We booked this hotel through Hotel Club, and somewhere down the line our booking got messed up. Luckily I rang the hotel a week before we went to check that our booking was in place to find that they had us down for 1 night instead of 7! Not a problem they said, but I suspect because they thought we were "one-nighters" we were allocated a room (325 - very nice in itself) on the wrong side of the hotel, overlooking the road and a tyre depot, which was extremely noisy. As we spend quite a bit of time relaxing in our room, there was no way we could stay in that one for a week. I went to reception and asked if we could be moved and there was nowhere to move to the first night as they were full, but Lydia promised us a better room the next day. She wasn't kidding! We were upgraded to a sea view Suite (308 with a large separate lounge) on the same floor but at the front with a lovely little balcony overlooking the sea. It was extremely clean and comfortable with a nice bathroom, fridge and (locked) kitchenette. The only small niggle there was that there was a 5 euro a day charge for kitchen equipment. We always pack some plastic cutlery and we went around the corner to the Chinese Pound shop and bought some cheap plates and cups for a couple of euros. We eat at midday, so in the evenings we had our little balcony picnic and watched the sunset. Although there is a taxi rank and a roundabout right in front of the hotel, the traffic noise is minimal and non-existent at night, as it is the quiet end of the seafront. The decor is nice but a little dated, and the corridors are a little dark in places, but they are trying to save energy, so there are light switches that can be hit even with your hands full, and they come on for a while then go off again. All the staff are really friendly and helpful, with most speaking some English,and the receptionists always greet you when you return. The rooftop pool is not so much a swimming pool as a wetting pool, but the whole roof area has been done nicely for socialising with spectacular views, a games room for youngsters, and there is even a barbecue up there! Breakfast is a little hit and miss and not very exciting, but the muffins are good. On an island where fresh fruit is grown in abundance it is a little annoying to be served up tinned fruit! The coffee is awful, but there is hot water and milk available from the machine, so it is a good idea to get a jar from the supermarket and make your own. There is a "Pingu Doce" minimarket right in the ground floor of the hotel, very useful for fresh bread and fruit and a good range of groceries and drinks. At the other end of the town there is a larger "Modelo" supermarket selling a larger range of food and non-food items. It is worth a visit just to see the waterfall in the car park! Next to the hotel there is also a produce market selling fresh meat, fish, fruit and veg. All along the seafront there is a good selection of little shops selling souvenirs at prices much less than the larger tourist areas like Funchal. There is a Post Office in the churchyard, and several banks, plus a lovely little municipal park with peacocks and ducks. It really is a charming little place if you want a quieter stay, and only 40 minutes easy drive from the airport. There is no parking at the hotel, but there is a secure parking garage 50 yards up the road to the side of the hotel, next to the Municipal park. It is expensive to park inside, but you can park on the roof level for 20 euros a week with a validated ticket that gets you in and out day and night. The North Shore (Sao Vicente - try the revolving restaurant "Quembra Mar") is a 15 minute drive via the tunnel or you can go the pretty way through the mountains, which takes a bit longer but the views are spectacular. For great food, hot chocolate and conversation, try the excellent Restaurant Esplanada D. Luis, right on the seafront, with outside and inside seating. Vern and his staff with serve you up THE BEST beef skewers and fresh fish, and if you are feeling like a beef overdose, try the beef "chop"! They also have internet access available at a very reasonable 1 euro for 1 hour. Madeira is a lovely island, very scenic and unspoilt, with some interesting roads, especially along the North Shore! Would definitely recommend a hire car so that you can get to see as much as possible. In Santana, try the restaurant at the Hotel "O Colmo", where they also serve great beef skewers, grilled prawns and lovely puddings (try the "childhood memories"!). For a winter holiday destination Madeira is perfect, and cheap, and the people are friendly and welcoming.
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- Also Known As:
- Bravamar Hotel Ribeira Brava