My girlfriend and I stayed for a week at the beginning of June. This hotel has the potential to be amazing, the site is gorgeous, the views are truly breathtaking and the rooms are fantastic. However it is let down by a few key details and one major one.
We stayed in a sea view villa (well worth the extra) and were very happy with the facilities and staff throughout, the pool area is also lovely.
The three main gripes were as follow:
- The restaurant. This is by far and away the biggest let down of the hotel, so much so that I am going to review it separately in the restaurant section. We gave it a chance to prove us wrong by having 2 lunches and 2 evening meals here, however only one dish was really of any quality. The price, around €50 a head, is incredibly premium compared to a lot of Funchal and the quality is abysmal. Looking back at historic reviews it had been well received, I can only assume they have a new chef/they were away?! Either the price needs to drop by two thirds to match the quality, or the quality needs to be improved to match the price. DO NOT GO HALF BOARD. Breakfast, however, is nice. Fresh fruit and cereal, continental e.t.c. I assume this is because no technical cooking is involved to spoil it.
- The shuttle service. We read up on the hotel in advance and saw that this service was available, so decided against a car. Calling the service limited is an understatement. It runs 11am, 12.30pm, 230pm ad 6pm into town and the return journeys are that plus 30 mins. On top of this the capacity of the bus is limited to 8 people, once it's full, it's full no extra trips. This removes almost all flexibility and is not a schedule of a 5 star hotel. Cabs are €15 each way and we had to rely on these quite a lot. I would strongly recommend hiring a car if you choose to stay here.
- Internet connectivity only in the main bar. This did not particularly worry us, but may be an issue for some people.
All in all an enjoyable stay and a lovely location, somewhat soured by the abysmal restaurant and inflexibility of the shuttle timetable. Visit the restaurants in town if you go, fantastic selection and you bypass the disappointment here.