Take a look at the best luxury hotels in Funchal.
The 40-room Quinta Jardins do Lago is a refined luxury hotel set in a historic 18th-century mansion in a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of Funchal. While the hilltop setting is peaceful and affords distant sea views, it's a bit removed from most of the city's attractions. The hotel's botanical gardens, however, are truly impressive, with balconied guest rooms and terraced eateries taking full advantage of the wealth of flora. Facilities are excellent, with a heated pool and choice of casual or formal dining, as well as a fitness room, sauna, and hot tub. Rates, though, are pricey, and the Old World style won't be everyone's cup of tea. The Quinta Das Vistas Palace Gardens is a cheaper alternative and also offers stunning views, though it lacks this hotel's gardens.
The four-pearl, 49-room Quinta da Casa Branca is a stand-out property in Funchal, located in a quiet residential area about a 15-minute walk from the promenade. The boutique hotel's grounds are filled with lush gardens, an outdoor pool, and places to lounge, plus there are a spa, gym, and two dining spots. While the architecture is modern and sleek, room interiors are more traditionally styled with floral patterns and wood paneling. They do all come with flat-screen TVs, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and minibars, plus suites have living areas and jetted tubs. While the seclusion and relaxing atmosphere are a large drawcard, those preferring a more stylish property might prefer The Vine, located a five-minute walk from Funchal's old town.
The Cliff Bay (Porto Bay) is a luxury hotel with a striking cliff-side setting overlooking the Atlantic, a bit more than a mile from Funchal's city center. It's home to Madeira’s only Michelin-star restaurant, two swimming pools (one freshwater, one saltwater, and a kiddy pool), and a luxe spa. The 200 rooms are pleasant, bright, and spacious, and most have balconies with superb ocean views. The resort as whole is well-oiled with plenty of polish, if not a huge amount of character. For that, travelers might want to check out the 18th-century Quinta Jardins do Lago -- far from the sea but set within lush botanical gardens.
The 163-room Belmond Reid’s Palace is a historic luxury hotel perched dramatically on a clifftop a short drive from the center of Funchal. Awash with antiques and period touches, this traditionally elegant property has lost little of its original 19th-century elegance -- though some might find the overall vibe a little stuffy. The classic vibe extends to the bright rooms, complete with furnished balconies or patios; some suites have kitchenettes. Stunning sea views are found from numerous vantage points, the property offers extensive dining options, and leisure facilities include several outdoor pools, lovely gardens with lounge chairs, outdoor tennis courts, and a spa. For top-notch amenities and sea views without the old-fashioned formality, check out The Cliff Bay nearby.
Quintinha Sao Joao is a four-pearl boutique property designed to recreate the experience of staying in a traditional Portuguese manor house. Perched on a hill in a quiet residential neighborhood, guests are a 15-minute walk from downtown Funchal. All 42 air-conditioned rooms are large with firm mattresses, garden-view balconies, minibars, and flat-screen TVs with DVD players. While the spa and heated indoor and outdoor pool areas have a contemporary look, the rest of the hotel's antique decor has a dated though welcoming and homey feel to it. Expect lots of freebies, from a breakfast buffet and Wi-Fi to all-day snacks and downtown shuttle. The main bar offers happy hour and live piano music, while the restaurant serves Goan-focused dishes. Travelers looking for more modern digs should consider the nearby and slightly cheaper Four View Baia.
The four-pearl Palheiro Village is a sprawling hillside complex of upscale villas and apartments. All have full kitchens and many add perks like wood-burning fireplaces and private pools. On the downside, not all of its 79 privately owned units have ocean views, and some lack air-conditioning. All units have flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. As part of the Palheiro Estate, guests have access to the golf course, fantastic botanical gardens, a spa, and a restaurant, among other facilities. Travelers looking for a more historic stay can check out the hotel's sister property, Casa Velha do Palheiro, which adds a free breakfast, but the rate is slightly higher.
The 174-room Royal Savoy Hotel is an upscale resort-style property overlooking the sea, located a 15-minute walk from Marina Funchal. Rooms might feel a little old-fashioned for some, but all have balconies with at least partial sea views, and suites feature kitchenettes. Two pools and decent health facilities are a draw, though some guests are turned off by the hotel's time-share aspect. The on-site restaurant serves a free breakfast buffet, as well as lunch and dinner, plus there's a piano bar with live music. Travelers might also want to check out the clifftop Belmond Reid's Palace nearby, which is a little classier and features more impressive panoramas -- for around the same price.
Fresh, style-conscious hotels like The Vine have helped create a younger vibe in Madeira in recent years. This 79-room, four-pearl hotel is done in urban-chic decor, with bold design that oozes glamour. It’s set above one of Funchal’s shopping complexes in the city center, allowing for easy sightseeing combined with relaxation on the swish rooftop terrace with heated infinity pool. The richly hued, wine-inspired rooms have amenities like air-conditioning and sometimes tricky touch-panel lighting, but views onto the hotel's atrium from some rooms are disappointing. A decadent spa solidifies the romantic, couples-centric vibe. For a cool, low-key city stay, it’s reasonably priced, but travelers looking for a more classic high-end hotel experience might prefer the Quintinha De Sao Joao, even though it’s 10 minutes farther from the center on foot.
