A touch of luxury in Funchal, Madeira
With Madeira now accepting UK tourists (albeit with certain testing criteria both on arrival and departure), we thought we would introduce you to some lovely 5-star hotels. Located in the capital of Madeira – Funchal – all of the...
With Madeira now accepting UK tourists (albeit with certain testing criteria both on arrival and departure), we thought we would introduce you to some lovely 5-star hotels. Located in the capital of Madeira – Funchal – all of the hotels shown have a TripAdvisor rating of at least 4.5 out of 5. In fact, several of the hotels have won awards, or are members of Leading Hotels of the World.
Where is Madeira?
Madeira is located in the Atlantic Ocean, north of The Canary Islands, and southwest of Portugal. The island has a sub-tropical climate and is well known for its mountainous, lush landscape and for its crystal clear seas. Funchal is the island’s capital and is an historic town with pretty gardens and quaint streets. Enjoy eating at one of its many restaurants, or sip a drink outside a stylish bar before you meander the shops, and discover hidden treasures around the marina.
In the town you will find a lido complex that’s very popular with families. The island is famous for its Flower Festival that takes place here for two weeks just after Easter. This is a popular time for tourists to visit the island, so you will need to book early if you have a particular hotel in mind.
The hotels listed below are just some of the luxury hotels available in Funchal. Please remember that some facilities may not be operational (such a gyms, beauty treatments) due to Covid restrictions still being in place (albeit reduced). If any facility is of paramount importance to your holiday, then please make sure you check before booking. However, bear in mind that in the current circumstances the situation can change at any time.
Some facilities at hotels will carry a supplementary charge such as for watersports and spa facilities. They may also be age restrictions in space, such as entry to spa and to certain restaurants.
If venturing into the main resort centre to eat at a restaurant makes you feel anxious, you may prefer to remain within the hotel. We would therefore recommend in this case that you book on a half board basis so you will have your breakfast and evening meal at the hotel. You can always obtain a snack at the hotel for lunch, and drinks will always be available to guests throughout the day and evening.
Belmond Reid’s Palace
As you can see, the hotel is located cliffside with direct views over the sea. It’s just 2km from Funchal’s centre, to which the hotel provides a complimentary bus service.
You’ll have an ideal opportunity to unwind as you wander around the sub-tropical gardens, or simply relaxing on one of the various sunbathing terraces. There are 3 outdoor pools (2 of which are saltwater). You won’t need to pack any towels, as the hotel provides complimentary towels for the pool area.
The hotel also has an air-conditioned gymnasium, sauna and steam room, and Turkish bath. You can also take part in tennis lessons with the hotel’s tennis professional. There’s also aerobics, pool table, aqua aerobics, pilates, table tennis, and much more. Beauty treatments are also available to guests.
In the evening you can enjoy the hotel’s cuisine either at the Michelin Star restaurant, or one of the other 3 a la carte dining experiences. You can also enjoy the daily evening entertainment programme which includes live music.
There are 158 rooms at the hotel, and you can choose from garden view rooms, or the more popular sea view rooms. You can stay here on either a bed and breakfast, or half board basis.
Pestana Grand Premium Ocean Resort
This 5-star hotel is slightly further out of the centre of Funchal, being 3km away. However, there is a shuttle bus running guests into the resort centre. The hotel has direct access to the promenade and there is a pebble beach 2km away.
If you prefer to stay at the hotel, there are 2 outdoor pools including a children’s pool. The hotel does provide complimentary pool towels. There is ample room for guests poolside, and around the gardens.
There are rooms (177 in total) with different views. Inland, side sea, and full sea views. The sea views will be uninterrupted due to the hotel’s elevated located on the cliffs.
You will be able to stay at the hotel on either a bed and breakfast, or half board basis. There are 3 a la carte restaurants as well as another serving buffet-style meals.
There is an air-conditioned gym, sauna, steam room, Turkish bath, and whirlpool for hotel guests. Treatments including beauty and massage.
During the evening, the hotel has regular entertainment, including live music and shows. Why not enjoy a cocktail after dinner in the hotel’s Coast Bar, and then enjoy a show.
Quinta da Bela Vista
This charming 5-star hotel is 3km from the centre of Funchal, but the hotel does provide a complimentary bus service. However, if you do wish to walk to some shops, bars and restaurants, these can be found just 500m from the hotel.
