In fairness to the hotel, our holiday did not start well as we were diverted to Oporto due to high winds in Funchal. We waited six hours and finally landed in Funchal at 2.30 am. Apparently, this is not uncommon when flying to Madeira. Tired and a bit grumpy, we were all too ready to find fault. It then rained buckets (in May) which didn't improve our disposition.
The first thing to know is that the Pestana Group is primarily a time share business, although it also owns about 130 hotels worldwide. It also owns Atlantic Holidays. Hence, you will be persuaded to attend a presentation on their "Holiday Ownership" package which is basically a variation on time share in which you buy up to ten years holidays up front, mainly in Madeira and Portugal. Whatever they tell you in advance, the presentation takes at least three hours. I am not going to comment on whether it is a good deal or not. We didn't buy.
The hotel itself is smart although a little dated in places. The facilities are fine. The rooms are comfortable, although the shower over the bath is never going to be good enough for me. The room service was very good. Bedding was changed regularly and they even changed the towels on our last full day.
One thing to which I do object is paying for internet connections, especially when wifi is free almost everywhere in Funchal. €28 for a week's connection is just irritating.
We were on half board and that was a mistake. There are lots of very good restaurants within reasonable walking distance. The hotel restaurants are limited especially the buffet on Tuesday evenings. There is an a la carte option, but on that basis one may as well try the local restaurants, most of which are cheaper.
We liked "Beef and Wine" (walk straight out of the hotel to the main road, about 400m) - excellent food and very friendly service. Also, if you turn right from the hotel and take the left fork, you will find a couple of pubs and a few restaurants. "Bernini" is cheap and the food is very good, if a little eccentric.
The biggest disappointment was the breakfast buffet. Although the spread of food was reasonable, it was often cold and almost every day the tea and coffee was lukewarm at best. We did get hot drinks after we had sent back the first round but this should not happen.
There was some evening entertainment of the local singer variety. Avoid the Casino dinner show! The hotel is well located for the town - about a ten minute walk. Funchal itself has a lot of charm and plenty to see.
There are plenty of excursions around the island and I would recommend these because the roads are not easy and I would not like to navigate some of the hills.
In summary, the Pestana Carlton is a reasonable four star hotel but definitely not five star. If you are prepared to fend off the sales team and demand hot food and drinks, it's a good place to stay. Having said that, if we return to Madeira I will look around the other hotels outside the Pestana Group in preference to returning to the Carlton.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Pestana Carlton Madeira, one of the most lively hotels in Madeira, enjoys a privileged setting in Funchal, at the top of a slope on the island of Madeira, providing fantastic views over the bay of Funchal and the sea. This luxurious and charismatic hotel in Madeira is a reference point for any visitor to Madeira, due to the excellent conjugation of a family atmosphere with the sophistication of its excellent installations. Once you are in the hotel, you will find at your disposal a wide range of services you can enjoy, including 3 leisure areas. In the Garden Pool, you will find a heated saltwater outdoor pool and a swimming pool for children. In the Atlantic Pool, there is a salt water outdoor pool with access to the sea and an indoor pool with Jacuzzi, relaxation rooms and bar. The Magic Spa offers an indoor heated swimming pool with sauna, Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, gym and treatment rooms. To promote the cultural gastronomic diversity of Funchal, this 5 star hotel in Madeira has 3 restaurants and 3 bars, with excellent views of the Atlantic Ocean, with a variety of flavours that will satisfy the most demanding tastes. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pestana Carlton Madeira Funchal
- Carlton Hotel Madeira