The Vidamar Resort Madeira is a sleek, contemporary, upscale resort set on a cliff that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Clever design means that superb views can be enjoyed from numerous vantage points, including in the 300 bright, minimalist guest rooms. Three swimming pools are rarely crowded and the spa is particularly stylish. Dining options are aplenty and a half-board rate is standard, and though there's a sushi restaurant the buffet choices can get dull. Vidamar is certainly one of the chicer options on the island, but it's a 10-minute drive to the sands of Praia Formosa. For traditional luxury and more history check out Belmond Reid's Palace, just up the coast.
Hotel Baia Azul is a four-pearl property located a 10-minute walk outside the center of Funchal. While the hotel has always had a fabulous, walkable waterside location directly on the promenade, it didn't reach its full potential until undergoing a complete makeover and reopening in 2016. Now, the 218-room resort is a gorgeous, bright property with top style to boot. Expect spacious and modern rooms with mini-fridges, kettles, glass showers, and balconies with views. Features include an indoor and outdoor pool, small gym, restaurant with good breakfast buffet and terrace seating, well-priced bar, and spa options, but be prepared to pay extra for the safe inside your room and fresh towels. The beachfront here is pebbled, so if you are looking for sand, check out the nearby Golden Residence Apartment Hotel in the same price point.
The lti Pestana Grand Hotel is a 177-room four-pearl property occupying an impressive building perched on a clifftop on Madeira's most southerly point. Rooms are bright and attractive, all opening to balconies and most with sea views -- though amenities (like tube-style TVs) are not up to scratch for a hotel with luxury aspirations. Hotel amenities, however, are impressive, with four restaurants, a spa with an indoor-outdoor pool, and one of the largest saltwater pools on the island. The hotel is in a quiet residential area around 15 minutes' drive from the historic center. More up-to-date rooms, though with fewer sea views, can be found for around the same rate at the Melia Madeira Mare Resort & Spa, just a few minutes away along the coast.
Casa Velha do Palheiro is an upscale resort dating from 1801, with 300 acres of gardens, nature trails, and an 18-hole golf course with sea views. The 37 rooms are done in classical country style, and while they include flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, they lack air-conditioning. Suites provide sitting areas, and some have whirlpool tubs. The property itself is relaxing country retreat with a garden pool and elegant spa. Dining is a laid-back affair, with a glass-enclosed cafe, library for afternoon tea, a classic restaurant, and bar lounge. The hotel has a modern gym and tennis court. Travelers might want to also consider the Enotel Lido Madeira, which has air-conditioning and oceanfront views, though rates there are generally higher.
One of the best-positioned properties on Madeira, the upscale, 76-room Pestana Palms Ocean Aparthotel is located along the water and a 20-minute walk from Funchal's center. It boasts private, direct access to the sea from the large pool area, as well as an on-site dive center. A spa, sauna, whirlpool, and full gym with a sea view add to the property's relaxation factor. The generously sized rooms are admittedly aging -- think brown striped carpet, honey-toned wood furniture, and plaid throws on the bed. However, many offer sea-view balconies and all have basic kitchenettes. The two restaurants and bars receive positive reviews, and meal plans are available. Note, however, that in-room safes and umbrellas by the pool require fees. Travelers looking for a bit more modern property may prefer the Melia Madeira Mare Resort & Spa.
The Melia Madeira Mare Resort & Spa is an upscale chain hotel with stylish contemporary interiors set overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Its Lido neighborhood is pleasant and largely residential, with restaurants, a pebble beach, and the coastal promenade within easy reach. However, it's a 15-minute drive from Funchal's center. Most of the 220 understated rooms feature sea views, with some higher balconies providing superb panoramas. Indoor and outdoor pools, decent dining, and a deluxe spa combine to make this hotel a great pick for vacationing couples. However, families with kids should look elsewhere -- the nearby Four Views Monumental Lido is a good option that offers a kids' club and nightly entertainment.
Golden Residence Apartment Hotel is a four-pearl resort located on the outskirts of Funchal. The property has attractive, modern decor and boasts stunning ocean views from its perch high above the water. All 142 units have flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, kettles, and private balconies, but beds are two twin mattresses pushed together, and bathrooms lack toiletries. Suites and Apartments add living rooms and kitchenettes. The rooftop terrace and garden promenade are among the resort's top features, and there's an outdoor pool, a spa, a gym, and free breakfast. No direct beach access and a hike into town are drawbacks. Though dated by comparison, travelers seeking a beachfront hotel may wish to consider Pestana Bay Ocean Aparthotel.