This is one of the smaller luxury hotels in Funchal, with just 89 rooms over 2 floors. Winner of Europe’s Leading Boutique Hotel 2019, and also a 5-time World Travel Award winner, you know you are in for a special stay when you choose the Quinta da Bela Vista. The building dates back to 1880 and has been sympathetically restored.
Wander around the landscaped gardens, or chill-out around the pretty outdoor pool area (complimentary pool towels). The hotel does have a gym with sauna and whirlpool, and you can play snooker and tennis. There is a frequent entertainment programme including live music, but this is in place from the beginning July to mid-September and then from October to mid-December.
Stay here on bed and breakfast, half board, or full board. Enjoy the hotel’s a la carte restaurant, or in the buffet-style restaurant. There is also an adult-only bar, pool bar/snack bar, and cocktail bar (again adults-only).
Quinta da Casa Branca
This 5-star hotel is 2km from the centre of Funchal, but just 200m from the nearest shops, bars and restaurants. Located within botanical gardens, this 49-room hotel is a member of The Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
You can select from a suite with garden view, a premium room with garden view, a standard room with garden view of a manor house suite.
You can stay here on either a bed and breakfast basis, or half board. For such a small hotel, you still have the benefit of two a la carte dining experiences. Both restaurants serve international cuisine, and one is located on the poolside that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is also a cocktail bar located in the gardens, and you can obtain a snack from here as well as drinks.
There are two outdoor swimming pools, one of which is for adults-only. Complimentary pool towels are available to guests as well as comfortable loungers and sun parasols. Guests can also enjoy the air-conditioned gym, or catch up on your reading in one of the two libraries.
The hotel’s spa is available with sauna, steam room, whirlpool and beaty / massage treatments (minimum age is 16+).
Quinta Jardins do Lago
This is a charming luxury hotel set amidst lovely botanical gardens and overlooking Funchal from its elevated location. The resort centre is just 1.5km from the hotel and a mere 300m from the nearest shops, bars and restaurants.
With just 40 rooms, you can expect personal service when you stay here on either bed and breakfast, or half board. Choose from a standard room with garden views, superior room with garden views, premier suite, or a manor house junior suite with 4-poster bed.
The 2 restaurants both serve a la carte with a range of international and local cuisine. One of the restaurants also serves buffet-style meals. There is also a cocktail bar open during the evenings, and a pool bar open until 6pm.
The lovely outdoor pool area has a heated whirlpool and you can relax on the sunbathing terrace for which you will be provided with complimentary pool towels. There is also a gym at the hotel, together with sauna and steam room. Why not enjoy a game of croquet on the manicured lawn area, or a game of pool or table tennis.
The hotel lays on frequent evening entertainment including live music, but this does not take place throughout the year.
If you enjoy playing golf, then you will be able to benefit from a discount on green fees at the Palheiro and Santa da Serra golf courses when booked through the hotel. You will also be able to have complimentary transfers to the golf courses. Palheiro Golf Club is 8.5km from the hotel.
This hotel is located in a stunning sea front location just 800m from the centre of Funchal. There is direct access to the sea, although you will have ample space to relax around one of the swimming pools and still enjoy the sea views. The pools are heated and there is a children’s pool.
You can enjoy kayaking, pedalos, scuba diving / snorkelling, windsurfing and other watersports that are run by the hotel. At the hotel there is an air-conditioned gym, aerobics, pilates, table tennis, games room, sauna and steam room.
In the evening, following dinner, you can enjoy the evening entertainment programme run throughout the year. This includes live music, professional shows and in-house entertainment.
There are 174 rooms over 11 floors at the Royal Savoy, ranging from standard garden view rooms, through to superior suites with sea view. Pictured here is a junior suite with sea view.
You can choose to stay here on bed and breakfast, half board, or full board. There is an a la carte restaurant serving a range of international, Italian and local cuisine for dinner. The same restaurant also offers a buffet service. By the swimming pool you will find a pool bar serving food and drinks, and there is also a piano bar open in the evenings.
The luxury Savoy Palace is one of the largest 5-star hotels in Funchal with 352 rooms over 16 floors. It is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, so you can be confident that you have made a good choice. Located just 500m from the resort centre, you will be within easy walking distance from Funchal’s shops, bars and restaurants.
The hotel has a rooftop infinity pool from where you can enjoy the panoramic views of Funchal. There are 3 other outdoor pools to enjoy, one of which is adults-only and one is for children. Of course, complimentary pool towels are provided by the hotel and you can also treat yourself to a day of relaxing on one of the poolside Balinese beds.
