glitches which it is clearly important that we should mention.

Another positive,  we were helped by some charming guides who did all they could to improve our experience, and the same goes for the staff, again perhaps especially in Principe and at Sundy Praia.  Very attractive special events were laid on particularly by the Praia catering staff.

I hope this is helpful. We enjoyed our trip. 

 

Mr and Mrs Hunt
March 3, 2022

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Holiday ideas Roça Sundy is featured in

Discover Sao Tome & Principe
From £3795
This wonderful sample itinerary enables visitors to enjoy the far-flung tropical islands of Sao Tome and Principe, to the maximum.Start off with a night in Omali Lodge on Sao Tome, after which you fly to Principe for 7 nights. During this time, you will be based at the atmospheric Roca Sundy and...
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