This was our second stay at the Pestana Village the other being some six years ago.
First let me say we were on an exchange into what is a time share resort, from the affliated company Seasons Holidays. We had to pay no exchange fee, or any fees when we arrived at the Village, unlike those guest who had exchanged with RCI and were confornted with a 50 euro a week extra change. We stayed two weeks in the timeshare part of the resort andf a further 3 nights in the hotel section of the resort which we booked separately.
First the timeshare part - We were given a two bedded and two bathroom apartment which was spacious and clean, The furniture is of good quality but is somewhat dated but in good conditio. There was always hot water available, and a good selection of TV channels, although some could be a bit fuzzy. There was a very good information book in the apartment. Towels and linen were changed frequently, maid service daily. Pool towels were chanable at the Health Spa as and when you required them to be changed.
This resort runs into the sister resort of the Mira Mar and facilities can be used at either section. There were always plenty of sun beds, but there was a 2 euro charge for an umbrella. The gym and related facilities were free to use and in good condition.
They have a very good recylcleing policy at the resort and coloured bins are around the resort for rubbish, they just require you to put it in the correct bin. There is a pool bar, but not always open depending on the weather, service is good, but the cost is pricey.
The gardens are the real point of the resort, and would rivial any gardens which you pay to visit. The flowers and lawns are kept to a very high standard, and the real show piece of the resort.
The Sales staff on the resort are not pushy, and the Pestana Goups new idea of Options is excellent, but I would adivse anyone to do your sums first, and make sure this is what you want, we were very very tempted, but in the end decided not buy.
There is a dine around option, where for a set price you can eat at three different resturants within the Pestana Group and the meals include wine, this alway includes the Casiono and show, which we took as one of our options. This was the least good, the service was slow, the show was not of high standard and the costumes could all have received some attention from a wardrobe mistress. However the meal in the Mira Mar was lovely as was the service, but the visit to the GRand and the Morrocan outshone the lot, really lovely with super service.
The swimming pool had jets on the side which were not working, and the edges could do with a clean as there is a build up of suntan lotion stuck around the edge, the pool is quite cool to get in, but a lovely pool to swim in once you are in.
We had two problems with equipment in our apartmnet and there were dealt with very very swiftly. The staff are all excellent and very very helpful, Marion in guest relations is very helpful.
We moved for the last three nights into the hotel section which we had booked on a half board basis separately. The move was swift, and easy thanks to help from reception staff. Our room was a good size overlooked the sea, and had a very mini kitchen. two rings, and a kettle and sink, and crockery and utensils, very useful. The bathroom and balacony were both of a good size, and the room was clean with better TV reception.
The breakfast was buffet syle and the bakery selection was beyond belief, do try the St George cheese in a great big round cheese it is lovely comes from the Azores There is also a cooked section, not totally English Cooked Breakfast, but you are in Madira and it was still good. Dinner again buffet style, soup, a vast aray of salads, a cooking station selection and well as other choices, and the puddings did not have an ice cream selectionm in sight! Quite fun eating a blancmonge type desert not had since childhood.
There is a busstop right outside the resort and buses are easy to get around on, do buy your tickets in advance, it works out cheaper.
The real place to eat if you are pushing the boat out is the Forte, it looks good dtastes good and the setting is lovely. The resorts seem to have a deal for a set price with the Forte, which includes the wine (a glass of aparkling when you arrive) and white and red with your meal, lovely experience.
In the main eating out is about the same sort of price as in the UK maybe a bit dearer, but look around there are goood value places, and places who do set meals. Try the scabbard fish and banana if it is your first visit to Madeira it is lovely.
A pleasant and non expensive bar for a drink in the evening near the Village is El Silenco on the main road towards the Lido.
Will we return, you bet we will, not the place f you like night clubs discos and lots of bars, but for elegance and beauty it has got to be Madeira.