You can stay at the hotel on a bed and breakfast, half board, or full board basis. There are 2 a la carte restaurants here, serving international and Italian cuisine. One of the restaurants is located on the roof terrace. There is also an additional buffet restaurant and 4 bars to choose from.
If you want to keep fit, then take a break from the pool area at the hotel’s air-conditioned gym and then enjoy the spa’s sauna, steam room, Turkish bath, whirpool and one of the many massage treatments available.
In the evening, either wander into Funchal’s centre, or take advantage of the daily evening entertainment at the hotel including live music.
The Cliff Bay Hotel
This 5-star hotel has uninterrupted views of the Atlantic, and has lovely gardens with manicured lawns as well as matured palms and shrubs. You will be just 2km from the centre of Funchal, and the hotel does provide a courtesy bus into the centre that runs 7 times daily.
There are three a la carte restaurants (including a two Michel-starred restaurant). You can enjoy both international and local cuisine, as well as show cooking. There are also 2 bars including a pool and cocktail bar. After dinner, you can enjoy the hotel’s evening entertainment programme that is available between January and the end of September.
During the day, you can take a spot around the outdoor swimming pool (there is one for children), and again the hotel provides guests with complimentary pool towels. If you want to escape the pool, then head to the air-conditioned gym and enjoy the cardio equipment and free weights area.
There is also a spa (for guests 16+) where you can use the sauna, steam room whirlpool and beauty / massage treatments.
There are 202 rooms at the hotel, spread over 9 floors. Rooms range from standard rooms through to an executive suite.
Les Suites at The Cliff Bay
For something extra special, book a stay at this 5-star hotel that has just 23 rooms. This is located next to The Cliff Bay Hotel, and some facilities will be available to guests at The Cliff Bay Hotel. Les Suites is a small complex of modern luxury suites with sea views.
Stay here on either a bed and breakfast, or half board basis, and you can also enjoy the facilities of one of the restaurants at The Cliff Bay Hotel (hotel shown above). The restaurant at Les Suites is a la carte and serves a range of Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. There is also a pool bar available to guests.
The pool area has 2 pools and a lovely sunbathing area with luxury loungers, parasols and complimentary pool towels. For a change, you can also enjoy the pool at The Cliff Bay Hotel.
VidaMar Resort Madeira
This luxury hotel in Funchal has stunning sea views to compliment it’s clean lines and chic interior. Just 2km from the centre of Funchal, 550m from the Lido promenade and 50m to the nearest shops, bars and restaurants, you have the best of all worlds when you stay here.
There are 4 outdoor swimming pools (including one for children). Enjoy swimming in the infinity pool allowing you uninterrupted views of the Atlantic. The hotel provides guests with complimentary pool towels. There are several platforms from which you can gain access to the sea via steps. These platforms are easily accessible direct from the pool area.
There are 300 rooms at the hotel, spread over 10 floors. Rooms have either garden, side sea, or full sea views. There’s plenty of room types to choose from as well, ranging from a standard room with garden view, up to a premium family room with full sea view.
There are 4 a la carte restaurants to whet your appetite, serving a selection of international, local, Japanese, and Italian cuisine. One of these is open just for lunch and snacks and is located poolside. There is also a buffet restaurant with show cooking. Enjoy a drink in the evening at the Lisboa Bar or during the day at the Ocean Lounge Bar.
You may want to make use of the air-conditioned gym with cardio fitness equipment, aerobics studio, free weights area, and strength equipment. There’s also aqua aerobics, basketball, dance classes, pilates, snooker, squash, table tennis and yoga available, so there is plenty to keep you entertained throughout the day. There is also occasional evening entertainment held at the hotel including live music events.
A spa rounds off the facilities at the VidaMar including Thalasso Sea Spa, sauna, steam room, sensory showers, hydrotherapy pool, Turkish bath, whirlpool, massage and beauty treatments.
There are other 5-star hotels in Funchal, but the above are a good range that we believe will appeal to a variety of travellers. There are also a wonderful selection of 4-star hotels which offer excellent facilities, but we have concentrated on bringing you those in the 5-star category in this article.
If you plan on visiting the pretty island of Madeira and it’s capital – Funchal – which hotel would be your preferred choice?
Gail Hewitt is Owner and Director of Corona Holidays. Corona Holidays are specialists in tailor-made holidays to the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, and European city breaks.