Firstly, it has to be said that we had a nice stay at the Pestana Casino Park Hotel. However, the question is, is it or is it not a 5 star hotel and is its worth paying the extra! I think not!
We have returned from a stay between 28th December 2012 and 4th January 2013. However, before compiling my own review of Pestana Casino Park Hotel I have read the latest review, to see what others had to say. Having read other reviews l feel that there are two hotels in one, one for those who get a quality service and one for those who don't; our stay fell into the latter category. I am pleased to read that one reviewer concurred that this is an over rated hotel and should only be a 4 star hotel.
In the hotel rating game there is clearly a quantity and quality issue. By providing a quantity of facilities the hotel, like the Pestana Casino Park Hotel has, it can then get its 5 star rating. Unfortunately this, in our experience is at the expense of the quality in the service provided.
It has to be said that the location of the hotel which is close to the centre of Funchal is very good, currently the best location of any major hotel, I believe. The innovative architecture of the hotel by Oscar Niemeyer, might not appeal to everyone, but is interesting. Unfortunately the hotel in places, like the room we had, looked a little 'tired'. It could do with a little TLC.
There were, regrettably, a number of issues we felt let the hotel down, in no particular order, including:
Firstly, the chambermaid service was extremely inconsistent. Some days the toiletries were replace, on other days they were not. On other days face clothes were provided on other they were not. How well the room was made-up again varied from day-to-day. These should not be issues in a 5 star hotel. These are issue of staff training, taking a pride in their work and, most importantly, management over-sight.
I have read a review that complimented the hotel on its turndown service. We only experienced a turndown service on one night during our stay which, coincidentally, coincided with a fax being delivered to our room. This should not be an issue in a 5 star hotel. The fact that another reviewer appears to say they got this every day is a very worrying level of inconsistent service being provided and again what is going on? Is there adequate management supervision?
I assume that to become a 5 star hotel the property needs to provide a mini-bar in the bedrooms. I could not understand why the hotel provided a small but decent size refrigerator containing just 4 bottles of small soft drinks. I have never seen a mini-bar like this anywhere else in the world. This issue was reflected in the 24 hour room service menu which after 11 p.m. becomes just 4 items, again attempting to be a 5 star hotel but really failing to do so.
Our bedroom temperature at night often reached 24oC, if not higher. However, the room air conditioning system simply stopped supplying cool air, making the bedroom extremely uncomfortable. This may be an intentional design of the system ('free cooling') but we had some very uncomfortable nights.
The breakfast arrangements are clearly not right. The hot food buffet is left to 'stew' which makes some of the food very unpalatable. The hot drinks are served from machines more suited for an industrial canteen than a 5 star hotel and certainly cannot cope with the quantity of users. Even asked for a pot of tea on occasions seemed a hard job and despite asking it for two we often got a very small pot and had to re-request it! Only one chef doing eggs, that is omelettes to order, as well as doing all fried eggs, at the same time, meant that there were some very slow hot food lines!
On the 30th December, in the neighbouring Congress de Congressional, next to the hotel's, there was a party being held in a marquee, which kept us awake till 5.15 am with very loud music, despite apparently a lot of complaints from the hotel guests and other neighbours and the police apparently being called. Apparently in Portugal you can do this with impunity! A lot of interesting conversations around the hotel the next day as well as inconsistent excuses from the hotel staff.
We specifically booked the hotel based on it offering a New Year Gala which was a nice experience. The only criticism was that it vastly over priced for what it was. If you stayed on an all-inclusive basis it would have been good value. We know some people had an all-inclusive package which did cause confusion on occasions as there was no lack of clarity and generally a lack of information.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.