Twenty years ago, Joaquim and Maria Helena Abreu bought some ruins on a modest plot of land near Ponta do Pargo, on the west coast of Madeira. They intended to use it as a country house with their two sons, André and Joaquim, but decided it was too special not to share. So they renovated the dilapidated houses and started experimenting – adding an infinity pool, a mini farm and a herb garden. It helped that André grew up and became an architect. The Hobbit Bar is perhaps his masterpiece – a fairytale space with a living roof that is blessed with luxurious interiors that a stylish cocktail bar would be proud of. Here, however, there is no bartender. Guests simply prepare their own drinks, point out what they consume and watch the sunset turn the sky from purple to orange through the circular door. In front, there is an inviting infinity pool, of which Maria Helena jokes that it was the first and most important installation. Elsewhere, six lodges – ranging from one-bedroom studios to a five-bedroom rustic stone house – form a kind of self-catering mini-holiday village. Breakfast is included on a do-it-yourself basis. Eggs, oranges, milk, cereals, jams and tea/coffee are already in the kitchen upon arrival. And fresh bread is hung on the door handle every morning in a cute checkered drawstring bag. All the rooms have different interiors, but they share the same language, let’s call it somewhere between a chic Madeiran country house and a New York warehouse. Floating stairs and concrete floors softened with patchwork rugs, wooden coffee tables, and framed photographs of past ruins. Wood-burning fireplaces add an extra level of coziness, and coffee machines, TVs, and good WiFi keep things practical. However, the most fascinating thing about this place is its connection to nature – ducks, levadas (watercourses) and endemic trees.