Just back from a week in the Hotel Girassol. As usual, the hotel was a triumph of friendliness, superb service, comfortable rooms, great fresh food and that lovely warm pool. The staff are wonderful, caring and attentive. We have been visiting the hotel for the last 23 years and it never disappoints. This time we had three Madeira novices with us and they fell in love with the whole experience. We hired a car (much safer now there are so many tunnels and excellent roads) and set out to see all our favourite places. First stop, Curral das Freiras (Nun's Valley) for chestnut liqueur and breathtaking scenery. Then over to Porto Moniz (volcanic pools, the Laurosilva Centre and Portuguese fish soup), via Ponta do Sol (the sunniest place on the island) and the Estalagem at Calheta (complete with imported sandy beach and marina). We went to Pico do Areiero, the highest point - up in the clouds, for the best 'poncha' (sugar cane spirit, honey and lemon) to chase away any chill, Ribeiro Frio for the best embroidered cloths and the lovely valley leading down into Sao Vicente. Afternoon Tea at Cliff Bay and Cocktails in Reid's Palace are must-do. We had dinner at Filipe Ramos' inimitable, 5 star Restaurante Tokos (such attention to detail and beautiful food) - another must-do. We went to the new Mamma Mia Italian restaurant at the CS Atlantic Resort opposite the Girassol and had excellent food, serenaded by a saxophonist! We were taken by our friends to Restaurant Vila do Peixe, Camaro do Lobos for a superb fish Sunday lunch (wonderful location down by the sea). We went downtown for a stroll along the promenade and saw the Christmas lights. Many visits to Madeira Forum, a shopping centre with big brand shops and cinemas (the films are in English and subtitled in Portuguese). We went to Camacha to vist the Wickerwork shop. Things we didn't get to do were the Teleferico (Cable car) up to the marvellous Monte Palace and Gardens, Santana, Machico and Sao Lourenco. Next time!
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- Also Known As:
- Girassol Hotel Funchal
- Hotel Girassol Madeira/Funchal