We spent a week over the New Year period with close friends in their spacious and well, appointed, 2 bedroom time share suite, in this hotel. 5 of the days were spent sunbathing around the pool and we felt obscenely spoilt, when most parts of the UK sadly endured flood like conditions. We had tried the same trip 3 years earlier, but then Madeira's weather was not so kind. However there are a lot of walking activities if its cloudy.
The hotel is 5* rated and is located on a medium incline hill. The modern, not ultra modern decor, appears a little dated, but virtually all areas are in immaculate shape. It feels like much of the occupancy is time share and the hotel has an older clientele, so if you want thumping rock music around the pool, look elsewhere.
The suite, one of several on the 4th floor, has a balcony and overlooks the free form pool, which itself is virtually on the sea, separated by a low wall and huge boulders. There is no beach, although there is access to the sea. When the sun is shining its lovely, ridiculously warm for January, considering it's just 3 hours flight from the UK. But like anywhere, Funchal can be cloudy.
The pool itself has a snack bar and poolside restaurant, but the menu and standard is distinctly average. We had what I hope what is a one off bad experience, where the chicken wings served were actually off. Unforgivable for 5*. Others said that the food in the hotel was mediocre and they could make amends by employing a modern thinking chef and 100% quality control.
The town itself, with its hundreds of restaurants are mostly within 30 minutes walk, so the Royal Savoy is well located. There's also a handy little supermarket 2 minutes walk away.
Restaurant wise, here's what we found in order of merit. Note eating out in Funchal, with water and a bottle of lowish cost wine, will cost £90 ~ £110 per couple although the Pizzeria was much less.
1) The UVA at the Vine Hotel. Don't be fooled by the off putting entrance in a modern shopping mall. This visually stunning, ultra modern hotel serves the most exquisitely prepared food and is amongst the best presented we have experienced anywhere. The roof top restaurant, adjacent to the simply wow pool area has even more stunning views over the sea and town. Just do it.
2) Reids Palace Hotel on New Years Eve. This venue must have once been Madieria's premier Hotel and might still be. If you will pay it (300 eu per person inc unlimited wine) and you like to dress up, this is the place to welcome in the New Year. It's an old school black tie and evening dress party with fantastic views of the world class firework display Funchal is famous for. We chose the Dining Room, which is busier and has a younger vibe than the adjacent Les Faunes restaurant, that an unkind person could liken to Gods Waiting Room. The Dining Room has the traditional decor, but Les Faunes has the roof top view. The 7 course meal was perfectly paced and the live band and dancing kept everyone in a great mood. It really was like a private party with Madiera's high society and the most welcoming atmosphere. Everyone seemed happy to smile back. After midnight we danced on until 2.30 and bizarrely found room for the Madierian/Reids custom of traditional chicken soup and sandwiches at about 1.30. A lovely unique touch.
3) Armazem do Sal. Other reviews have made this partially alfresco, rustic restaurant no 1 in Funchal. Not sure we'd totally agree with that but its pretty good and we were not disappointed. I think it's a victim of its success and we waited about 15 minutes before anybody attended to us.
4) Tokos. This is lovely traditional restaurant that majors on fresh fish. It's about the size of a postage stamp, so you need to book. The owner/head chef is a real character and they proudly bring you all the fresh fish to the table, so you can see what you are ordering. The waitress was charming, funny and pleased to vary the menu for us. Tip:Review the menu prices carefully. There is a huge difference in the cost of some starters and main courses, but you can find good value here.
5) La Tricolore Pizzeria. Down a side street, so they have to try harder. Very pleasant, great staff, with complementary welcome and post meal drinks. Friendly and inexpensive. Great if you want a night off, dress down and go simple.
6) O Jango. This is located in a cobbled side street on staged tables, the best ones outside. It was packed and we went because of a recommendation from a fellow airline passenger who lives in Funchal. I would love to say this is an undiscovered gem, but we didn't find that.The food was basic tourist fare and our local kebab shop could probably do better. Sorry but that's what we found.
Funchal is famous for its Christmas time light festooned trees and illuminations, plus its magnificent New Years Eve firework extravaganza. So much so, that a flotilla of big cruise liners dropped anchor to watch the spectacle. If you are a new visitor, you will doubtless be impressed by the unique night time ambience and if you are a child it will doubtless embed itself in your memory as a fairy tale land.
If you get the weather, we think the Royal Savoy and Funchal a great short haul place for some winter sun.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.