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“Our Favourite Hotel” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Porto Santa Maria Hotel (Porto Bay)

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Porto Santa Maria Hotel (Porto Bay)
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Avda do Mar e das Comunidades Madeirenses 50, Funchal, Madeira 9050-029, Portugal   |  
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Ranked #9 of 88 Hotels in Funchal
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Our Favourite Hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2011

This is our favourite hotel, we have had four holidays here and we have booked to spend a week from 26th Dec 2011. The hotel is spotlessly clean, food is excellent and staff are always smiling and welcoming, they go that extra mile to help you. We had a really good room with views of the harbour on our last visit and hope to get the same or similar room in Dec. I think we will spend many more holidays at this hotel. Its the best

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virgilio_Silva, General Manager at Porto Santa Maria Hotel (Porto Bay), responded to this review, August 29, 2011
Exceeding guests expectations after the first stay usually only gets harder with each comeback.
But now you honour us with your choice for the 5th time and reward Porto Santa Maria with such a positive review.
We look forward to your return upon that magical season on Madeira Island - Christmas and New Year - and will check your record in order to pick a room to your liking.
On behalf of my team I thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.
Yours sincerely,
Virgilio Silva (General Manager - Hotel Porto Santa Maria)
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1,168 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (480)
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Lincolnshire
Level Contributor
42 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2011

