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Reviewed 28 July 2018 via mobile

If you're after the 'old school' experience of staying in the most tranquil, relaxing and soperific of surroundings, attended upon by the politest and most attentive staffs imaginable, then look no further. The hotel itself is very well appointed, immaculately decorated ( though perhaps in a taste more accustomed to that your parents would appreciate) and adorned with wonderful British antiques . The sub-tropical grounds in which it stands are a delight in which to relax - cool, green, shady. For those of you who worship technology WiFI isn't the quickest but you're probably on holiday so let social media hang for a few days - if like my family you desperately need to guarantee to get online for faster data the service in and around reception and the pool is perfectly adequate and there's good local phone/data connectivity.
The pool is wonderful, attractive, beautifuly kept, very well serviced and massively underused ( many clients are of an age and inclination where the gym or water based exercise is declined in favour of a G&T and who's to argue with that?) That's not to say the clientele is fuddy-duddy. An army of staffs maintain grounds and facilities to perfection and do so in the background, all without disturbing your stay.

At the end of the pool there's a bar and terrace ( bar also does light snacks) with the most splendid views over Funchal. Ending the evening watching the stars and twinkling lights over a cooling drink should be compulsory for all guests. I note one recent review claimed the linen jacketed, silver tray service was uncalled for - not in my book (or an opinion shared by those whom we observed enjoying such delights most evenings.) It also isn't as expensive as claimed, clearly not as cheap as supping from a plastic glass at a seafront stall but priced slightly cheaper than most London pubs all, of course, for a far higher standard of service.

We stayed B&B and the breakfast each morning was freshly prepared, high quality and provided enough variety for all but the most picky of palates. Slight variation on a theme each day but always well presented and served in elegant surroundings. Waiting staffs attentive but not overly so, as the best service should be. We wished to eat out in the evening but I've no reason to suspect the menus weren't as well produced throughout the day as they were at breakfast. The a la carte restaurant housed in a separate building looked excellent, if somewhat expensive when compared to what else Funchal has to offer. Perhaps one to enjoy as an occasional treat. If looking to hang-out around the hotel but fancy a cheap snack for lunch try the concession in the nearby supermarket ! ( Yeah, that was my initial snobbish reaction but they do excellent wraps, salads and burgers and don't confuse with what might be found within an equivalent UK location.)
Hotel common areas include a well appointed sitting room (with library) and a snooker & games room ( great fun.)

If you're thinking of staying here the one thing you really must consider is location. In this respect the hotel's strength might also be considered it's weakness. Being slightly on the edge of town and high up it affords wonderful tranquility and stunning views, it's miles different from the hustle and bustle of the 'tourist' side of town. (Some reviews mention noise from a rifle range (sic) yet we heard nothing other than birdsong, the scuttling of lizards and the chirruping of cicadas.) The hotel may only be a 30 minute walk to town but it would be 3 times that coming uphill, assuming you were fit enough to challenge yourself. It's also not the easiest of routes (many road tunnels) so I'd suggest you rule out the possibility of walking. Whilst we had a car ( hotel has good parking, as replicated in downtown Funchal,) the hotel's location needn't be an issue. We observed the private, frequent mini-bus service into town, the regular local bus service ( a 3 minute walk) plus what looked to be numerous 'restaurant' pick-ups, all keeping guests in touch with downtown Funchal. Those booking tours et al appeared to be collected/returned from/to reception. There's a plethora of cheap and rapid taxis, so getting around shouldn't be major consideration. I personally think staying here as opposed to downtown was a major plus point in enhancing our holiday enjoyment, you get the best if both worlds.

To those reviews that say this isn't a 5 star establishment, well if you're a business traveller expecting interactive Apple TVs, Bose sound systems and basement nightclubs then you'd be right - there's the utterly souless CR7 on the marina for that. If however you remember when '5 star' was all about service, attentiveness and providing a level of comfort beyond that one normally enjoys then this certainly meets those criteria. I'd not hesitate to recommend this hotel to visitors to Madeira and hope one day to return.

Stayed: July 2018, travelled with family
17  Thank KipKNoh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2018

We returned from this hotel Yesterday after a 2 week B&B stay. We were very impressed by the hotel and it's very helpful staff. The hotel is set in beautiful gardens and is tastefully furnished and the rooms and beds are extremely comfortable.

However, it's only fair that I point out the faults that may or may not matter to the future traveller to this destination.
The staff are excellent. However, the staff at the "Pool Bar" are rather overdressed and serving your food and drinks on silver trays. (In our opinion, a little over the top in a pool bar and totally unnecessary) The food and drink at the pool bar was excellent, BUT seriously overpriced.

