I take long-stay winter sun breaks to avoid the UK’s cold weather and I have thoroughly enjoyed Madeira’s warmth and sunshine and being well looked after at the Mimosa. I cannot agree with the previous reviewer that this hotel comprises ‘average accommodation.’ Of course, it isn’t luxury accommodation – in which connection, the 3-star rating must surely act as a guide when booking. To me, this hotel possesses a precious something for which I always hope but frequently don’t get and I will definitely return if the opportunity presents. In a nutshell, nearly all irritations and potential stresses were relatively minor and I may not blame the hotel for the one that wasn’t - catching a virulent cold. I realise I was lucky. At one stage, noise was a problem at the then busy Estrelicia next door and I was relieved I avoided noise nuisance, except in the lobby when music sometimes blared out, very annoyingly when I wished to access the Internet. (We are all different; the muzak bothered me whereas I barely noticed the barking dogs.)
The wi-fi connection was generally fine, certainly adequate to my e-mailing and skypeing needs. I used my own laptop but the lobby area does boast a computer where guests can e-mail without charge. There is also a mini-library and this included enough books in English to keep me going. The reception staff and other frontline personnel I encountered were uniformly friendly right down to the man seeing to repairs. (I didn’t notice a lack of maintenance.) Staff always looked smart. More than anything else, I was delighted to find that the chambermaids and housekeeping staff were honest! The other guests – German and Scandinavian latterly but mainly French a lot of the time – were courteous and polite, sometimes kind and helpful.
Meals are an important aspect of my holiday. For me at least, the food in the restaurant was good, often excellent, there being but a single evening meal that I really didn’t enjoy. Partway through my stay, however, the restaurant was closed (due to low numbers according to a receptionist, although another guest told me the restaurant was being renovated). Guests were obliged to eat in the Terrace Bar - and the hotel’s website at www.dorisol.com/dorisol-mimosa/restaurants.html describes the Terrace Bar as somewhere to obtain “snacks or light meals,” whereas the Europa Restaurant is described as the place serving “cuisine for our half-board guests” (this being what I booked for). Basically, there were often too many people for the Terrace Bar’s available space. Although I could see that the staff were doing their best and this helped me stay upbeat about the situation, I was sufficiently uncomfortable I arrived, ate, and left as quickly as possible – and other of the English guests chose to go elsewhere to eat.
English people do eat yoghourt for breakfast; it’s classed as a superfood nowadays. I found the plain yoghourt very nice with either honey or a locally-grown banana. I ignored the cooked meats and cheese, not because I consider these a ‘continental’ choice as opposed to what the English eat, but because processed foods are not my thing. The orange and tropical juices were too sweet for me, so I stuck with tomato. The cooks worked hard to provide decent cooked breakfasts; the scrambled eggs were usually soft and the yolks of the fried eggs runny. The only breakfast item I found to complain of was the baked beans, which were tepid. Although standards became a bit more hit-and-miss in the Terrace Bar, a real positive is that food which was meant to be hot was usually hot and a lot better than with most serve-yourself buffets. I did not acquire any of the norovirus-type symptoms referable to hotel buffets!
At night, the system whereby one helps oneself to soup and salad then is served with a main course was not in operation during my stay. My main concern was that fish found its way into many of the dishes, from soup and the salads to rice dishes. What I thought was chicken turned out to be octopus and fish tends to make me ill so I couldn’t eat it. The only night I felt queasy was after eating a small amount of fish that had been added to the rice. Its presence wasn’t apparent when I put the rice on my plate. I would certainly have found suitable labels helpful.
It wasn’t a problem that meals were repeated, as this let me know what to avoid when a dish hiding fish appeared again, as well as what to look forward to seeing the following week. In any case, the repetitions were not strict repetitions, thereby ensuring a reasonable variety. Some of the desserts were ordinary but a few were amazing – the ice cream gateaux, for instance, that I would have liked to have seen more of. Unfortunately, with the changeover to the Terrace Bar, exciting puddings became a past memory.
