We stayed in this hotel for 2 weeks and picked it on the wonderful reviews it received on this site. Unfortunatley we were a bit disappointed. Whilst the hotel is by no means bad, it is not excellent, which 5 green circles on this site represent. We took these reviews to mean it was a top-end 4 star hotel, which it definitly wasn't. In my husband and I's opinion it was a bottom end 4 star (just - the cleanliness is what kept it there). I'll explain the pros and cons so others don't feel as we do.
Location - cannot be faulted, right in the old town with character and charm. Also right on the front with a gate that leads onto the promenade. Surrounded by restuarants. Bus and cable car stations are nearby. Port about 7 - 8 minute walk away, nice to go there for a drink in the evening.
Rooms - okay in size, spotlessly clean (as was the whole interior of the hotel). Bathroom fittings were nice and very clean. Toilteries they supply you with are basic (soap not shower gel, 2 in 1 shampoo, tiny amounts of body lotion). We paid extra for a sea view and had an ok view, we could see the pool and the sea to the side so don't assume you'll get a sea view square on as very few of the rooms are like that. I'd pay for it again though as wouldn't want to overlook the local park. Beds are large, but only because they join two large singles together (something most hotels do in maderia i believe, we just weren't aware of this). They were also incredibly hard, to the point that they were uncomfortable to sleep on. The kitchen area has a fridge, sink and a small stove and basic cooking equipment. We intended to cook a couple of nights but gave up on this idea when we saw the kitchen - it's about 2 metres wide. Also there are no basic ingredients like salt, pepper, oil etc to use so you'd have to purchase all of those unless you take your own. There is also a kettle but no tea or coffee in the room, so again i'd take your own if you want it.
Pool area - Swimming pool is nice, though a little cold on cloudy days. It has a shelf with a very steep drop to get in though which some of the older guests found challenging, there are steps the other end though. The pool chairs are also rather old and the mesh at the foot end dirty - they need replacing.
Spa - I had a 'jet lag' massage which they did a good offer on if you had it within 2 days of arriving. It was superb. I've had lots of massages before and it was every bit what I expected. Jacuzzi was nice too, indoor pool fine, but not heated perhaps because it was the summer.
Food - We were on a B n B basis - luckily. There was a good choice for breakfast, but they are definitly going for quantity as opposed to quality. Some fresh fruit which was nice, but why put out some tinned fruit, especially pineapples when the market (a must visit) 200yds down the road sold fresh ones. The fresh bananas and necterines at times were too under-ripe to eat. Meats and cheese were all ok, but are reformed not high qulaity. Cooked breakfast was ok, although sausages were weird and gave us indigestion. No omelette or pancake cooking station as we've had in other 4 star hotels. Breads and pastries were very nice, especially the egg custard type which we'd recommened. The pool bar did do a variety of sandwiches and snacks for lunch, but these were not very maderian (e.g. burger and chips) and were only ok. If you book half board your meals will be buffet which works on a seven day rotation, and the starters always looked very similiar. We ate in the hotel's a la carte restaurant once, which was pretty good but the menu is very limited and does contain some items that can be found on the buffet menu at some point too. We ate out all other nights. Would particulary recommened Riso for rice based dishes, Gaviao Novo for fish which are both in the old town and also Vila de Pexie in Camera de Lobas did superb fish and accompliments (which is unusual in maderia). A Murrugha and Cidade Velha were also both very good and in the old town. We were disappoineted with O Tapposal (everything was over cooked and dry/tough) and O Portao (everything very greasy) though.
Service - in the pool bar it was ok. Very limited service to bed chairs, it seems you had to go up and order it then they'd bring it over if you wanted it. Nobody came to take your order from your bed chair which i think they're supposed to as there was a question about it on the hotels questionnaire. In the captains bar the service was generally poor. We sometimes waited 20 minutes for someone to take our drinks order and when they brought them up they were also often wrong. If you gave up waiting and went up to the bar to order then they looked at you like you were dirt and when paying the bill at times we were not even spoken to which we found rude. The service in the hotels a la carte restaurant was fine though. The staffs english is in general very poor (in the restuarants the standard of english was much much better so they're clearly not paying their staff enough to attract quality) and I don't think we saw any staff except the cleaners smile once. The clothes airer on our balcony was broken when we arrived, we enquired at recption who said they'd fix it, in 2 weeks they didn't, nor did they tell us it couldn't be sorted. Once the cleaner also took our dirty pool towels and didn't replace them with new ones (a mistake which is forgiveable). When we told reception they said they'd send some up in the next couple of hours that evening and even wrote it down. 14 hours later we still hadn't got any so my Husband had to go to recpetion next morning and ask again only to find out they had a whole stash vehind the counter so could have given us them in the first place. There is no room service for lunch or dinner, only for breakfast. They charge you 2 euros a head and the choice is very limited. They won't deliver before 8am so if you have an early start and can't make the buffet you have to have it delivered the night before and boil your own hot water for coffee - we didn't bother!
Rep - We travelled with Thomas Cook who were fine and the rep Simon was fantastric, by far the best holiday rep we've ever encountered he really helped us have a great holiday. He spoke portuguese and his local knowledge was superb. Anything he didn't know he found out.
Trips - the island is goreous and there's so much to do we need to go back. Would particulary recommend the jeep trip to nuns valley, a catarmaran to see the dolphins (we saw 7 or 8) and getting the cable car to monte with a toboggan ride down. both the monte palace gardens and the botantical gardens were fantastic and definitly worth a visit.
Other - as previous reviews have said there is some building work going on the the front along from the hotel though it didn't interfere with us at all and you can't really hear it from the hotel. We were there for Funchal's 501st B'day celebrations - the firewroks were amazing.
We would return to this hotel but becuase of it's location. There are hardly any hotels in the old town so choice is limited and I'd never want to stay in the concrete jungle of the hotel zone. Also we'll not have raised hopes from people giving it 5 stars so are expectations are far lower. I would recommend it to others, but with a caution over the service and food quality, don't expect too much. If you're not going to do anything other than sit around the pool and want to eat and drink in the hotel then go somewhere else if you have higher than average standards. If you want to mix relaxing by the pool with excursions as we did then although it's not the best 4 star hotel you'll stay in, it does provide a base for a fantasic holiday.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.