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Chalet da Tia Mercês

A drawing of Chalet da Tia Merces
Chalet da Tia Mercês

The company's headquarters and main venue for our guests are located in the heart of the parish of Furnas, next to the Caldeiras, on the banks of Ribeira Amarela. The building itself was built in the 19th century by José Maria Raposo de Amaral as a thermal bath house. Today, the private patio offers our guests a stunning location to sit and eat and drink with the beautiful verdant crater walls in the distance and the hot springs bubbling just behind the Chalet.

The building is known as Chalet da Tia Mercês, a name given by the locals and adopted by the first company that used the property commercially at the beginning of this century. We have kept the name of the building in tune with our mission and love of local culture and heritage but also for the memory of Tia Mercês who was responsible for the preparation of thermal baths in the building. Indeed, inside you will see the two huge marble bath tubs that are original and must have been shipped from mainland Portugal. The water used was from Caldeira do Asmodeu whose steam you can see rising over the river from the patio. The water was piped into the tank at the back of the Chalet and allowed to cool overnight. In the morning, a mixture of fresh hot water from the spring and the cooled water was used to get the temperature just right. Unfortunately it seems that the pipe connecting the Chalet to the spring was broken in a landslide many years ago and was never reconnected and thus, the building fell into disuse as a bath house before being reopened for commercial activity some 20 years ago.

The Chalet has two front doors and two bath tubs and originally there would have been a wall separating the two in the middle. This is because, when it was built, there was a provision that a private bath house must also be open to the public at least at times and the wall separated the owners from the public. This is a pioneering example of public resource management of geothermal resources which is something that we also hold close to our hearts and we hope that we are able to do justice to the original values upon which the building was built. We also hope that by keeping many of the traditions of geothermal cooking, original recipes and using local produce alive, that our ancestors would be proud of their legacy and we hope that this will continue for generations to come to enjoy all aspects of this unique culinary and cultural heritage and history. With our background in science and education we are very happy to discuss opportunities for educational visits as well.

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