There is a lot to like about this hotel generally. The setting plus the sea view and the breakfasts are highlights.
Hovering around the normal expectations mark are the hotel staff, the rooms (airy, quiet, comfortable), the public areas, including the spa, free car parking and the evening entertainments. The Portuguese and Spanish tv stations sub-title, rather than overdub their '80s and '90s American imports, so enjoy; you get BBC1, but no radio.
Disappointments - the in-house lunches (indifferent, slow), the evening buffets - good to eat, but at 28€ each, I'd feel better if it included a drink and coffee. The outdoor pool is unheated. (The Pestana is in a pretty exposed position and really catches those Atlantic breezes.) The in-house shop sells international newspapers, but is mostly touristy stuff otherwise, which seems like a missed opportunity.
Could try harder - There is free broadband, but it isn't especially easy to use and really only works in the public areas. The spa could be open longer hours than 8-8. (Wouldn't a major upgrade to the spa make this hotel a better all-year proposition?) The Moroccan and Italian in-house restaurants were only open once a week at this time of year and menus looked pricey.
Around the hotel - there are 3 restaurants within sight of the hotel entrance -the first, lively and Portuguese was tasty, busy and slow, but a good atmosphere generated by the owner and the musicians; quieter and more formal, the Chinese place is really good value.
Around the corner is the Madeira Forum, open late with interesting shops, including a big sports shop and a supermarket (with a surprisingly good range of guide books and maps.)
The coastal promenade, as far as it went, didn't disappoint. Madeira Story in Funchal wasn't bad.
Don't bother - Ribera Brava and Camara des Lobos - maybe they come more to life later in the season or maybe we got the wrong bit but except for Ribera's church interior, we found these to be rather unattractive and unrewarding little places. No wonder Churchill hurried home!
A couple of Useful websites
Madeira airport - http://www.anam.pt/madeira_EN
Funchal yellow public buses - http://www.horariosdofunchal.pt/mobile/index.php?lang=en
(route 2 for Pestana Grande) seriously, use these if you want to go to Monte or the valley of the nuns. The bus drivers sell you a Giro card for €1.30 each for a single trip, but we never figured out how to add credit out here in the suburbs.
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- Also Known As:
- Pestana Grand Funchal
- Hotel Pestana Grand
- Pestana Grand Hotel
- Pestana Grand Madeira
- Lti Pestana Grand Madeira/Funchal