Hotels in Madeira
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Portugal’s magical island of Madeira is not on the skids
Madeira comprises four islands and although an autonomous region of Portugal; geographically it is much nearer to the African coast than it is to mainland Europe. Madeira cascades with flora and fauna. Encouraged by year-round warm and gentle breezes and the island’s extensive irrigation system, there is always something here to delight the eye. Islanders are friendly but Madeira has resisted the temptation to head in the direction of that dubious mass-tourism appeal. Transportation options are wide-ranging. Some favoured areas, though, still the prefer cable car transport and street toboggans to fume-filled traffic jams. It’s that sort of island.
Madeira on the move
If staying at hotels in the island’s capital, Funchal; there are plenty of taxis on tap at all times. You can, if you wish, commandeer one of these for the day to take you round the island. It’s quite an expensive option for couples, but a more attractive possibility for three or four people. If contemplating driving; roads are very winding and what at first appeared to be a short journey can, in reality, take forever. The cheapest transport option is, as ever, the local bus service. Cable cars and street toboggans are novelty alternatives in some of the popular tourist areas and there is no shortage of boat excursions. From your hotel base, the boat is probably the easiest and most enjoyable way to explore Madeira. Levada walking –hiking over rough terrain – is a favourite pastime on Madeira and another great way to investigate inland regions. You need to be well prepared though; the weather in those hills can deteriorate very quickly.
Shakespeare was Madeira’s wine publicist
You won’t starve, here on Madeira. There are plenty of local dishes to enjoy and many benefit from being based on age-old peasant recipes. Being part of Portugal, it comes as no surprise to learn that seafood figures prominently. Some dishes feature in hotel menus but a visit to a friendly, local restaurant will open the door to further mouth-watering choices. Espetada, for instance, is garlic covered chunks of beef grilled over woodchips. You get lots of squid(s) to the GB pound and other currencies with potas. There are also many succulent dishes that are based on cod and tuna. Then, you’ll quickly develop affection for Pudim maracuja, passion fruit pudding and the sublime honey cake that is Bolo de Mel. Time for a drink and island-based wine favourites include Tinta Negra. You must, of course, try a glass or two of the famous Madeira Wine and raise it to William Shakespeare. His character, Falstaff, referred to it in Henry IV … and the rest is history.
Madeira’s beaches are thin on the ground
On arrival at Funchal Airport there are transport options to get you to your city-based hotel, or to hotels in resorts in other areas of Madeira. For your transfer, you might decide on one of the many taxis or car-hire choices on offer or, if you’d rather save your money for other purposes, the SAM bus service is very cheap. Once you’ve arrived and unpacked, you won’t be hitting the beach any time soon. They are very thin on the ground and those that are in evidence are man-made with sand shipped in from Morocco. The island, though, is more than generously supplied with hotel pools and those of the outdoor municipal variety. If you must have a beach as part of your Madeira holiday, there’s a small one to the west of Funchal, in Calheta. Alternatively, you can do as many others do, jump on the daily ferry and two hours later, you are on the glorious beach at Porto Santo; one of the other islands.
Prepare to become a fan of festive Funchal
The friendly atmosphere of mainland Portugal is evident across Madeira; including here in the capital, Funchal. This modern, cosmopolitan city also retains much of its fascinating architecture from centuries ago. It is now, though, interspersed with sparkling, multi-star rated hotels and apartments. This city of flowers blooms, quite literally, throughout the year and is surrounded by perfumed banana plantations and eucalyptus woodlands. There’s also a friendly street café culture which is quite irresistible. Days can be spent diving, surfing, watching the gigantic cruise ships coming and going in the harbour, or even whale-watching. Festivals are a regular annual feature and the Wine Festival is one that you may not remember much about … it’s that good. Then there’s the Carnival, the Flower Festival and in June, the Atlantic Festival International Fireworks Competition. Funchal is an unusually attractive city in many ways and whilst there’s fun to be had; everything is good-natured and there is always that air of friendliness and safety.