We spent 2 weeks at the Porto Santa Maria in July and absolutely loved it. First, a few negatives: we were given a room at the side of the hotel that overlooked a public area, and were kept awake by local teenagers whooping and singing until the early hours on our first Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. This was apparently a new problem caused by the recent opening of 2 bars, and the local residents were also complaining. We raised this with the receptionist during our second week and were immediately moved to a very acceptable room at the back of the hotel for our last few nights. Also, the welcome letter from Thomson included a warning about timeshare touts so we thought it was ironic that the welcome meeting was taken over by . . a timeshare tout, albeit a Porto Bay employee trying to sell their own time share apartments. We got up and left. She was persistent and put 2 invitations under our door, and amazingly, rang us in our room to try again! Note to Thomson and Porto Bay – we don’t want this on our holiday. I need to mention that the maids were always very cheerful and always spoke to us when they passed by in the corridor, but this was lacking in most of the other staff. These are minor considerations though, and all in all, we were delighted with this outstanding hotel – it is spotless and smart inside, and beautifully appointed. The beds even had toppers on to make them more comfortable. It met our high expectations, and we recommend it without hesitation.
The hotel’s location is perfect – the promenade and the sea are at the back and the walk along to the marina was an almost daily treat. It is not possible to get into the sea near the hotel but there is a small rocky beach near the yellow fort (you would need some sort of footwear to get into the water) and places with ladders down into the sea can be found on the far side of the fort. It is very rocky generally and I would imagine the snorkelling is good. Crossing the road from the marina and heading upwards past the fort (another one) brings you to the wider streets of Funchal where there are gardens, flowering trees grow down the centre of the road and every pavement is patterned with mosaics. Pavement cafes abound (the ones down the side streets seem more expensive than the ones in the main area) - great places to sit and gaze at the magnificent balconied buildings. There is such a feeling of grand history and elegance here. Another good way of seeing this is to take the open top bus.
At the front of the hotel, you are in the old town and the old narrow streets are just outside the gates – great to wander through during the day or in the evening. One thing to be aware of – this hotel is not in the main hotel area and we found it very difficult to change travellers cheques. The hotel does not change them and the receptionist could not tell us where to go. None of the banks would change them either and we eventually found an exchange place in the area by the cathedral but we must have spent a couple of hours to achieve this. I’m surprised no-one else has mentioned this. Neither of there any car hire outlets – we noticed there are some in the hotel area – but the hotel receptionist helped us to arrange this. There is a very good selection of restaurants just outside the hotel gates – the standard of the service and of the food is very high, with everything cooked fresh, and we would especially recommend Le Jardin, O Tapassol, A Muralha - these are literally a few steps away. We tended to use these restaurants for lunch and coffees during the day, and dinner in the evenings, after which we would go for a walk around, then go back to another for dessert and drinks. They all seemed very happy for us to wander from one to another, and all gave us a warm welcome. The cable car is right next to the hotel – we used this twice. It’s not exactly cheap at around E50 for 2 people for combined return tickets for the cable car and Monte Palace Tropical Garden, but we did actually think it was worth it. We spent several hours in the garden– it is just beautiful, there is so much to see and it is one of the most impressive places I have been to for a long time. Old statues, coats of arms carved from stone and tile pictures can be seen among the plants and trees. As always on Madeira, Agapanthus are everywhere. The exhibitions that were on were also very interesting. It’s the sort of place you don’t want to leave. You can then walk round to Monte church which you can see lit up at night. We didn’t do the toboggan, having been told it is very expensive and you are only taken half way back down at which point you have to take an overpriced taxi. Our 2nd trip took in the Botanical Garden. This was really not worth the time and effort and was disappointing. There is a tropical bird section here which, with no exaggeration, is a disgrace to Madeira. There is a large collection of birds - parrots, macaws etc – and they are kept in small bare cages. We were shocked and did not stay.
We hired a car for 2 days and went up to the 3rd highest peak – driving up so high that you go through the clouds is very strange. You need trousers and a jumper up there – it’s not warm. We also went to 3 other coastal towns but were disappointed – Funchal is definitely the place to be. Driving is fine if you are a confident driver and you have a good navigator – some roads are narrow and the turns are very tight and steep. The traffic moves very fast around Funchal and on the motorway, and the most difficult bit was getting back through Funchal to the hotel.
The weather was a bit surprising – we had a lot of cloud and some evenings were on the cool side. The sun was hot when not obscured by cloud but the temperature tended to be low 20’s. We were told this was usually the weather in June and it should have been a bit hotter.
I know this is a long review, but I hope it is useful, and I hope you have as wonderful time as we did.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virgilio_Silva, General Manager at Porto Santa Maria Hotel (Porto Bay), responded to this review, August 29, 2011
Thank you very much for writing such a thorough report of your stay on Madeira Island, at Porto Santa Maria.
On your review you covered a few issues, which I will report to the respective authorities.
Yet, there is a couple that are related to Porto Santa Maria that I would like to clarify.
Regarding the situation you mention with the representative of our sister hotel The Residence, I must apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused you. In recent years we never had any complaint regarding the sort of behaviour that could justify calling these people touts, but yours was the second report in a few days therefore I looked into it and found that since 3 weeks ago we had someone new doing this work at Porto Santa Maria and apparently was not used to the way we do business. Therefore we reviewed the procedures and applied some more training in order to reach the same level of soft approach that we achieved previously and has garnered a positive acknowledge by other guests.
Regarding the travelers cheques there is one reason why we don't trade them: banks also don't take them and we are not authorized to exchange foreign currency elsewhere.
This is probably due to the very low usage level that this form of payment has reached, with the dramatic increase of debit and credit cards in the past 10 years. Currently the number of guests who approach us asking about the possibility of using travelers cheques in a full year can be counted with the fingers of a single hand.
Hopefully you found a place to exchange them, but it is a good thing that you raised this subject since with the ease that these days one travels anywhere it is quite natural to overlook some very important details.
I thank you once more for your suggestions and remarks, which will be shared among the whole team, and assure you that we will keep working to improve our service standards.
Yours sincerely,
Virgilio Silva (General Manager - Hotel Porto Santa Maria)
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sussex
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2011

Just back from a fantastic holiday here. Can't fault hotel in any way; staff very attentive (Lena especially) and friendly, breakfast buffet exceptional, overall cleanliness first class etc etc. Shame we saw the British bagging sunbeds with towels before 8 o'clock with no sign of those sun worshippers till at least midday. Pleased to see 'pool boy' removing towels and belongings the other morning - hope guilty people suitably embarrassed when collecting their things from reception. Make sure you find the roof terrace. We had a junior sea view suite and loved hearing the sea from the rooms and watching the fishing boats, ferries and cruise liners come and go.
We used Strawberry World for our trips out (nun's valley and north and west coast) - excellent value compared to other companies and the local bus to visit botanic gardens and Palhiero gardens. Restaurants behind hotel are very good indeed. You must try espada with banana!
Madeira is more for couples and the more mature. It is not a children's holiday island. We chose it for this reason. Also, our hotel was not really geared for children. Their sister hotels at the other end of Funchal (we visited and they too looked excellent) hae the clubs for children and things for them to do. It shows the importance of checking out your holiday venue as we did hear one father berating the reception staff unfairly for not having children's facilities.
All in all we had a marvellous time, loved the island, its food, its scenery and the Porto Santa Maria. Sadly no one would change places with us and come home in our place!