Omelette and Chips 14euros.
Prawn and Avocado starter 9.50euros
Small Beer (half pint) 3euros
Lime and Soda 7euros (3.50 for the cordial and 3.50 for the soda)
Average size cup coffee 3.50euros
25cl bottle of water 2.50euros
75cl bottle of water 3.95euros

That’s just a sample but most of the food and drink was just as expensive and although the portions were good it can make for an expensive holiday if on B&B basis as we were.
Those on Half Board mentioned to us that the 5 course meal served in the hotel dining room was at times too much food, and also a little hit and miss quality wise. It was thought that as the Half Board people were booking in advance, the food was possibly cooked in advance and therefore NOT as fresh as when you ordered food at the pool bar as this was freshly cooked so was of constant excellent quality. We felt that the "pool Bar" should be a little more cheap and cheerful. It is not necessary to serve everything on silver trays. The pool bar does serve the same food in the evenings, maybe THEN they can apply silver service.
There is an A La Carte restaurant and its in a different building, beautifully furnished, "VERY" silver service but people we spoke to who had tried this restaurant said it was a little "stuffy" with people speaking in hushed tones as it had little atmosphere. The food was very good apparently but the experience somewhat "staid" We gave it a miss.
The breakfast is comprehensive and varied. Well presented.
A little tip may be if you are on B&B basis, after breakfast, make up a bread roll or two with the continental fair. Cheese, ham and fruit are all available and may keep costs down on expensive lunches at the Pool Bar.

PLEASE NOTE....If you wish to take a little stroll out of the hotel, turn left, go up to the top of the road, turn left again and carry on walking up towards the large supermarket (which we would recommend you go to for your bottled water) and just before on the left there is a restaurant. This looks like it’s only a takeaway BUT IT'S NOT.
You go up a few steps to it and it has an ATM outside the door. Inside you will see a thriving takeaway business but if you walk through to the restaurant, you will find a very clean, very acceptable restaurant. The food is EXCELLENT AND PLENTIFUL. The prices are excellent. A very large EXPERTLY COOKED Fillet Steak with peppercorn sauce, enough salad for a family of 4 and enough fries for a family of 4 was 12.50euros. The steak was lean and I ate every last bit!! it was outstanding.
My Husband had 2 large freshly grilled Pork Steaks, enough vegetables for that same family of 4 and enough potatoes too. His main course was 9.50euros.
We both had a beautifully freshly made dessert, 2 large glasses of wine and 2 bottles of water and enough bread and cheese as we sat down, that we did not need a starter. The total bill was 37euros. Spotlessly clean, friendly and very popular with the local police. They eat there every evening, one evening, we were in the restaurant and no less than 9 police officers came in. It’s a nice place with a bit of atmosphere, buzz and great great food.

I had room service at the hotel several times as I was poorly in the 2nd week. The food was freshly cooked and tasty, but similar prices to the Pool Bar.
As the weather was hit and miss while we were there. There were cool times so we had soup on several occasions, which was excellent and homemade but SOUP??? on a summer holiday!!???

Sadly for us the weather was an issue, the heat was extremely humid and sometimes very difficult to bear. The Sun would break through the clouds and was strong and can burn even in the shade. The lush sub tropical gardens at the hotel I would say may be a concern for allergy sufferers. Be aware of this and take precautions, allergy medication, tissues, inhalers whatever you might need for a HIGH POLLEN situation.
MOSQUITOES
I was bitten on my foot after eating in the evening at the pool bar, However, even though we prepared for the little blighters by bringing plug in and sprays, we were never bothered. The bedrooms all have netting doors on the outside so you can have the balcony doors open at night without the local buzzie night life coming in to eat you!! The rooms have air con anyway so you can decide which way you want to stay cool while in bed.

WIFI AT THE HOTEL IS ABSOLUTELY USELESS. The connection keeps dropping and you have to sit near the window of your room to keep the signal working.

MAIN AND ADJACENT BUILDINGS.
If you are of limited mobility, then I suggest you ask for a room in the main building. The "Superior" rooms in the main building are the ONLY rooms serviced by a lift.
The adjacent buildings DO NOT have a lift and we were expected to lug our suitcases up flights of stairs to our room. We were assured that this was not usual and we called reception on the day of departure for someone to come and take our luggage down to reception and they very kindly obliged.
We had an issue with our room as we had requested a room in main building via JET2 holidays but it was not forthcoming. That’s an issue with JET2 and the hotel DID try to accommodate us as best they could, and we ended up with a room that although was up several flights of stairs was perfectly acceptable. Sadly there was building work on water pipes going on INSIDE our building while I was ill and confined to my room. The noise was going on right outside/underneath/through the wall from our room which caused me some distress. I was really too ill at the time to confront the hotel manager about it, but it WAS NOT acceptable.