Price rangefrom NZ$25to NZ$1,950
Hotel Pestana Grand Funchal
Iti Pestana Grand is a 5 star hotel in Funchal on the Portuguese Island of Madeira. Located on the southern part of the island the airport of Funchal is 21km away. The hotel is set on a hill and has has views over the Atlantic Ocean. There is direct access from the hotel to a promenade and this leads to the Praia Formosa gravel beach and the town centre of Funchal about 3km away. There are 177 air conditioned guest rooms with en-suite bathroom, hair dryer, balcony or terrace, telephone, mini bar, room safe, tea and coffee making facilities, television with cable TV and internet access for an additional charge. Breakfast is served each morning and dinner can be taken in any of the three restaurants which has Moroccan, Italian and Portuguese cuisines - a reservation is required. The hotel is surrounded by tropical gardens and has the largest heated salt water pool on the island. The spa has saunas, steam baths, jacuzzi and a fully equipped fitness room. more
Hotel Pestana Carlton Madeira Funchal
Pestana Carlton Madeira is a 5 star hotel in Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. Located on the cliffs overlooking the Marina and the Port, the centre of Funchal is a short walk. There are 280 air conditioned guest rooms and suites with en-suite bathroom, hair dryer, direct dial telephone, mini bar, room safe, balcony or terrace, radio, tea and coffee making facilities, television with cable TV channels and wired internet access for an additional charge. A buffet breakfast is available each morning. There are multiple restaurants for lunch and dinner with a variety of menus and cuisines. Three bars are open for refreshments, drinks and cocktails. The spa has an indoor swimming pool, sauna, Turkish steam room, jacuzzi, solarium, beauty treatments and massages. The fitness room is fully equipped with cardiovascular equipment, weights and resistance machines. For conferences and meetings there are several rooms available, the largest of which can hold 400 people and are complete with technical equipment. more
Hotel Pestana Casino Park Funchal
Pestana Casino Park is a 5 star hotel in Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. It is situated on a cliff top and overlooks the Bay of Funchal and is a half mile from the town centre. There are 379 air conditioned guest rooms and suites with en-suite bathroom, hair dryer, balcony, radio, flat screen television with satellite TV channels and pay per view movies, direct dial telephone, mini bar, room safe, and desk. Wireless internet access is available in the public areas and charges will apply. A buffet breakfast is available each morning and the main restaurant is open for themed dinners and the room overlooks the swimming pool and Funchal Marina. Two additional restaurants serve a la carte menus with Madeiran cuisine and international dishes as well as barbecued food. Three bars are available and there is live entertainment. Outside there is a swimming pool and 2 tennis courts. The spa has an indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room, beauty treatments and massages as well as a fully equipped gymnasium. There are several conference rooms, the largest of which can hold 800 people. more
Hotel Muthu Raga Madeira Hotel Funchal
Raga is a 4 star hotel in Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. Located in the Lido district it is a short walk to the town centre, Harbour and Marina. There are 170 air conditioned guest rooms and suites with en-suite bathroom, hair dryer, direct dial telephone, mini bar, room safe, and television with satellite TV channels. Some rooms are available with kitchenette that includes a fridge, microwave oven, cookware, dishes and utensils. Internet access is available in the public areas and charges will apply. Two restaurants are on site serving Madeiran Cuisine and international dishes. Three bars offer drinks, refreshments and snacks. The outside pool is heated in the winter months and is surrounded by a sun terrace, sun loungers and has ocean views. A fully equipped fitness room and solarium are also available, together with table tennis in the games room. For meetings and events there are two rooms with equipment and support. The front desk is open 24 hours. more
Hotel Pestana Promenade Funchal
Pestana Promenade is a 4 star hotel in Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. It is located on the sea front promenade between the areas of Lido and Praia Formosa. The marina in Funchal is less than half a mile. There are 110 air-conditioned guest rooms and suites with en-suite bathroom, hair dryer, direct dial telephone, television with cable TV channels and pay per view movies, mini bar, fridge, balcony or terrace, and wireless high-speed internet access for an additional charge. Free WiFi is available in the restaurant and bar area. A breakfast buffet is available each morning and there are three restaurants for dinner and serve Portuguese cuisine and international dishes. The snack bar is open for light meals and snacks and the cocktail bar is open for drinks and has live music on selected nights. The spa has an indoor freshwater swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, Turkish steam room, beauty treatments and massages as well as a fully equipped fitness room. Outside there is a swimming pool and children's pool. For conferences and meetings there are 2 rooms, the largest of which can hold 120 people. more
Hotel Pestana Village Funchal
Pestana Village is a 4 star aparthotel in Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. Set in 5,000 square meters of tropical gardens and close to the sea front, the hotel is less than one mile from the centre of Funchal. There are 87 air conditioned studios and 5 suites with en-suite bathroom, hair dryer, radio, direct dial telephone, wired internet access, room safe, flat screen television with cable TV channels and a fully equipped kitchenette with cookware, dishes and utensils. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available and the hotel has several themed bars and restaurants. Facilities include two outdoor fresh water swimming pools, children's pool, indoor heated swimming pool, jacuzzi, games room, giant chess, spa with sauna, Turkish steam bath, beauty treatments, massages and a fully equipped fitness room. Guests can access the sea via the pool area of the neighbouring sister hotel - Pestana Carlton Madeira. There are a number of small meeting rooms available. more
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