The Enotel Lido is situated in the tourist hotel area of Funchal, a 20 to 30 minute stroll - depending on age and fitness - from the town centre. It is also on a public bus route, although buses are not particularly frequent (especially on a Sunday) and seating is often at a premium. The hotel is built on a hillside overlooking the sea and fronting a pleasant promenade. As an earlierTrip Advisor reviewer has stated, the Enotel is something of a curate's egg - good in part. While recognising that European hotel ratings often differ from those in the UK, in our view a 5-star rating can not be justified: 4-star would be nearer the mark.
The general facilities were good: a spacious reception/foyer area with a grand piano (which unfortunately was never used); indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a spa, lifts to all floors, and a choice of bars. Wi-fi access was available, for which a charge was made (in a 5-star hotel?), but there were only two small internet booths which were, inevitably, always occupied.
During a seven night stay early in September, we found that the hotel was busy but not overcrowded. The majority of guests were middle-aged or elderly Europeans, with large contingents of Brits and French.
Our large Superior room on the 4th floor was comfortable and nicely appointed. There was a small balcony with table and chairs that afforded a side view of the sea. It also overlooked the central swimming pool area, which proved to be a mixed blessing as there was no escape from the various, over-amplified evening 'entertainments' held in the area, the sound of which was funneled up into the rooms. This culminated, one night, in a truly horrendous karaoke session although, in fairness, it must be said that the caterwauling ended at midnght!
The room had clean, comfortable beds and all the features one would expect to find in a four/five star establishment: adequate storage, tea/coffee making facilities, a fridge stocked with soft drinks, satellite TV, telephone, trouser press and an electronic room safe. There was adjustable air-conditioning, although this was not particularly effective. The good-sized en-suite bathroom had a large tub, a separate shower cubicle, a bidet and wc, a hair dryer and an adequate supply of towels and complimentary toiletries. There was plentiful hot water and we did not detect any of the unpleasant drain smells that have apparently offended some guests on earlier occasions.
For our stay we chose the newly-introduced 'all-inclusive' tariff, which provided breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as any-time snacks. It also gave us free alcoholic or soft drinks, including a selection of cocktails. However, premium brands - such as single malt whisky or good cognac - attracted hefty supplementary charges of up to 11 Euros!
This brings me to the cuisine which, we felt, was the really disappointing feature of the hotel. Our hearts sank when we found that all meals were self-service buffet style, set out in a very large and understaffed dining room capable of holding hundreds of guests at one sitting. Certainly, there was a wide range of dishes but, as with most buffets, quantity was not equalled by quality. Most dishes quicky dried out on the heating trays and little things niggled. On a number of occasions, the 'hot' water provided for beverages proved to be lukewarm. Cooked breakfasts were reasonable, apart from dubious-tasting mini-sausages and very fatty bacon.There was even a chef on hand to cook fresh omelettes but unfortunately her technique left much to be desired. Why was only one variety of cheese available for breakfast when four varieties appeared for lunch? There were fresh breads and min-croissants but why no fresh pastries? Clearly, many lunchtime and dinner dishes were reprocessed from food left over from earlier meals and we found no dishes freshly cooked on demand. If, in our experience, four-star hotels in Tenerife can offer a range of freshly cooked meats and fish, including steaks, why cannot the '5-star' Enotel do likewise? (One Trip Advisor reviewer claims to have had freshly cooked steak at the Enotel, but he was lucky; in seven days we found no such facility.) Drinkable table wines as well as draught beer and soft drinks were available with meals.
Apart from the buffet dining room, the Enotel had three themed restaurants - Japanese, Madeiran and Italian. Places in these had to be booked in advance and we tried the Japanese and Madeiran venues. Let it be said that Madeiran staff wearing Japanese costume do not a Japanese restaurant make! After very salty miso and reasonable sushi served with cheap saki, the set menu quickly degenerated into a generic stir-fry with over-cooked strips of meat and fish. This was a far cry from authentic Japanese cooking (which I am lucky enough to sample regularly in the Far East) and very disappointing. We thought the Madeiran restaurant a little better. There was a choice of menu and we were able to try local dishes such as cabbage soup and espada (scabbard fish). Unfortunately, the delicate flavour of the fish was overpowered by an over-sweet passion fruit sauce. At least the themed restaurants provided a change from the ubiquitous buffet but, all in all, we felt that the standard of cooking was no better than in any good canteen. If you are hoping for romantic dinners cooked to order and served by waiters in an intimate atmosphere, forget it! In no way was this 5-star cuisine.
Most of the staff at the Enotel had a good command of English and were generally friendly and helpful. The one exception was the admittedly busy Sports Bar, adjoining the pool area, where the bar staff were inattentive and curt to the point of rudeness.
Would we stay at the Enotel Lido again? Sadly, no! Those seeking real 5-star luxury should opt for a hotel such as Reid's Palace, further down the same road, where guests have included Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, Margaret Thatcher and Roger Moore.Of course, that would come at a cost. I suppose we get what we pay for!
A note on Currency Exchange in Funchal:
We were astonished to find, in Funchal, that no bank would exchange sterling for Euros unless one was a local account holder -unlikely in the case of UK tourists! If one wished to avoid the charges associated with ATMs, the only option was to use one of the two branches of Western Union - but these were a rip-off, charging commission and offering a poor rate of exchange. It would probably be best to buy Euros in the UK before setting out.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enotel Lido Madeira is a comfortable 5 star hotel located in the main touristic area, situated above the ocean with direct access to the oceanfront promenade and just 5 minutes from the centre of Funchal. There are 270 comfortable rooms available including balcony with a ocean side view, air conditioning, cable TV, hairdryer, mini bar, separate bath and shower, bathrobes, telephone with direct outside line and voicemail facility there are also 47 Suites with a Jacuzzi, coffee and tea making facilities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Enotel Lido Madeira Hotel Funchal
- Tivoli Madeira Funchal
- Tivoli Madeira Hotel Funchal
- Enotel Lido Madeira Funchal