Room Tip: Ask for a sea view - it's definitely worth the extra money.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2011

This is a lovely hotel situated in the old town. There are numerous eating places in the narrow cobbled streets and the hotel is 2 minutes from the cable car which takes you up to Monte and the Tropical and Botanical gardens which are a must to see.

Room Tip: Our room was perfect but if you had an issue the staff are very helpful.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancaster, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2011

excellent hotel ,the staff are very efficient and friendly The hotel is very clean and very relaxing.The breakfast should be to everyones choice .We were only B & B but people we spoke to said evening meals were very good.The hotel is situated in a nice area and close to restaurants.The rooms are what they say in the brochures and the beds are so comfortable.Nice to sit on the balcony at night.I dont normally comment on hotels as other people might not like what I do but I would have no hesitation in going there again .Excellent

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitley Bay, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2011

We honeymooned at Porta Santa Maria Hotel in June this year and had an amazing time. The hotel is perfectly situated in the 'Old Town' of Funchal which is really charming with lots of restaurants to choose from serving traditional Maderian dishes. The hotel we thought was one of the best we've stayed in, it's spotlessly clean with wonderful comfortable bedrooms and the buffet breakfast is great! We booked through Thompson Holidays who assured us on 2 occasions that they had informed the hotel this vacation was a honeymoon - the hotel offer sparking wine and flowers in the room and also a room upgrade where possible. When we arrived to our disappointment they were unaware of the reason for our holiday and stated that Thompsons had not informed them - the Thompson rep put the blame with the hotel. We spend the first week in a standard garden view room, no flowers or wine, the hotel did put these in the room 3hrs after our arrival. The 2 second week we were upgraded to a suite with a seaview which as wonderful.
Twice we had dinner in the hotel at the Saturday night barbeque - great food! We can't end this review without mentioning the staff who are totally committed to providing a first class service. The STAR of this hotel is Lina the restaurant manager what a wonderful warm and kind person, she really cares about the guests and takes time to talk to each of every one of them. We will never forget her!!!!!!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
fleetwood
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2011

The hotel is in a great location for the old town with it's great bars and restaurants. It is spotless in the hotel and the grounds, the staff work really hard to keep this standard. We loved the roof terrace for sunbathing, thought it would have been nice if we had been able to get drinks on the terrace.
We had a junior suite and on arrival we was disappointed that only 1 balcony faced the sea, the other was over the side public garden area which is home to a number of dogs, which kept us awake the first night and the hotel did the best to accomadate us with a alternative room, which we did not take. It must have been a one off as we where not disturbed again.
We had breakfast each morning on the terrace which was excellent, a great choice of buffet breakfast along with hot food. fantastic staff each morning to help with anything.
Eating Out ......... we had some excellent meals out. try Do Forte 35 euros for 3 courses plus wine, great value. O jango - great steaks. Most places have a great fish dishes also.
For snacks we went to The Ideal Bar, run by Joseph and his wife Mary, they where great and did good snacks for as little as 2 euros, ask him to make a jug of sangria.
Now for my friend .Julie, we had a great night with live fado singing at the Arsenio's. Restaurant A must to experiance the real maderian nightlife?
Our only disappointment was how early the bars shut in an evening apart from one which all the young local people used and you could not get a table.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Porto Santa Maria Hotel (Porto Bay)

Address: Avda do Mar e das Comunidades Madeirenses 50, Funchal, Madeira 9050-029, Portugal
Phone Number:
Location: Portugal > Madeira Islands > Madeira > Funchal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Spa Hotel in Funchal
#9 Luxury Hotel in Funchal
#10 Romantic Hotel in Funchal
#23 Family Hotel in Funchal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Porto Santa Maria Hotel (Porto Bay) 4*
Number of rooms: 146
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Porto Santa Maria lies at the water's edge in the very heart of Funchal's old centre. Its close relationship to the sea, the outstanding and exclusive views over the harbour where the cruise ships dock, its picturesque surroundings and the unique flavours of its cuisine result in genuine urban tranquility. A congenial hotel offering 146 rooms, restaurant, bars, direct access to the promenade, outdoor pool, indoor pool, SPA, gym, parking...all in the heart of the city. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Porto Santa Maria Funchal
Porto Santa Maria Hotel (Porto Bay) Madeira/Funchal

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