MAJOR NOTE!!!
Everywhere you go in Madeira and especially at this hotel you will find yourself walking on the most amazing cobbled roads.
If you are used to British cobbled roads, you may see this as no issue at all.
These are NOTHING like the cobbled roads in Britain.
The very small pebble sized stones are apparently laid (we were told) one by one and on their side. They stick up from their concrete bed and if you happen to be wearing thin soled shoes you will find them quite uncomfortable to walk on. What I would say is if you are intending to take HIGH HEELS with you ladies....please be careful because we came across two ladies who were nursing injured ankles. They really can be lethal, and they are EVERYWHERE!!
PLEASE NOTE
Should you (like me) take poorly on holiday, you will be charged 150euros for a Doctor to come to you at the hotel. However, if you can make it down to the Medical Centre in town (near the Farmers market) you can see a Doctor and depending on whether you need medication, you will be charged a little less. I had one prescribed medication and I was charged 90euros. Very efficient, English speaking Doctor, I didn't wait long to see him. Very good but as my excess on travel insurance was £150 I had to weather the 90euros charge.
At one stage, the lovely young lady who comes in every day to replace your tea/coffee/milks etc happen to catch me being very sick in the bathroom and she offered to get me a doctor, and was so concerned, she rang reception to tell them about this and reception rang the pool bar and got the waiter to tell my Husband I was poorly so he could come and see I was alright. Everyone was very attentive and my special thanks go to that young lady (pretty blonde) for her concern and action.
Special thanks would have to go to Dinarte and his team in the Pool Bar, very friendly, attentive and couldn't do enough for you. Special mentions to Joanna and the other housekeeping staff who attended our room everyday and who were accommodating on days when we weren't quite ready for them. Pedro on reception for changing our room. Sonya for her cheerfulness and smiley face every day. The lovely chap who attends the pool all day, seeing to your every need, towels, moving beds, sorting and moving parasols for you and filling jacuzzi when you want it. He very kindly transported our luggage to reception on day of departure, nothing too much trouble for him.
HOWEVER I WOULD EMPLORE YOU TO STAND BY THE RULES OF THE POOL AND DO NOT USE AFTER 7PM. This lovely chap has to travel 40mins to and from his home to work and he is supposed to finish at 7.30pm. Some people were still sitting around the pool after 7pm. He has to stay till you go. Give him a thought.
The hotel is quiet and peaceful most of the time but I have to mention that there is an army rifle barracks nearby and you will regularly hear volleys of shots as you sunbathe by the pool. Not all the time but regularly.
There is also a Primary school next door to the hotel and there was a fair amount of noise from the children.
In summary, this hotel is absolutely beautiful and has a lot to recommend it, not least for its staff who are exceptional, but it is by no means perfect and at £1300 EACH for 2 weeks B&B it's not a cheap holiday.
With regards to Madeira, do the cable car ride and go on a tour because Funchal is rather like any other city, right down to having a Pizza hut and a McDonalds!! eeeuuuukkkk!!
Lots of walking and a lot of it uphill so take sensible footwear if you intend to get about!!

Room Tip: If reduced mobility, make sure you get a room in the main building as the other buildings DO NOT have lifts.
  • Stayed: July 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank BBBB090858
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2018 via mobile

We had a relaxing break at this quaint hotel and overall a very good experience. The management work hard to deliver and some of them seemed to be on duty 24/7. First night the aircon failed and we were allocated another room with offer for upgrade to a suite for rest of our stay but chose to stay in a different room of the same class. Room staff were overall excellent.

Has to be noted that this is rated 5 star by boutique standards. We had a deluxe room with balcony in the adjacent block to the main building. Rooms were clean and quiet at nighttime though occasionally during the day there was some noise from an army training area nearby and general gardening activity.

The pebble paths are a feature but some care needed for anyone not steady on their feet. There are 4 dining options if you include room service along with the pool bar, a la carte room (too quiet for us) and a 5 course set dinner lounge. Special requests were all met. Minor niggle that even though we were on B&B we had to pay for room service not just tray charge but also eggs and anything not on the set room service menu which would be free if we went to the breakfast room.

It is beautifully furnished with period furniture and ornaments. Several quiet areas for reading and the room above the pool bar was delightful. No iron in room so you have to pay for laundry service. We would go again as would now know exactly what to expect.

Stayed: July 2018, travelled as a couple
4  Thank Aviator2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2018

Just returned from a relaxing stay in lovely surroundings and beautiful views of Funchal. Staff are fantastic and very helpful. Room a good size and cleaned every day but maybe could do with a bit of updating but definitely of an era. Breakfast great but dinner was definitely not of the quality you would expect for five stars. Set five courses, which you could change if there was something you didn't like or swop for lunch in the bar. When staying at other five star establishments you usually get free water on your table but here you had to pay! Prices in the bar for both food and drink were not cheap so would suggest you go out of the hotel and up the road to the local shops were you will find things at a fraction of the cost. Was not busy with lots of sunbeds and empty swimming pool and oh so quiet.....Would probably stay again but only on a bed and breakfast basis.

  • Stayed: June 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Prawney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2018 via mobile

Went for a short break with my Mum. This hotel is a little gem! Staff are so welcoming and friendly. Always a sunbed around the pool. The man looking after the pool area was fabulous, he took soo much pride making sure everything was spot on. Pool bar staff super friendly and always happy to chat. The food at the pool bar was superb! Breakfast and evening meal were lovely .. the 5 courses often beat me! Gorgeous place to unwind .. Thank you all!

Stayed: June 2018, travelled with family
5  Thank milly14730
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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