The high rating of this hotel is well deserved. As other reviewers have described, this is a smallish hotel based on an old hunting lodge high up above Funchal; a slight disadvantage for some perhaps because of the 15 minute taxi or shuttle bus journey time but an advantage for others because its height above sea level means it is cooler on hot days than down in the city. There are lovely views over the city and sea, especially from the golf club house. The hotel is furnished beautifully with antiques and has a generally traditional and comfortable feel about it. The Palheiro gardens alongside are lovely.
The food is of a very high standard indeed. My wife and I had booked on a half board basis but had intended to go outside the set menu both by trying the a la carte menu in the hotel and to venture further afield to other restaurants. However, the food in the hotel was such that we were more than happy to stay with the set menu for the two weeks we were there. (It is worth saying that one discouragement from trying other restaurants was the prospect of driving back on a very steep and twisting road after a few drinks).
The staff members could not have been more helpful or better trained (perhaps a touch of over-familiarity from one or two in the restaurant but on the whole excellent).
We were in the golf wing and the room was well furnished and of a very comfortable size with plenty of storage space.
Our only minor criticisms of the hotel were that the bathroom was just a jade tired (cracked floor tiles, shower soap tray a little wonky and the sink plug in need of some attention) and that the room could have been cleaned more thoroughly.
The island had suffered several months of drought, now thankfully over, but it meant that the golf course had suffered badly and was not in good condition. Hopefully that will correct itself very quickly.
We would love to return in the spring when even more flowers are out on the island.