Where the hotel is located turned out to actually be much more convenient than we had expected as you can go out through Reception, turn left and up a flight of steps onto the main Estrada Monumental road. This gives a fairly level walk to the Forum in one direction (left and about 10 minutes walk) with shops, supermarket, cinema and restaurants, a bus stop into town a few yards in the other direction No. 1 and 2) and across the road about a hundred yards further on is a small supermarket. Reception is 0n the 5th floor as the hotel is built into a steep hill (as everything in Madeira appears to be).
The road immediately in front of the hotel leads past a few decent restaurants to the right. Be aware though that this road is being upgraded (finished?) right outside the hotel where it will eventually join the main Estrada Monumental road, there is quite a bit of noise and vibration from about 9am, not particularly intrusive but I guess it depends where your room is - we certainly noticed it a few times.
The hotel itself has a mix of hotel rooms and timeshare apartments and is finished to a high standard.
They all had one or more patio doors opening onto balconies, all with seating and tables of some description and the larger ones with sun-beds also. Most rooms are south facing over the pool area with direct sea views, getting the sun for a good part of the day, a lot are in shade from the balconies above though and do not get any sun at any time
Public areas in the hotel comprise an indoor pool and Jacuzzi with spa, sauna and steam room at one end of the site. The sauna and steam room are closed to guests between about 11.30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Otherwise they are free to use as are the gym and games room.
The outside pools are varying depths with one about knee-deep with big red floating seats, ideal for kiddies and those who just want a paddle, two about chest deep for swimmers, one of which is an infinity pool with steps at one end and a sloping floor at the other, and one smaller infinity one, semi-circular with air jets, and seemed well placed by the Pool Bar. All of the pools are surrounded by sufficient sun-loungers which seemed enough to cater for most of the dedicated sun worshipers, the hotel has a “no reserving sun beds” policy, to be fair we always got a bed no matter what time of day we went down.
There are loads of comfortable seating areas, mainly shaded, ideal for reading or just chilling
Indoors on the ground floor is the bar area (Breezes) with seating mostly around tables but also a row of bed-sized seating against one wall where you can stretch out. Did not see these being used once as they look quite awkward
The only “niggles” are:
The poor provision of public lifts; only two in the central area for everybody. The lifts seemed to have minds of their own so if you wanted to go up you would first have to join everybody going down and vice-versa. They broke down the first time we used them, luckily the receptionist was showing us to our room and she simply pressed the alarm, it then went down to basement, sat for a minute and returned to reception. This happened once more to us and various other times the lifts stopped working totally. Believe it or not the stairs are hard to find and virtually no one uses them – need to sort the lifts and install better signage for stairs. (And remember reception is on floor 5 – not ground as we found to our cost many times)
There is an issue with sound proofing. People in neighbouring rooms, above and to each side, can be clearly heard dragging furniture across wooden or tiled floors and this can be quite annoying, particularly early in the morning. On our stay the guy next to us had a habit of clearing his throat loudly at 2 and 3 in the morning!!
Limited breakfast choice and sometimes ran out of products or food was not very warm.
One big black mark was the provision of transport into Funchal for the Atlantic Festival (fireworks) this is on 4 Saturdays in June, never having been there before we decided against going on the bus on our own and missing a viewing point, however we were charged £17.50 each for the 10 minute return journey to their sister hotel, the journey was on the yellow open topped tour bus (and it was cold!), some people also had to stand. In the end we could have got the local bus for a couple of euros, made our way to the front and got a taxi back. 35 euros for this journey with a cheap glass of juice and standing on a grassy area is far too much and just a money making opportunity in my opinion. Given what guests pay at this hotel they should have laid on transport for free or at nominal cost – left a bad taste.
Same goes for their buffets, overpriced, never went but heard many people complaining, why cant hotels learn to price sensibly, they would probably get more custom as loads of people end up eating out due yo the cost.
Higher floor overlooking pool
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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