Quinta do Bom Despacho can be translated to “Farm of Good Dispatch” and is a name dating back to the 17th century. It comes from an ancestor of the current owners who was the first to live at the property: Gaspar Dias and his family.

Back then, the Holy Inquisition persecuted, amongst others, all of those suspected to be of Jewish descent. Gaspar Dias and his family were repeatedly accused of being of Jewish lineage. Such suspicion led them to be considered New Christians, a label that posed many barriers to the family’s integration in the Azorean society.

To be freed from the Inquisitors, one would need testimonies certifying one’s “clean blood”. This would lead to a royal letter issued in favour of the family. Relentlessly having sought after such freedom, Gaspar Dias pledged to erect “Eremida do Bom Despacho”; literally the Chapel of Good Dispatch, meaning the royal seal of approval. After (at least) 13 royal decrees from King D. Filipe I and D. João IV spaning for over a century, Gaspar’s pledge was fulfilled and the chapel was built.

Unfortunately, the chapel was destroyed in the mid-19th century but, because of the family and its story, the name became widely known. To this day, “Bom Despacho” is used to address the house and the estate. Although it remained in the same family, Quinta do Bom Despacho was uninhabited from the mid-18th century to the early 1980s.

António Borges Coutinho, 2nd grandson of the II Marquês da Praia e Monforte, had inherited Quinta do Bom Despacho. He decided to restore it after the family home in the city centre was bought by the Azores Regional Government. The restoration took place between 1981 and 1984, overseen by himself and his two sons, António and Francisco, who had recently returned from military service in Angola and Mozambique.

In the spring of 1984 Quinta do Bom Despacho was ready to be inhabited again.  Francisco, his wife and two daughters were the first to ever sleep in the newly renovated Quinta do Bom Despacho. Soon after him, his brother António and his family joined in the west wing, and their father spent the first Summer in the garden-level house – the ground floor of the property which he shared with his wife Conceição and their daughters who lived in the mainland. Soon enough the property was a summer paradise for an army of grandchildrens, uncles, cousins, summer lunches and long family afternoons and evenings.

Fast forward to 2014, Joana and Susana, two of the twelve grand daughters of António Borges Coutinho kick-started a new cycle for the estate and the family. A sustainability-focused project to convert the property into an Eco Lodge was born. In the Summer Solstice of  2015, Quinta do Bom Despacho opened its doors to the public  and received its first guests.

Nowadays, Quinta do Bom Despacho proudly shares the story of the family, the property and the business. We will continue to build the feeling of community and intimacy which, time after time, has defined this place and those who’ve come across it.

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