After 13+ hours of travelling to reach the Mimosa I eagerly accepted a bottle of water and a carafe of house wine at my first evening meal. However, a price list was nowhere on display, neither inside nor outside the restaurant nor in the Dorisol Hotels’ guidebook provided in the room. Even the receipt did not show a price. The lack caused me to do without wine as I did not want to end up with a bill I couldn’t pay. The spa, on the other hand, kindly gave me a printed price list without being asked. I used the indoor pool most days and found it clean, inviting and usually peaceful. Again I was lucky in that it was quiet more often than not, with only one or two others swimming; in my opinion it isn’t big enough to accommodate those who want to swim in peace and those who want to play.
My pleasant room contained everything I needed. I took along a rubber mat for inside the bath and didn’t need it as the bath turned out to have a non-slip surface. (Well done, Mimosa: I wish all hotels were as aware.) I found the mini-kitchen a great asset. The provision of utensils was extensive, to include wine glasses and a corkscrew, a sharp knife, a large microwave-safe basin and even a coffee filter (complete with filter papers) and a lemon juicer. The only missing essential was a tin opener. When it came to that absolute necessity – hot drinks – I was glad of another reviewer’s advice to take a mug along as the cups provided are small. An Information Sheet I received on arrival warned that the tap water is quite high in mineral content and may cause an upset stomach. In fact, I thoroughly boiled tap water for tea, coffee and cuppa soups and experienced no problems with it.
No cloth to clean up any spills is provided, so it’s a good idea to pack a couple of wipes or a J-cloth. Another tip is to bring a length of clothesline to string diagonally across the balcony, plus a few pegs. Having watched a chambermaid clean balcony rails, a couple of days later I noticed pigeon dung – meaning the rails are not the best place for drying one’s cozzie or smalls.
As for the infamous hill, it was the walk down that got me; nevertheless, the slope wasn’t the huge problem some reviewers suggest. The small shop in the Dorisol Buganvilia at the entrance to the complex sells bottled water, some booze and soft drinks and postcards. There is also a Spar just along Rua da Casa Branca (turn right when leaving the complex). However, these shops shut in the afternoon from lunchtime, opening again at teatime, and close from 12.30/1p.m. on Saturday, until Monday. (Seemingly, main shopping centres keep similar hours to their UK equivalents.)
I took one of the organised panoramic tours and despite finding the packed mini-bus really uncomfortable, I was delighted by what I saw of the island, where an abundance of fruit, vegetables and flowers are cultivated – sometimes on cliff edge plots so steep it must take nerves of steel to work them. Even the land belonging to the hotel sports avocadoes and bananas. Other guests at the hotel were clearly equipped to hike. They may have hired cars but there are buses from Funchal bus station that go into the mountains. A sightseeing bus for Funchal itself can be caught near to the Dorisol complex by turning right and proceeding down Rua da Casa Branca; the sightseeing bus stops just across Estrada Monumental. An all-day ticket currently costs 12 euros (although a 2-for1 offer is available currently
I opted for a room on the eastern side of the hotel because of the view and in fact never tired of this view over Funchal and the mountains behind, as well as the sea and Deserters (offshore islands). The balconies on the eastern side get the sun in the mornings – and I certainly found a morning of sunbathing to be enough.
WARNING: The fly in the ointment was literally that. To quote from information provided by my rep:
“With a subtropical climate mosquitoes are to be expected in Madeira. We recommend the use of repellent that you can buy at any chemist. The Health Authorities in Madeira have recently reported cases of dengue fever. You are advised to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to consult a doctor if you develop symptoms. Dengue is transmitted by a daytime mosquito and consequently protective measures must be applied during the day.”
I was unaware of the situation prior to travel and after speaking with fellow English guests, who told me they had been holidaying in Madeira for the past five years and that this was the first time they had experienced mossie bites, it strikes me as likely a lot of people don’t realise there’s an issue.
The bites are painful and itchy. I tried to minimise the problem by keeping my balcony door shut at nights, which meant a hot room. The requested fan helped and I further managed by sleeping with only a sheet over me for the whole holiday. After all, I was achieving my objective of escaping the cold!
This was my first holiday with Mercury Direct and I must say I was very impressed with their service, from booking to transfers, as well as with my efficient but kind rep (from local travel company Windsor). I also found the easyJet staff very helpful.
- Also Known As:
- Dorisol Mimosa Funchal
- Dorisol Mimosa Hotel Funchal
- Dorisol Mimosa Madeira/Funchal
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Tingo, Priceline, Otel, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com and Agoda so you can book your Dorisol Mimosa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.